8-23: Samsung is reportedly planning their own refurbished smartphone program; Apple and Samsung are the only company making any money from smartphone sales; OPPO targets 100mln and vivo targets 70mln for smartphone sales in 2016; etc.

Chipset

Since 2Q16 MediaTek has been facing issue of tight-supply for its mobile phone processors. OPPO and vivo are thought to be one of the factors, thanks to their high shipment. Now there is rumor OPPO and vivo are shifting their orders to Qualcomm, and that is actually a “friendly” advice from MediaTek. (OfWeek, IT Home)
SoftBank Group announced that a Chinese subsidiary that sold shareholdings in Alibaba Group Holding would pay the parent some JPY2.37 trillion (USD23.6 billion) in dividends. Softbank will apply the funds toward acquiring British chip design firm ARM Holdings. (TechNews, Asia Nikkei)

Touch Display

Sharp will implement a large-scale corporate restructuring to achieve profitability, with the hope of restoring the brand’s image as a global provider of innovative consumer electronics, the company’s new chief executive Tai Jeng-wu. (CN Beta, WSJ, Market Watch, ADVFN)
According to IHS Markit, Apple reportedly will offer 3 models of iPhone in 2017 – one premium with 5.5” or bigger curved OLED display, and two keep its traditional design with 4.7” / 5.5” flat LCD panel.  In 2019, Apple would have two foldable iPhone in 2019 – 4.7” that can be turned into iPad mini and 5.5” that can be turned into full-sized iPad. (Forbes, CN Beta, Asia Nikkei)
According to IHS Markit, the market for active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays continues to grow, with its share of global display shipments reaching 11% in 2016 and then rising to a projected 22% in 2020. Supporting this rapid growth will be the AMOLED encapsulation material market, up 76% to USD111 million in 2016 from 2015. (199IT, IHS Markit, blog)

ihs-amoled-growth-2020

According to WitsView’s analyst Qiu Yubin, BOE is slowly exiting smartphone panel market, shifting focus on large-size TV production, causing Mainland China module maker increasing orders with HannStar and CPT. This causes price increase of a-Si panel—low-end 4” a-Si phone panel in Aug. 2016 increase max. 8%. This helps the revenue in 3Q16 for both companies. (OfWeek, FPDisplay)
As Sharp is a leader in IGZO technology, IGZO penetration can increase if Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) hikes the Sharp’s IGZO production capacity, according to Digitimes Research. In comparison with LTPS panels, IGZO ones entail fewer manufacturing procedures and therefor have lower production cost. (Digitimes, press, EE Focus, Sohu, OfWeek, PJ Time)

Memory

Memoright has grown its customer base in the handset eMCP field with monthly shipments already surpassing 1 million devices, according to company president Alex Kuo. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes[cn])
Taiwan-based Winbond Electronics has entered the supply chain for Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7-series smartphones with its flash memory. (Digitimes, press, China Times 1, 2, iFixit, article)

samsung-galaxy-note-7-winbond-huge chinatimes-windbond-technology

Material

The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research has crafted nanowires from genetically modified Geobacter. The team altered the bacteria so that it would replace amino acids with tryptophan, which is a much better electrical conductor (2,000 times) at the nanoscopic scale. (Engadget, ONR, Defense One, CN Beta)

geobacter-nanowires

MIT Self-Assembly Lab has built a working cell phone that is self-building using a basic DIY cell phone design created by MIT professor David Mellis as a model. (Fast Company, TechCrunch)

mit-self-assembling-phone

Connectivity

Apple reportedly might eliminate the SIM tray in its 2017 iPhone to save more spaces, and replace it with an internal SIM, similar to the one with 9.7” iPad Pro. (CN Beta, Forbes)

Smartphones

Some 800 models compete for mind and wallet share of the USD16 billion Indian smartphone market, according to Strategy Analytics. 44% of Indian smartphone owners likely to replace device in next 6 months, with Micromax has the greatest exposure to replacement sales (38%). (199IT, Business Wire, Strategy Analytics, press)

strategyanalytics-indian-consumer-buy-phone-brand

Samsung is reportedly planning their own refurbished smartphone program that could launch as soon as 2017. The aim is to keep its operating margins above 10%. (CN Beta, Ubergizmo, Phone Arena, Reuters)
Forbes indicates that without Samsung, Android would be left with a raft of smaller manufacturers (such as Huawei) providing the occasional point of interest at the high-end, and a fleet of budget handsets running on low-margin hardware bulking up the sales. Apple rules the high-end space, Samsung fights the good fight, and everyone else is elsewhere. (CN Beta, Forbes, article)
A recent study from Cannaccord Genuity  shows that Apple and Samsung are the only company making any money from smartphone sales. Apple is the most profitable with a 38% margin for smartphones, while Samsung is 17% operating margin. (ZDNet, TNW, Bloomberg, Barron’s, blog)

cannaccord-smartphone-profit-share-2q16

OPPO reportedly targets 50 million units of smartphone shipment in 2H16. OPPO and vivo smartphone shipment in 2016 is expected to reach 60~80 million units. Also, OPPO and vivo targets 100 million units in 2017. (ChinaZ, IT Home)
OPPO’s 2016 target reportedly is 100 million smartphone shipments, while vivo’s is 70 million units. This benefits the supply chain of vendors, including processor supplier MediaTek, memory and panel supplier Supreme, VCM / audio / PCB board supplier Zhen Ding. It is expected in 2H16 these companies would see increase in their business. (FM5, ChinaZ, IT Home)
According to IDC, Xiaomi has shipped 880,000 units of Redmi Note 3 online in 2Q16. After selling 1.75 million units in just 6 months in India, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 device has become the highest shipped smartphone in the history of India’s online market in any quarter. (Android Authority, India Today, BGR)
Lenovo and Microsoft have agreed on a deal that will result in Microsoft productivity apps like Skype, Office and OneDrive coming pre-loaded on some Android devices produced by Lenovo. (Phone Arena, Windows Central, PR Newswire, C114, My Drivers)
Gionee S6s launched in India – 5.5” FHD Super AMOLED display, MediaTek MT6753 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 6.0, LTE (VoLTE), fingerprint sensor, 3150mAh battery, INR17,999 (USD267). (GSM Arena, India Times, Indian Express, NDTV)

gionee-s6s

Wearables

Apple has acquired Gliimpse, a startup that helps users collect and personalize their health records. (Engadget, Fast Company, TechCrunch, 163, Tencent)
King’s Health Partners, an academic health science center in the U.K., will trial a wearable and mobile app program that tries to prevent patients from developing type 2 diabetes. Activity will be tracked through the Buddi wearable. (Read/Write, Diabetes)

buddi-king-health-partners

ZEISS has announced that its iPhone-compatible VR ONE Plus VR headset is available at Best Buy across US for USD129. The headset has a universal smartphone tray. (CN Beta, Mac Rumors, Business Wire)

zeiss-vr-one-plus

CB Insights lists 15 startups that are not named after Magic Leap raising AR / VR mega-rounds. Topping the list of big AR/VR rounds was Laguna Beach, California-based NextVR, which focuses on virtual reality broadcasts of live events. NextVR recently raised an USD80 million Series B round. (CB Insights, press, 361Games)

cbinsights-15-ar-vr-startups-not-magic-leap

Internet of Things

Genesis (from Hyundai) has announced that both the G90 flagship sedan and the smaller G80 sedan are compatible with Amazon Alexa—drivers can talk to Alexa and have it start or stop the car, activate the lights, locks and adjust the climate control. (USA Today, CNET, Auto Blog, CN Beta)

genesis-g90-amazon-alexa

DeNA will launch a driverless bus service at a park in Chiba Prefecture from Aug. 2016. The Tokyo-based firm said it has partnered with EasyMile S.A., a French startup that manufactures self-driving buses. (TechNews, EasyMileTechCrunch, Japan Times, Reuters)

dena-easymile

A startup called Proxy has raised USD1.6 million in seed funding to help people use internet-enabled devices without any login processes and standalone apps for each separate device. (TechCrunch)

proxy-door

Microsoft has acquired AI-powered scheduling tool Genee. It will be integrating Genee into its cloud productivity suite, Office 365. (Engadget, Microsoft, TechCrunch, CN Beta)

microsoft-genee

Ford reportedly will debut its updated 2017 Focus Electric in 2H16. It will increase battery capacity by 46%, from 23kWh to 33.5kWh. It is also reportedly receiving DC fast charging, up to 50kW, which should provide a majority of the battery’s charge in about 30 minutes. (CN Beta, CNET, InsideEVs)

ford-focus-battery

Uber announced that is has acquired self-driving truck startup Otto for about USD680 million. (Read/Write, Otto, 163, Huxiu, Sina)

uber-acquires-otto

Volvo cars and Uber are to join forces to develop next-generation autonomous driving cars. (TechNews, Design Boom, SG Car Mart, eWeek)

Others

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, Inc. has confirmed that it has acquired the intellectual property assets of enterprise bitcoin payments processor Bitnet Technologies Ltd, which will be used to create a “blockchain lab” for the Japanese retail giant. (TechNews, TechCrunch, Silicon Angle)

rakuten-germany-bitchain

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