I wonder what the costs of designing silicon are these days and if the foundation could either design the system itself or give input to Broadcom. Seems apple designs all its iphone cpu chips in house these days.
It's not so much the design costs (though they're not cheap) as it is getting the design into Silicon to find out if you got it right...and then fixing the design and trying again (and again, and again....depending on just how good the designers are).
Beyond that, there's a big difference between Apple--a company with tens of billions of dollars to spend however it wants--and the RPF for which a million dollars is a sizable amount of money.
The reason that chips are so cheap is the scale of production of identical devices. If you can sell 100 million of *anything*, the R&D part of the cost gets lost in the noise. Bear in mind that Pis sell between 1 and 2 million units per year . The cell phone businesses sell more like a billion units per year. The SoC in Pi is cheap because Broadcom sold millions of them before the Pi ever came along...the R&D costs were already amortized off. If the Pi switched to a custom designed SoC, the RPF would have to absorb the entire R&D cost.
The net result of all this is that the Pi--and any future Pi--will use "obsolete" SoCs.
I have no idea if the foundation could justify chip development as necessary for education development, maybe if kids require speech recognition capabilities to make getting lesson notes easier or some other high processing requirement?
(a) No, they couldn't justify the cost (and, indeed, they couldn't *afford* the cost) of chip design. (b) The thought of an entire class of kids speaking to their computers....the mind boggles at the din.
Also I am sure the current raspi is a dead end within a few years(it might go 10 years but I just get the feeling the form factor is too large), I would imagine mobile device integration with home automation and media centers will be expanding capabilities to mop up this market by giving some gpio options and running Linux.
Want to tell that to my '486 system?
In what way do you think the form-factor of the Pi is "too big"? What would you discard in order to make it smaller (you'd have to discard *something*)?
The Pi has the ability to communicate with home automation now. It can support, via dongles, HATs, or other USB devices any RF interface available and can certainly expand to any new comms designs.
But that is all beside the point. What would those features have to do with the goals of the RPF?
rpi has a great community which is also a very good selling point but eventually people will move away when better hardware comes along and they have learnt how to use computers and found they need something more.
This strikes to the heart of why the Pi was developed in the first place. It ignores the fact that we *used* to have fairly open platforms that kids could learn on. Home computing devices became increasingly closed and inaccessible. That is, they became "black boxes". The Pi is a deliberate step away from that. Sure, the current crop of kids will grow beyond the Pi...but there will be a next generation behind them that needs the same or similar learning tools. Just because you have outgrown flash cards and simple arithmetic drills doesn't mean that no one will ever need those tools again.