So I'm experienced at a hobbyist level of building things, plugging components into a breadboard and programming microcontrollers. However, my question now is, after I've bought some stuff from Sparkfun or wherever and have a thing that works, where do you even begin to take it and make a production level device that can be sold to people?
For example, let's say I wanted to build a production level device that had bluetooth, gps, and a battery. Thats it! Its super easy to buy some components from sparkfun and get it hooked up on a breadboard and get it working. However, what if I wanted to then move to production? It's my understanding that the bluetooth chip or gps chip I used for the prototyping wouldn't be the component I would want to use in production because maybe I want it smaller, or cheaper. But, if I go from a bluetooth or gps unit breakout board to something like a SMD, is that easily convertible? Like, how do you make that leap? Is your prototype valid if you're going to use a different chip for something in the end? Or do you prototype with the hardware you would want in production instead? And if so, how do you prototype things like a SMD? I feel like only machines can solder those things but maybe Im wrong.
Honestly, the leap from some prototype to a product is so mysterious to me.