12-13: Apple reportedly to invest up to USD1B in SoftBank’s USD100B technology fund; JDI will reportedly raise its stake in JOLED from 15% to over 50% by the end of 2017; etc.

Chipset

Apple has reportedly held talks to invest up to USD1B in SoftBank’s USD100B technology fund. (CN Beta, WSJ, CNET, MSN)

Samsung is reportedly considering a reorganization of the System LSI division in order to systematically grow the system semiconductor business. The LSI business division is largely divided into four segments; system on chip (SoC) team which develops mobile APs, LSI development team which designs display driver chips and camera sensors, foundry business team and support team. (Android Headlines, WCCFTech, Hot Hardware, Business Korea, Enorth, Kejixun, 163)

Touch / Display

Japan Display Inc. (JDI) will reportedly raise its stake in JOLED from 15% to over 50% by the end of 2017 through stock purchases from the state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), which now owns 75% of the venture. The deal’s value is expected to top USD100M. (Barron’s, blog, TechNews, Asia Nikkei)

Samsung is rumored to be ditching flat screens for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone and going solely with dual-edge panels, but industry watchers doubt whether there is sufficient demand for a curved screen-only model. (Ubergizmo, The Investor, Hexun)

theinvestor-analysts-doubt-only-curved-samsung-s8

According to IHS Markit, as more smartphone manufacturers build designs using flexible display technology, shipments of flexible displays are expected to reach 139M units in 2017, an increase of 135% compared to 2016 (59M units). In 2023 IHS sees shipments of 560M flexible displays. (OLED-Info, IHS Markit, press, HC360)

ihs-flexible-display-shipment-forecast

Memory

TrendForce reports that the global shortage of NAND Flash has reached its most severe phase for 2016 in 4Q16 due to strong smartphone shipments, growing SSD demand and the increase in the average memory density of eMMCs and eMCPs. Between 4Q16~1Q17, contract prices of enterprise- and client SSDs are expected to rise by over 10%, while mobile products such as eMMC and UFS will register even larger contract price increases. (TrendForce, press, TechNews, TrendForce[cn], press)

trendforce-3q16-ssd

Seagate and SK Hynix will form a joint venture dedicated to developing SSDs for enterprise servers and data centers, according to Digitimes. The joint venture will combine Seagate’s expertise in hard disk drives with SK Hynix’ complete embedded flash and SSD solutions to create a new player in the enterprise SSD market, which is currently dominated by Samsung and Intel. (Digitimes, press, TechNews)

Biometrics

Synaptics has announced a new sampling of its new 6x6mm Natural ID fs4500 fingerprint sensor solutions, which delivers secure biometric authentication through glass or ceramic buttons, and recessed cover glass up to 300um thick. The mass production expects to begin in 4Q16. (CN Beta, Sohu, Shareholder, Phone Radar)

synaptics-natural-id

Battery

The European Commission has fined Sony, Panasonic and Sanyo Electric a total of EUR166M (USD176M) for collusion on the pricing of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The commission said the companies had formed a price-fixing cartel together with Samsung SDI between February 2004 and November 2007. (Japan Times, TechNews, ejinsight, WSJ)

Smartphones

Thanks to its arrangement with Ireland, Apple paid only 1%, or less, tax in the country, well below the 35% top rate of corporate tax in the United States and Ireland’s 12.5% rate. Ireland was named sixth worst corporate tax haven by Oxfam. (Patently Apple, CNN, Irish Times, Tencent)

oxfam-worst-tax-havens

Apple approached the CSO expressing concerns that information it provided the statistics agency should remain confidential in compiling GDP figures. When the CSO reported revised numbers that showed the economy had surged 26.3% in 2015. The numbers gave rise to the infamous jibe of “leprechaun economics” by economist Paul Krugman. (CN Beta, Irish Examiner, Patently Apple)

Apple next-generation iPhone in 2017 will allegedly feature a dual-SIM version, which will be exclusive to China. (Gizmo China, CN Beta)

apple-iphone-8-dual-sim

Gionee P7 is announced in India – 5” HD IPS LCD display, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 8MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 6.0 (Amigo 3.0), LTE (VoLTE), dual-SIM, 2300mAh battery, INR9999. (GSM Arena, Gionee, Fonearena)

gionee-p7

ZTE Grand X 4 is launched in Cricket US and Freedom Mobile Canada– 5.5” HD display, 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 6.0, LTE, fingerprint sensor, 3140mAh battery, USD129.99 (Cricket) / USD299 (Freedom Mobile). (CN Beta, BGR, ZTE, Android Headlines)

zte-grand-x-4

HMD Global unveils Nokia 150 / Dual SIM feature phone – 2.4” display, physical keypad, VGA camera, Nokia Series 30+, Bluetooth, FM radio, an MP3 player, and a microSD slot, 3G, 1020mAh battery, USD26. (Ubergizmo, CN Beta, Phone Arena, HMD)

nokia-150

Wearables

Canalys predicts shipments will exceed 2M units worldwide in 2016. This number is forecast to grow to 20M by 2020. Shipments of smart VR headsets, which can function independently, will reach over 100K units. Canalys expects over 800K Sony Playstation VR shipments in less than three months on the market. These estimates only include VR headsets with integrated displays, so exclude simple viewers. (CN Beta, Canalys, press)

canalys-vr-2016-2020

Cronologics has been acquired by Google. The company formed in 2014 and had been developing its own smartwatch OS, alongside its own device, the CoWatch. (Android Authority, VentureBeat, Qudong, ZOL)

The Venture Reality Fund has released its latest augmented reality landscape research in 4Q16, which shows dozens of companies that are developing the infrastructure, tools, platforms, and apps for the fast-growing AR ecosystem. The landscape helps to visualize all of the companies in the space, and it also helps categorize the competition. (VentureBeat, Trello, Trello, CN Beta)

vrf-vr-industry-4q16 vrf-ar-industry-4q16

Internet of Things

TP-Link announced its latest smart home device, the HS105 Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini. The new TP-Link Smart Plug Mini enables consumers to control electronic devices from anywhere using the Kasa app, without the need for a smart hub or bridge. (CN Beta, TMCNet, Yahoo)

tplink-hs105-smart-plug-mini

Alphabet is reportedly putting its plans for building a car without a steering wheel or pedals in park, at least for now. Instead, the Google parent has opted to focus its self-driving car ambitions on partnerships with automakers to produce a vehicle that drives itself but still retains the traditional cockpit features currently necessary to pilot a car. (CN Beta, CNET, The Information)

Commerce

Netease and TNS China study concluded that middle-class is non-existent in China. The definition of “middle-class” may not conform to the current situation of China’s rapid development and regional imbalance. They put forward the concept of “gradually-rich people” to replace the traditional middle-class concept. This indicates the vast majority of the people who have more disposable social resources, but still a distance from financially freedom. (199IT, TNS report)

tnschina-gradually-rich-people-definition tnschina-gradually-rich-people

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