11-7: Lenovo announces 1M units of the Moto Z series has been sold worldwide; Apple has reportedly sought incentives from the government to set up a manufacturing unit in India; etc.

Touch Panel

The jointly-developed LTPS panel of Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn) and Innolux has reportedly been validated by Apple’s iPhone in-cell certification. This indicates that in the future Hon Hai may become another iPhone in-cell panel supplier. Currently Hon Hai’s LTPS panel monthly production is about 23K~24K units. (CN Beta, 163, China Times)
The Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ)  is readying some JPY50B (USD500M) in aid for the struggling Apple supplier Japan Display Inc (JDI), whose capital has withered as smartphone sales slow. The fund could decide on the aid as soon as Nov. 2016. (TechNews, Asia Times, Business Times)
Samsung’s LED business unit from the Device Solutions (DS) division is recruiting research and development (R&D) employees with experience from the 1~22 Nov 2016. This is the first recruitment in the sector after the LED business division was contracted to the business unit at the end of last year. It has recently succeeded in turning a profit and is strengthening its workforce. (TechNews, Business Korea)

Battery

U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a way to convert sewage sludge into a form of crude oil called biocrude by pumping it through a pressurized tube. The process is called hydrothermal liquefaction. The watery liquid and biocrude out of the process is close enough to petroleum. (The Verge, PNNL, Tencent)

feces-to-energy

Biometrics

David Hsu from “Semiconductor Engineering” has an article discussing fingerprint recognition technology. Several factors contribute to fingerprint technology’s popularity over other biometrics: 1) it is recognized as a legal representation of a person’s signature; 2) its reliability as a fingerprint pattern does not change over a person’s lifetime; and, 3) the required low hardware cost and high portability — it only takes 120~ 180Byte (~1kbit) of memory to store a set of unique features (minutiae) that represents a fingerprint. (Semiconductor Engineering, article)

semi-engineering-fingerprint-sensor-security

Apple has a secret office in Cambridge, UK where it is working on Siri, the company’s AI-powered personal assistant. It is home to less than 30 people, including employees from VocalIQ — a voice recognition startup that was spun out from the university and acquired by Apple in 2015 for up to USD100M. (CN Beta, BGR, Business Insider)

apple-secret-siri-lab apple-secret-siri-lab-map

Connectivity

Facebook unveiled its open source telecom hardware designed to link data centers using a high-speed optical networking system that can cover large geographical distances. The device, called Voyager, is an optical switch described as the first “white box” transponder for Open Packet DWDM optical networks. (Digital Trends, WSJ, Business Insider, Tencent, ZDNet)

facebook-voyager

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom plans to launch a drone defense system in 2016 designed to guard airports, stadiums, car test tracks and critical infrastructure. (CN Beta, Reuters, Yahoo)

Smartphones

Apple has reportedly sought incentives from the government to set up a manufacturing unit in the country. In a communication to the government, Apple has asked for incentives related to the Department of Revenue and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeITY). (CN Beta, Economic Times)
Lenovo announces 1M units of the Moto Z series has been sold worldwide. Helping the phone ring up such a large number of sales are the Moto Mods modular accessories. (Phone Arena, Playful Droid, My Drivers, IT Home)

lenovo-1m-moto-z

LeapDroid, an Android emulator that specializes in games, has revealed that they are joining Google just months after releasing it to the public. (Android Authority, Digital Trends, Engadget)

leapdroid-joining-google

Tablets and PCs

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller indicates that the new MacBook Pro is the highest selling laptop for the company ever. (199IT, Apple Insider, The Independent, iPhone Hacks)

Wearables

Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe  provides some predictions of VR: 1) Most Rift (and general VR) experiences will not be room-scale; 2) All-in-one headsets will not replace PC or mobile VR; 3) All-in-one headsets will make backpack PCs out-of-date; and, 4) AR and VR will not merge (for now). (The Verge, Upload to VR)

oculus-ceo-brendan-iribe oculus-vr-predictions-2021

“Bloomberg Businessweek” has interviewed Facebook CEO Mark Zukerberg for his future vision of Oculus. He deems VR as a next-generation computer platform that connects the world. However, Oculus still has a lot of technical obstacles to overcome, some of which are yet to be known. He wants to build a NASA-like research park for VR. (CN Beta, Bloomberg, article)

bloomberg-oculus-facebook-ceo

Internet of Things

Samsung Electronics is set to unveil its Tizen operating system for the Internet of Things as early as the end of 2016. After it has failed to squeeze into the mobile operating system dominated by Google‘s Android and Apple’s iOS, it has recently shifted the target market of Tizen to home appliances. (The Investors, Korea Herald, Notebook Check)

samsung-tizen-home-appliances

Toyota plans to make a full-scale entry into the electric vehicle market by 2020. Toyota will establish an EV development division. (CN Beta, Reuters, Asia Nikkei, Seeking Alpha)
CB Insights released a report tearing down Google’s strategy betting the future on artificial intelligence, cloud services and moonshots. In particular, artificial intelligence is the thread running through all of Google’s disparate efforts at innovation, including autonomous vehicles, enterprise cloud, and the new smartphone line. (Laoyaoba, CB Insights, article)

cbinsights-google-acquisitions-by-quarter cbinsights-google-acquisitions-by-subindustry cbinsights-race-for-ai-major-acquirers-in-artificial-intelligence

The consumer market is also seeing a new level of interest in robotics, as the industry is invaded by the next wave of so-called personal assistant robots or social robots for the home. ASUS, Blue Frog Robotics, InGen, Jibo, NEC, Samsung and others are developing various personal assistant robots for consumers. In 2015, 3.7M household robots were sold, up 11% over 2014, according to IFR. (Semiconductor Engineering, article, IFR, executive summary, presentation)

ifr-service-robots-2015-2019

Intel has unveiled the Shooting Star, a quadcopter drone tailor-made for light shows. Its companion software automates the animation process, telling the drone horde where to fly to create an intended image – it will even choose drones based on remaining battery life and GPS reception quality. (Engadget, Intel, Intel, EE Trend)

intel-shooting-star-drone

Economic

Forbes predicts that Alibaba Single’s Day 2016 will see an increase of 50%, taking total sales of more than USD21B. The company has also unveiled for the sale a virtual reality shopping experience. Some 60-70% or sales will come from mobile. (CN Beta, Forbes)

alibaba-single-days-2015

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