12-1: MediaTek announced the launch of Helio X23 and Helio X27; ChipMOS Technologies and Tsinghua Unigroup announced an agreement to form a joint-venture; South Korean suppliers Interflex, BHE and Samsung Electro-Mechanics reportedly are to supply their FPCBs for Apple’s next iPhone; etc.

Chipset

MediaTek announced the launch of 2 upgraded mobile processors — Helio X23 and Helio X27 — adding new features and experiences to the MediaTek Helio X20 family. MediaTek Helio X23 and X27 offer the next level in user experiences by improving the overall performance, camera quality and power consumption of the SoC family. (PR Newswire, Fonearena, My Drivers, TechNews, Sohu)

mediatek-helio-x20-x23-x25-x27

KAIST IP, the institute Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) intellectual property management arm, said it sued Samsung Electronics, Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries in a Texas court, claiming they used KAIST’s chip technology without permission. (TechNews, iam-media, The Investor)

IC sales for connections to the Internet of Things (IoT) are forecast to grow more than 3 times faster than total IC revenues during the last half of this decade, according to IC Insights. 2016 integrated circuit sales for IoT applications climbing nearly 19% compared to 2015 to an estimated USD12.8B, followed by the automotive segment increasing about 12% to USD22.9B. (Digitimes, IC Insights, press, OfWeek)

icinsights-ic-enduse-market-and-growth-rates-2015-2020

ChipMOS Technologies and Tsinghua Unigroup announced an agreement to form a joint-venture and to mutually terminate Tsinghua Unigroup’s earlier private placement plan. Under the joint-venture agreement, ChipMOS BVI, a wholly owned subsidiary of ChipMOS Taiwan, will sell 54.98% of the equity interests of its wholly owned subsidiary, ChipMOS Shanghai, to a group led by Tsinghua Unigroup. (TechNews, EPS News, Asian Nikkei)

chipmos-chairman-sjcheng

Touch / Display

Panasonic has developed LCD panels with a contrast of one million-to-one and display quality equivalent to that of OLED panels. Panasonic will begin sampling in Jan. 2017 and start production of 10”to 100” models specifically for use in medical care and automotive displays in 3Q17. (TechNews, Panasonic, Flat Panel SHD, Digitimes)

panasonic-new-lcd

South Korean suppliers Interflex, BHE and Samsung Electro-Mechanics reportedly are to supply their FPCBs for Apple’s next iPhone that features OLED display. Interflex and BHE have started to extend their facilities in order to deliver their FPCBs while Samsung Electro-Mechanics is examining its supplies positively. These FPCBs are going to be delivered starting from 2Q17 and 60M~70M FPCBs will be deliver in 2017. (TechNews, ET News)

Memory

According to TrendForce, the average contract prices in the PC-OEM market for mainstream client-grade SSDs using MLC NAND Flash are estimated to rise by 6~10%. The average prices of mainstream client-grade SSDs carrying TLC NAND Flash are expected rise by 6~9% sequentially in the fourth-quarter PC-OEM market. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, TechNews)

Sensory

Panasonic is conducting empirical tests to develop a small electric vehicle (EV) that is capable of fully autonomous driving. The technology uses image recognition technology and AI. The company strives to complete the development by 2020. The idea is not to selling car per se, but to provide the solution to the future car manufacturers.  (CN Beta, Business Recorder, Sina, 163)

Motorola CEO Aymar de Lencquesaing said that the company is going to release a Moto Mod built with additional cameras and sensors that will enable AR functionality on the Moto Z series. (Ubergizmo, TechCrunch, Phone Arena, The Verge, PC Mag, 7tin, Sohu, VRRB)

Samsung’s new patent application describes a new Gear VR headset updated with embedded sensors such as electrooculographic and infrared sensors for tracing eye and facial expressions. (Phone Arena, Galaxy Club, Hexun)

samsung-gear-vr-patent-eye-tracking

Bats use biosonar to navigate their night flights through jungles and forests. Their system of ultrasonic pulses can pinpoint sound more precisely than man-made technical sonar. To replicate these capabilities, Prof. Rolf Müller, an IBM Faculty Award winner, and his team at Virginia Tech designed artificial bat ears to explore how bats’ unique abilities can be replicated and harnessed. (CN Beta, IBM)

man-made-bat-ears

Battery

India’s new solar power plant in Kamuthi town has a capacity of 648 MW, spread over 10km2. It is the world’s largest solar power plant at a single location. Funded by Adani Green Energy, it entailed an investment of INR4,550 crore (about USD679M). Built in 8 months, the plant is cleaned every day by a robotic system and charged with its own solar panels. It is expected to power 150,000 homes. (CN Beta, IB Times, Digital Trends)

kamuthi-solar-plant

Huawei has announced a major breakthrough in its research into Li-ion batteries, unveiling the world’s first long-lifespan graphene-assisted Li-ion battery able to withstand high temperatures—remain functional in a 60°C environment, a temperature 10°C higher than the existing upper limit. (Huawei, CN Beta, 10JQKA)

Material

Research director of IHS Technology indicates that glass body definitely is a trend for smartphone. Lenovo Group SVP Chang Chen also indicates that he has foreseen this trend at the beginning of 2016, and also mentions that no other vendor other than Lenovo can produce a 3D curved glass back cover for ZUK Z2 Pro, until Apple in 2017 for its iPhone 8. (ChinaZ, CN Beta)

ihs-lenovo-glass-is-new-trend

Connectivity

Andre Kindness, principal analyst of infrastructure and operations in the technology practice of Forrester Research indicates that by 2025 he would not be surprised to see a connection speed of 300Mbps. (Forbes, CN Beta)

Smartphones

According to Localytics, Google Pixel saw a 112% increase in activations over the Thanksgiving weekend (that covers Thursday through Monday – also known as Cyber Monday). Samsung Galaxy S7 came in 2nd place, seeing a modest 36% increase, with Apple products rounding out the top 5, which included the 9.7” iPad Pro at 24%, the iPad Mini 2 at 19% and the iPhone 7 at just 13%. (Localytics, press, Android Headlines, CN Beta)

localytics-highest-device-activations-blackfriday-2016

According to Check Point security firm, a new malware strand called Gooligan may have breached over 1M Google accounts over the past few months. (Check Point, Android Authority, CN Beta)

gooligan-malware checkpoint-gooligan-malware-affected-region

LeEco mobile division VP Feng Xin’s internal email dated 30 Nov. 2016 indicates that supply chain issue has been solved partly, and supply chain has recovered. He has confidence sales of mobile phone could reach 20M units in Dec. 2016. Additionally, he also mentions 2nd phase of strategy and organization upgrade will begin. (CN Beta, iFeng, 163)

leeco-feng-xin-supply-chain-recovers leshi-fengxin

According to Isaiah Research, LeEco is believed to encounter financial crisis, which may directly impact the smartphone supply chain. For instance, flagship Le Pro3 (launched in Oct. 2016) with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 may be still under pending for mass production due to supply bottleneck. (Isaiah report)

isaiah-leeco-supply-chain

According to Isaiah Research, Shanghai Wind Communication may be replaced by another China IDH Huaqin for the ODM business of the upcoming m series for Meizu. The major reason is the recent financial issue of Wind. (Isaiah report)

isaiah-meizu-meilan-odm

After a year of restructuring in Greater China region, TCL Communication has begun another restructuring. The company is planning to move the sales operation from Beijing to Shenzhen, and hence for the 100 employees who do not want to move, the company is paying compensation for layoff.  (Elecfans, 163, Finance.China)

According to Counterpoint Research, global mobile handset hardware segment generated USD10.2B in operating profits during 3Q16. This was down 19% YoY as a result of Samsung saw almost USD3B operating profit being wiped out due to the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. For the first time top 4 Chinese brands generated combined USD1.1B in operating profits capturing a combined 11% profit share. (Counterpoint Research)

counterpoint-global-handset-operating-profit-3q16

LG Electronics has a new CEO: Jo Seong-jin, formerly head of the home appliances division and a 40 years veteran of the company. (The Verge, LG)

“Made in India” Coolpad Note 3S and Mega 3 launched in India: Note 3S – 5.5” HD 2.5D curved display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 415 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 6.0 (Cool UI 8.0), LTE, dual-SIM, fingerprint sensor, 2500mAh battery, INR9999. Mega 3 – 5.5” HD display, MediaTek MT6737 processor, 8MP + 8MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 6.0, LTE, tri-SIM, 3050mAh battery, INR6999. (GSM Arena)

coolpad-note-3s

vivo V5 is announced with 20MP front camera – 5.5” HD 2.5D curved display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, 13MP + 20MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 6.0, AKM Hi-Fi chip AK4376, fingerprint sensor, 3000mAh battery. (Phone Arena, Yahoo, PR Newswire)

vivo-v5

Tablets / PCs

Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to decline by 6.4% year over year in 2016, according to IDC. While IDC’s outlook for 2017 remains at -2.1% year-over-year growth, the absolute volumes are slightly higher based on stronger 2016 shipments. (IDC, press, CN Beta)

idc-pc-forecast-2014-2017 idc-pc-forecast-2014-2017-2

Wearables

GoPro has announced a company-wide restructuring slated for 2017, along with the departure of three-year company president, Tony Bates. It is to reduce its workforce by more than 200 employees and close its entertainment division. (CN Beta, NY Times, Digital Trends, USA Today, GoPro)

Fitbit is reportedly buying troubled smartwatch maker Pebble. Fitbit’s interest in Pebble reportedly stops at intellectual property like the company’s in-house smartwatch operating system. (TechCrunch, The Information, Liliputing, Financial Times, CN Beta)

According to Wall Street Journal, while VR has much in the way of long-term promise, early sales are providing a hard dose of reality. None of the companies involved have disclosed actual numbers, but several indications have emerged suggesting a relatively low sales volume to date. (Screenny, WSJ, 199IT)

Internet of Things

The CEO of Sidewalk Labs, the Google spinoff focused on smart city solutions, Dan Doctoroff claims that by experimenting with new technologies in “real-world conditions,” there is the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 2/3, shorten commutes by 1 hour, and slash the cost of living for local residents by as much as 14%. (The Verge, Medium)

sidewalk-labs-ceo

According to CB Insights, startups in the drone market have already seen significant investment, with venture funding booming by 214% in 2015. And now the category is evolving beyond hardware, with investments and activity moving to drone software and media companies. (CB Insights, press, 199IT)

cbinsights-drones-annual-financing-history-2016

Amazon sold 5.1M Amazon Echo devices in the US since its late 2014 introduction, with consumer awareness of the internet-enabled speaker increasing dramatically in the past 12 months as users tap into its diverse capabilities, notes a recent Consumer Intelligence Research Partners analysis of the product. (199IT, Hidden Wires, Variety, Huffington Post, press)

cirp-amazon-customer-awareness-echo cirp-how-consumers-use-echo

Foxconn Electronics is expected to ship a total of 60,000 Pepper robots from its plant in Shandong, China in 2016, valued at USD500M. The Shandong plant is currently rolling out 2,000 Pepper robots a month and is shipping the robots to the US and Europe, in addition to the initial markets in Japan and Taiwan. (Digitimes, press, PC Home)

Amazon unveiled AWS Snowmobile, a semi-trailer that will come to your facility and literally pick up 1 exabyte of data (1 million terabytes). Snowmobile is a 100 petabyte container. It comes affixed to a 45-foot long container truck. Amazon will drive the truck up to a data center, hook up fiber to the data center and ingest the data. The truck then returns to AWS. (CN Beta, TechCrunch, Geek Wire, Business Insider)

amazon-aws-snowmobile

According to research agency AVC, 2016 total sales volume of colour TV will reach 50.75M units, a 7.5% increase on year. However, at the same time of saving the colour TV market from declining, sales continue to go down. At 3Q16, China colour TV retail sales fell by 5.9% on year. As the panel prices and the depreciation of currency value, this indicates that the more vendors sell the TV, the more they lose. (163, CN Beta, Beijing Business Today)

Commerce

According to a survey conducted by KPMG globally with 2560 respondents, 90.4% of the China respondents made at least one online purchase using a smartphone in the past 12 months. This is in stark contrast to other markets – especially the US (74%) and UK (74.6%). China’s consumers consider pricing, promotions, convenience, enhanced delivery and return options and the availability of a variety of products as the most important factors when shopping online. (199IT, KPMG report)

kpmg-consumers-used-smartphone-to-shop-2016 kpmg-china-purchase-online-reasons

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