A while back I talked about how it would be great if Apple released a replacement for the Apple TV which built on the idea of Home Pod by including a HDMI output so it becomes a set top box and speaker all in one – a great set top box experienced matched up with a great great surround sound like one is a at a theatre (particularly if you get more than just the one speaker). It appears that Apple maybe looking at doing what I theorised (link) – it does make sense though given it is a natural evolution/convergence of devices in much the same way that JBL launched a sound bar and Android TV all in one. For me, I’ve got a Chromecast with Android TV – it is the best investment I made particularly given that my primary video service is the Apple TV and I find it works a whole lot better on that than on the Google Chromecast with Android TV because of its integration with the Apple ecosystem that is already heavily invested in.
The rumours regarding Google developing a custom ARM SoC with Samsung is growing louder with a recent rumour that this year the Google Pixel will be using this new SoC (link). If the rumours are true then it appears that it’ll lack the X1 core (as part of the SoC) that exists in the flag ship devices put out there by Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi etc. but even without the X1 core the SoC is going to be more than fast enough for the vast majority of people and if paired with an AMD GPU then it’ll have a good point of differentiation (particularly for games that are written to take advantage of Vulkan). I think at this point it is going to become increasingly more difficult to push expensive flagship when for the vast, vast, vast majority of people the mid range devices that are come out (particularly when you consider the long term software support that both Apple and Samsung are providing) that the gap between the mid and flag ship have to eventually close. In the case of Samsung they dropped their price on average of US$150.