12-14: Sharp reportedly will not supply TV LCD panels to Samsung from 2017; Sigma Intell indicates prices for handset-use a-Si TFT-LCD panels in Dec. 2016 mostly has remained unchanged on month; etc.

Chipset

AMD unveils Ryzen, its next-gen CPU, featuring 8-core, 16-thread chip with base clock speeds of 3.4GHz or higher, and will be available in 1Q17. (Liliputing, Forbes, Ars Technica, Digital Trends, CN Beta)

amd-ryzen

Camera

According to Isaiah Research, with the growing demand of dual-camera features, it is indicated that O-Film and Sunny Optical are expected to expand their camera module assembly capacity respectively by end of 2017. (Isaiah report)

isaiah-camera-module-suppliers-capacity-overview

Touch / Display

Jerry Kang, principal analyst of display research for IHS Markit indicates that Apple’s flexible AMOLED display adoption would “dramatically drive up expected demand for flexible AMOLED panels”. (Digitimes, BGR, Hindustan Times, CN Beta)

FlexEnable has developed a 12.1” glass-free, conformable organic liquid crystal display (OLCD) marking an important milestone in the commersialisation of large area flexible displays. The technology is compatible with existing LCD production lines, and is scalable to even larger area displays. (Printed Electronics World, China.com, New Electronics)

flexenable-big-flexible-display

Sharp has reportedly informed Samsung that from 2017 Sharp will not supply TV LCD panels to Samsung. To deal with the gap for LCD panels supply, Samsung has already switched orders to LG Display.  Sharp has supplied Samsung 4M~5M LCD panels per year, which accounted for 10% of Samsung’s overall demand. (TechNews, Chosun)

Mainly due to shrinking demand, prices for handset-use a-Si TFT-LCD panels in Dec. 2016 mostly has remained unchanged on month, while those for handset-use LTPS TFT-LCD panels has dropped slightly, according to Sigmaintell Consulting. (Sigma Intell, press, Digitimes, press)

sigmaintell-dec-2016-panel-prices

Samsung is reportedly planning to use Y-OCTA technology for its Galaxy S8. Main function of this technology is to implement a touch sensor during a process of manufacturing of a display. Y-OCTA technology eliminates this add-on method and instead forms electrodes with touch function inside of a display (insulator film), thinner and lighter displays can be manufactured. (ET News, IT Home, Qudong)

Sensory

Vesper Technologies, a developer of piezoelectric MEMS microphones, has closed a Series A round of funding of USD15M led by Accomplice. Vesper also received an investment from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, AAC Technologies, Hyperplane, Miraenano Tech, XinGang Electronics, etc. (EE Times, Market Wired)

According to a Microsoft patent application, the company is working on new technology to better track a user’s eye-gaze direction. The technology outlined in the patent, however, would use a combination of sensors and processors to ascertain where the user’s eyes are actually gazing, independent of head position. (CN Beta, Digital Trends, WIPO)

microsoft-eye-tracking-patent

Battery

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) is mulling over an investigation into Apple iPhone 6s, which randomly shut down despite battery remaining. It is looking into the matter as the iPhone 6s battery problem could potentially be a safety issue, similar to Samsung Galaxy Note 7. (Phone Arena, Korea Herald, CN Beta)

Connectivity

Ignition Design Labs announced PORTAL with Mesh 2.0. PORTAL Mesh 2.0 is a second generation Dynamic Smart Mesh technology that enables multiple PORTAL units to easily work together for seamless coverage in large and multi-story homes (over 3,000 square feet). (CN Beta, Yahoo)

ignition-labs-portal

Smartphones

Google’s senior vice president for Android, Chrome, and Chromecast Hiroshi Lockheimer indicates that there is “no point” in merging both Android and ChromeOS for the company. (CN Beta, Green Bot, Android Beat, All About Android)

Steve Kondik, former Cyanogen Inc. co-founder, has alluded to the potential intellectual property issues CyanogenMod might face if it was reorganized under a new non-profit corporate entity, and so the possibility of a new name was raised. It seems that name has, at least provisionally, been decided upon: LineageOS. (Android Headlines, Android Police, IT Home)

Taiwanese companies seen as a bellwether for the global IT industry are struggling to boost earnings, as gains in semiconductors and LCD panels fail to offset weak sales of Apple iPhone-related products. Nov. 2016 revenue for 19 leading Taiwanese IT businesses totaled NTD1.11T (USD34.9B), down 0.04% on year. Though the dip was smaller than the 6.4% decrease for Oct. 2016, sales declined YoY for a third straight month. Revenue grew at 11 of the companies, 4 more than in Oct. 2016. (Asia Nikkei, TechNews)

Tablets / PCs

After 2 years of decline, the tablet market is showing signs of improvement as tablets become cost-effective computing devices for both entertainment and productivity purposes. Tablet shipments are projected to fall only 1% year-on-year in 2017, followed by moderate growth as demand for 2-in-1s, Windows Tablets, and enterprise sales lead the rebound, according to Strategy Analytics. (Strategy Analytics, press, 199IT)

strategyanalytics-2020-tablet

Wearables

According to Strategy Analytics, Games is the top app category across all stores, followed by the Education category. Steam has the greatest developer support in terms of availability of VR apps with 871 available, while the Oculus Rift store has the fewest apps, with only 192. (EE Trend, Strategy Analytics, press)

strategyanalytics-ar-vr-application

Brendan Iribe is vacating the CEO seat and moving within Facebook’s Oculus to lead its PC VR group. (Android Headlines, Engadget, Oculus, 10JQKA)
oculus-ceo-brendan-iribe

Giroptic has put out a second version of its 360° camera, the Giroptic iO, which attaches to an Apple iPhone or iPad’s Lightning port. It can snap photos at 3,840×1,920-pixel resolution or record 1,920×960-resolution video and live stream to YouTube. It is pre-ordered at USD249. (CN Beta, Giroptic, CNET, Tom’s Guide)

giroptic-io

Improbable, the London startup backed by Andreessen Horowitz that has been developing a platform for third parties to build virtual and simulated worlds, is today launching the alpha of its first product, SpatialOS. And with it, Improbable is also announcing a strategic partnership with Google. (TechCrunch, SpatialOS, Toutiao, IVR)

Fossils announced it would bring its smartwatch technology to 3 more brands—Diesel, Kate Spade and Emporio Armani connected watches are all scheduled to go on sale sometimes in late 2016 or early 2017. (Android Authority, Pocket-Lint)

fossil-hybrid-smartwatch

Moskito is a typical smartwatch with an analog watch style on the surface, when attached to a bike, it also serves as a full-featured cycling computer capable of tracking speed, distance, average pace, and more. (Digital Trends, Kickstarter, Tencent)

moskito

Internet of Things

Google has just announced that it plans to spin off its self-driving car project into a standalone company called Waymo. The new company stands for “a new way forward in mobility”, according to John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo. (Android Authority, TechCrunch, The Verge, Waymo, CN Beta)

google-waymo

Google wants Android to power everything, and it has a new operating system to help — Android Things. Its primary target is the IoT market including smart thermostats, TVs, ovens, and more. (Digital Trends, Google, Engadget, Sohu)

android-things

Panasonic’s checkout machine system would use a basket that scans items outfitted with electronic tags as they are being put inside. When a customer checks out, they place their basket on a machine where the bottom of the basket slides out. The items inside are gently dropped into a plastic bag while the customer pays the bill. (The Verge, Ubergizmo, WSJ, Tencent)
panasonic-checkout

Microsoft is making Cortana available to third-party device makers, and opening up the platform to third-party developers with Cortana’s new Skills Kit and Devices SDK,  so that they can integrate their own services in Cortana-powered devices. (TechCrunch, Windows, IT Home)

cortana-skills-kit

Microsoft plans to add Cortana support to Windows 10 IoT Core devices with screens as part of its Windows 10 Creators Update release.  (Phone Arena, ZDNet, MSDN, 163)

cortana-iot

Microsoft announced that in 2017 Samsung’s Harman Kardon will come out with a smart speaker that draws on Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant. (CN Beta, eWeek, VentureBeat, Digital Trends)

Samsung is partnering with Harman International Industries, which it acquires with USD8B, are investing throughout the small side of the automotive space. (Android Headlines, Digital Trends)

androidheadlines-samsung-invests-in-connected-car

Honda recently announced an undisclosed investment in Grab, a Southeast-Asian-based ride-hailing company. It is part of the USD750M funding. (TechNews, Business Insider, Reuters, TechCrunch)

citigps-carmaker-timeline-for-autonomous-car-development

Machina Research unveiled its 2016 ranking of global automotive manufacturers based on their connected vehicles systems. Mercedes, with its mbrace and Mercedes me systems, offers the most complete set of IoT features and solutions. BMW came second with Connected Drive, followed by GM, which was something of a trailblazer with OnStar. (Machina Research, press, IoT Now)

machinaresearch-connected-car-ranking

Mentor Automotive has identified 5 megatrends: Connected Car, Autonomous Drive, Electric Vehicles, Mobility on Demand, and Smart City. Automotive challenges fall under 3 categories: connected cars; ADAS and autonomous; and electric. Investment money is chasing the new automotive revenue pool, estimated by McKinsey as USD1.5T recurring additional revenues by 2030, from shared mobility and data-connectivity services. (Semiconductor Engineering, article)

mentorautomotive-connected-cars-tech-challenges

Kodak Relonch 291 is a self-described camera as a service — the user presses the button, the company’s artificial intelligence edits the best shots, discards the rest and even stores the fully edited shots. (Digital Trends, Relonch 291, CNET)

kodak-relonch-291

According to CB Insights data, over one-quarter (26%) of all US-based unicorns count an investor based in the Greater China Region (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong). These investors range from some of the largest internet companies in the world (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) to institutional investors and VCs (Hillhouse Capital and Horizons Ventures) to a host of others. (CB Insights, Yinhang123, Sohu)

cbinsights-percentage-us-uniconrns-with-greater-china

According to CB Insights, despite the dip in 3Q16, in-store tech deals and dollars are both still on track to hit all-time highs in 2016. To date, investors have poured USD648M into the sector across 140 deals — already more deals than took place throughout all of 2015. (CB Insights, press, 199IT)

cbinsights-in-store-tech-financing

The Scottish Cities Alliance, which is the collaboration of Scotland’s 7 cities and the Scottish Government, aims to use Smart City technology to transform cities into digital hubs to enable them to become more internationally competitive and boost economic growth. These projects are backed by a USD31M war chest. (Read/Write, Scottish Construction Now)

Logitech has revealed that they are introducing several AI-based smart features to the home security camera Circle including Person Detection, Motion Zones, Custom Day Briefs, and Extended storage, all of which will be available to users who subscribe to the Circle Safe Premium plan. (Ubergizmo, Logitech, 163)

logitech-circle-camera-person-detection

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said she plans to hire about 25,000 people in the US and invest USD1B over the next 4 years, laying out her vision for filling technology jobs in America. (CN Beta, USA Today, VentureBeat, Live-Mint)

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