6-8 Happy Dragon Boat Festival: Samsung to launch 2 foldable phones early 2017; 2016 global smartphone sales growth only 7%; Targeting different consumers VR solutions; etc.

Samsung to launch 2 foldable phones early 2017; 2016 global smartphone sales growth only 7%; Oculus engineer commenting on VR headset that causes nausea; Targeting different consumers VR solutions; Harvard University has developed a “metalens” that could lead to a much smaller lens; Samsung is rumored to skip Note 6 name and go straight to Note 7; etc.

Chipset

“Vision processing unit” (VPU) chips from California manufacturer Movidius will power Lenovo’s future virtual reality products. Myriad 2 VPU is an ultra low-power chip designed to run algorithms that power head tracking, gesture recognition, and other VR staples. (CN Beta, PC Mag, Yahoo, IT World)

movidius

MediaTek has been lobbying officials at Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) for approval of its recently-announced cooperation with NavInfo including plans to set up a joint venture with the China-based digital mapping service provider, as well as to lift a ban on China’s investment in Taiwan’s lC design houses. (Digitimes, press, HC360, Sohu)
The ongoing tight supply of MediaTek’s major 4-in-1 connectivity chip MT6625 series for use in entry-level and mid-range smartphone solutions is expected to ease completely in 3Q16. (Digitimes, press, Android Headlines)

Touch Display

Samsung is reportedly working on 2 devices that feature folding displays and to be unveiled in early 2017 – one features a screen that folds in half, the other wields a 5” display in handset mode, which extends to 8 inches by diagonal and can be used as a tablet. (Phone Arena, Android Authority, Bloomberg, HiAPK, IT Home)

samsung-folding-project-valley-youm

In 2011 the University of Florida announced a new organic-TFT backplane/emitter technology called CN-VOLET. The University spun-off the technology into a company called nVerPix, with funding from Nanoholdings. (OfWeek, OLED-Info)

cn-volet-florida-nverpix

Oculus engineer comments on VR headset causing nausea—things that developers can fix include “incorrect camera calibration and distortion correction”, “rendering code in the game not using the calibration & distortion values correctly”, “game code that breaks the VR ‘rules’”, “players not measuring their IPD and feeding it into the game’s settings” and “high latency”. Though those cannot be fixed include “disparity between focus depth and vergence” and “disparity in apparent motion between visual and vestibular stimuli”. (Oculus, article, TechNews, Quora, article)

Camera

Harvard University has developed a “metalens” that substitutes the usual glass with quartz plates full of microscopic titanium oxide structures, whose patterns guide light toward the camera sensor. This not only leads to a much smaller lens (just 0.08” across in testing), but focus that beats even the better lenses you find in stores — it can resolve details 400nm wide, or smaller than a wavelength of light. (Engadget, Harvard, Popular Science, Science, Tencent)

metalens

Sensors

Sensifree Ltd, a developer of an RF-based low power biomedical sensor, has completed a USD5 million round of Series A financing. Sensifree was founded in 2012 and claims to have developed a contact free, electromagnetic sensor that accurately collects a range of continuous biometric data without the need to touch the human body. (EE Times, Tech in Asia)

sensifree-biometric-sensor

Biometrics / Security

Snapchat has secretly acquired a phone-based 3D capture company called Seene, possibly for a future full of three-dimensional or augmented reality snaps. (CN Beta, The Verge, TechCrunch)

snapchat-seene

Two researchers at the Electrical and Computer Engineering school of the University of Illinois at Ubana-Champaign have discovered to spy on users with the vibration motor on their phones. The vibration motor is like a speaker, and any speaker can be used like a microphone. They call this method “VibraPhone”. (CN Beta, Phone Arena, TechCrunch)

vibraphone

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 45 newly granted patents for Apple, covering one of the original Touch ID inventions regarding on-chip security against fraud, tampering and viruses, Liquid resistant acoustic device, noise canceling earbuds, and a series of design patents covering Apple Watch and more. (Patently Apple, CN Beta, Phone Arena)

apple-patent-touch-id-secure-soc

Battery

Scientists from the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center in Japan removed the electric organ from a torpedo and chemically stimulated the organ by injecting a solution of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine though a syringe. They were able to achieve more than 1 minute of continuous current, with a peak voltage of 91mV and 0.25mA of current. (CN Beta, PhysOrg, Asian Scientist, ECN Mag)

electric-rays-powersource

Connectivity

DisplayLink, the leading provider of USB graphics technology, today announced a world first, connecting Four 4K p60 Ultra HD Monitors via a single USB connection using their latest DL-6000 series Docking Chipset. (CN Beta, The Verge, DisplayLink)

displaylink-four-display-link

Smartphones

Gartner is expecting a big drop in smartphone sales growth, projecting the market will shrink from 14.4% growth in 2015 to just 7% in 2016 — with only 1.5 billion smartphone units being shipped globally this year. (Gartner, press, data, report, Engadget, CN Beta, TechCrunch)

gartner-1q16-smartphone-forecast

At its peak, the Tizen Alliance had 10 active members (KT, Fujitsu, NTT DoCoMo, Orange Telecom, Huawei, SK Telecom, NEC, and LG U+ ), which are now essentially down to only 4. Some, like Fujitsu and NEC, are now officially off the board, while others, including Huawei, KT, NTT DoCoMo, and Orange Telecom have become only advisory board members. (GSM Arena, Sam Mobile)
It is rumored that Samsung will skip Note 6 name and go straight to Note 7 but no confirmation was made. (Gizmo ChinaCandou, ZOL)

samsung-galaxy-note-7

Vernee Apollo Lite is official – 5.5” FHD Sharp IGZO display, MediaTek Helio X20 MT6797 processor, 16MP + 5MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, LTE, Android 6.0, USB Type-C, 3180mAh battery, USD229.99. (Phone Arena, Vernee)

vernee-apollo-lite

ZTE nubia Z11 Max is officially launched – 6” FHD Super AMOLED 2.5D curved glass display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, 16MP PDAF + 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 5.1, LTE (VoLTE), 4000mAh battery, CNY1999. (Gizmo China, ZOL, My Drivers)

zte-nubia-z11-max

Oysters SF with Salfish OS smartphone is launched in Russia – 5” HD IPS LCD display, MediaTek Mt 6753 processor, 8MP + 2MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, LTE, dual-SIM, 3000mAh battery. (CN Beta, Oysters, Android Headlines, GSM Arena)

oysters-sf

Wearables

Credit Suisse’s Randy Abrams offers his view on current VR solutions targeting different consumer segments from all his visits to China Electronics and other exhibitions. (TechNews, Barron’s, press)

creditsuisse-vr-solutions-comparison

Needham & Co.’s Rajvindra Gill believes that there are roughly 5-6 notebook models (>1%, or 80k-100k units) that are VR-enabled; however, our contacts suggest that the market could swell to over 5 million units in 2017. (TechNews, Barron’s, press)
According to Valve, Of the people who use SteamVR, which is software that can run VR scenes on either the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, 81.5% meet the minimum requirements for a room-scale set up. That means a strong majority of SteamVR users are using VR in spaces with floors measuring at least 2×1.5m. (TechNews, UploadVR, Steam Community)

vr-space-room

Magic Leap was awarded a design patent—a type of patent that covers the aesthetic look of something, rather than a novel invention itself (“utility patents”) —that outlines the basic shape of a head-mounted device that looks not too dissimilar from many of the VR headsets currently hitting the market. (Quartz, The Verge, Patent, Ali213)

meta-helmet

Internet of Things

IHS Automotive forecasts that there will be nearly 21 million autonomous vehicles sold globally by 2035. The forecast reflects a 43% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2025 and 2035. IHS expects China to be a dominant region for these vehicles. (CN Beta, ZDNet, Auto Remarketing, IHS, press)
Vizio announces its new SmartCast line of sound bars with music streaming over Wi-Fi using Google Cast, Bluetooth and SmartCast app that can turn any mobile device into a remote. (Digital Trends, Engadget, CN Beta)

vizio-smartcast

China’s revolutionary EHang 184 passenger carrying craft set to be tested in Nevada. The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, a state nonprofit group sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, will work to help EHang test and develop its system. (CN Beta, Daily Mail)

ehang-184

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