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5-10: Tsinghua Unigroup has purchased a 3% stake in Imagination; Apple may have paid patent licensing fees to Huawei in 2015; Apple is pressurizing supply chain to go cost down; etc.

Tsinghua Unigroup has purchased a 3% stake in Imagination TechnologiesApple may have paid USD millions to Huawei for patent licensing in 2015;Apple is reportedly pressurizing its supply chain to reduce the costs at most 30% to ensure its profit; . YunOS has become the third biggest OS; Microsoft hit a major milestone: USD1 trillion in all-time cumulative revenue; China’s white-box players are leaving the tablet market; etc.

Chipset

For the first time in the world, Samsung Electronics is going to introduce EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) lithography equipment to its semiconductor foundry’s process. Samsung is planning to purchase NXE3400 (EUV lithography equipment) for mass-production from ASML shortly. After bringing and finishing installation of NXE3400 during 2Q17/3Q17, it will start utilizing NXE3400 for mass-producing 7nm chips at the end of next year. (ET News, TechNews)

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Samsung Electronics is considering partnering with leading Chinese semiconductor companies to increase its sales and market share in the less-volatile and more profitable logic-chip business. The Chinese market is valued at USD150 billion – USD170 billion for semiconductor chips annually, accounting for more than 40%-50% of the world’s total chip consumption. (TechNews, Korea Times)
Samsung Electronics has reportedly set up a new task force, which consists of researchers from the chip division’s system LSI unit  to develop chips for self-driving cars. (Korea Herald, CN Beta)
Tsinghua Unigroup International has purchased a 3% stake in Imagination Technologies, which builds graphics processors for Apple’s custom A-series chips. (Apple Insider, Global Times, The Guardian, China Times, My Drivers)
Intel recently announced it will stop investing in SoFIA, its Atom-based mobile SoCs for low-end Android devices, and Broxton, its Atom chipset for high-end smartphones and tablets. It is a part of accomplishing its long-term objective, which is winning the IoT and connected devices market (originally the communications market). (Seeking Alpha, OfWeek, Motley Fool, CET)
Intel’s augmented reality and virtual reality investments and acquisitions likely top USD1 billion to date acquiring Omtek Interactive, Recon Instruments, Basis Science, Orcam, Eyefluence, etc. and investing in Vuzix. (Seeking Alpha)
Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is projected to decline 2% in 2016, to USD62.8 billion, according to Gartner. The market is expected to return to growth in 2017. Increased demand for 10nm and 3D NAND process development in memory and logic/foundry will drive overall spending to grow 4.4% in 2017. (TechNews, Gartner, report)

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Display

Microsoft Research is revealing some of the features it was working on under the guise of “pre-touch sensing for mobile interaction”, using  a number of sensors on the sides of a device to detect how a phone is held by grip, allowing 3D Touch-enabled phones to block an orientation switch. (The Verge, Microsoft Research, TNW, TechNews)

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Sensors

Every new car built for UK roads will be self-braking by 2030, according to Matthew Avery, Head of Research at the Thatcham Research Centre. (CN Beta, Trusted Reviews)

Smartphones

The Motley Fool’s analyst Ashraf Eassa expects that Apple will be “forced” to launch an “iPhone SE 2” in March 2017 to  help the YoY growth for its fiscal third quarter of the year. (Motley Fool, TechNews, CN Beta)
The Maharashtra state government in India is working hard towards converting its agreements signed to further its ‘Make in Maharashtra’ mission to actual investments; however one of the state’s largest investment proposals, a USD5 billion deal with Foxconn, has run into delays. (TechNews, Indian Express)
Apple is reportedly pressurizing its supply chain to reduce the costs at most 30% to ensure its profit. (CN Beta, Sohu, Sina)
Apple may have paid USD millions to Huawei for patent licensing in 2015, according to data released by China’s State Intellectual Property Office. (ZOL, Sohu, China Money Network)
Alibaba indicates that in 2015 the growth of new users for YunOS is 700% compared to last year, and in 1Q16 the newly added number is 17 million units. YunOS has become the third biggest OS. (CN Beta, P5W, Sohu, NetEase)

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HTC posted audited financial results for 1Q16 confirming the massive 64% drop in revenue YoY. Revenue for the period starting January 1 until March 31 was a catastrophic USD463 million (NTD14.8 billion) compared to 1Q15’s USD1.3 billion (NTD41.52 billion). (Ubergizmo, GSM Arena, HTC, ZOL, IT168)

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Mobile device users installed nearly 156 billion mobile applications worldwide in 2015, generating USD34.2 billion in direct (non-advertising) revenue. A new forecast from IDC estimates that these figures will grow to more than 210 billion installs and nearly USD57 billion in direct revenue in 2020. IDC expects to see slower growth in both application install volumes and direct revenue over time, which is largely driven by market maturation. (IDC, press, CN Beta)
Last quarter, Microsoft hit a major milestone: USD1 trillion in all-time cumulative revenue reports technology consultant Jeff Reifman.  He noticed the milestone while researching a post about Microsoft’s tax breaks in the state of Washington. Apple hit USD1 trillion in revenue earlier, in 2015, his research shows. (Business Insider, press, CN Beta)

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Smartphone shipments by Apple and Samsung likely will shrink for the first time in 2016 as Chinese rivals continue to gain ground in emerging markets with their low-priced offerings, driving Japanese parts makers to boost efforts to secure orders from these Chinese companies. (Nikkei, TechNews, FM5)
Qihoo 360 Mobile  N4 is officially launched in China – 5.5” FHD 2.5D curved display, MediaTek Helio X20 processor, 13MP + 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, 360OS, LTE, dual-SIM,  fingerprint sensor, 3000mAh battery, priced from CNY899. (CN Beta, Sina, TechWeb)

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Tablets

With the global tablet market becoming mature and related shipments gradually weakening, China’s white-box players are leaving the market and turning to focus on new businesses such as 2-in-1 devices, robots and virtual reality. (Digitimes, press, CECB2B)
Worldwide PC shipments (desktops, notebooks, two-in-ones and tablets) totaled 101 million units in 1Q16, as total volumes dipped by 13% YoY to their lowest point since 2Q11. Apple continued to lead the market into the first quarter of 2016 with shipments of just over 14 million units, despite falling 17%. (Canalys, press, CN Beta)

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Internet of Things

Xiaomi Yi 4K Action Camera 2 is official, with a seven-layered 12MP lens, dual core Ambarella A9SE75 chip , 4K video recording, integrated 2.19″ high PPI display and a 1,400mAh battery that keeps you running for 110’ of video recording. (Gizmo China, BGR, Beta News, CN Beta)

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Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) is strengthening its participation in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market by creating a new business unit dedicated to the IIoT. (EE Times, OfWeek)
Apple iOS 10 will reportedly see Apple introducing a dedicated HomeKit app. (Mashable, BGR, Pocket-Lint, Mac Rumors, TechWeb)
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