12-15: Micron announced that the output of 3D NAND at its fabs has surpassed the output of 2D NAND in terms of bits; SK Hynix is reportedly preparing for mass-production of 1x DRAM; etc.

Chipset

SEMI reveals that 62 new Front End facilities will begin operation between 2017 and 2020. Between 2017 and 2020, China will see 26 facilities and lines beginning operation, about 42% of the worldwide total currently tracked by SEMI. 20 (32%) are forecast to be foundries, followed by 13 Memory (21%), seven LED (11%), 6 Power (10%) and 5 MEMS (8%). (SEMI, press, TechNews)

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United Microelectronics (UMC) says it will buy up to 8.9% stake in Best Elite International Limited at up to USD67.5B in total. (TechNews, Reuters)

According to Gartner, the semiconductor market has grown by 11.1% in the past 5 years, from USD301.5B in 2010 to USD334.8B in 2015. However, 12 companies of the top 20 customers in 2010 decreased their design total available market (TAM) in the past 5 years. Those semiconductor chip vendors that have grown with Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and Huawei have also significantly grown in the past 5 years, but many semiconductor chip vendors failed to grow soundly or declined their revenue, mainly due to the shrinkage of their most important customers. (Gartner, report)

gartner-top-20-tam-ww-2010-2015

These days, semiconductor business opportunities are emerging from completely new types of vendors, such as the internet giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook, as well as system integrators, engineering service providers and IT solution distributors. (Gartner, report)

gartner-new-type-of-customers-for-semi-chip-vendors

Touch / Display

Synaptics announced a new display driver IC for OLED-based smartphones. The new R66452 IC supports resolutions up to 1080×2160, HDR and 90Hz refresh-rate, which means that it can be used for VR OLEDs. (OLED-Info, Synaptics)

According to IHS Markit, in terms of sales of small and medium-sized flexible OLED screens, Samsung Display took the No. 1 spot for 3Q16 with a market share of 31.8%. Samsung Display also posted sales of USD3.66B in total in the small and medium-sized display market for 3Q16. It was the first time that quarterly sales of Samsung Display’s flexible OLED screens surpassed USD1B. (Korea Herald, Yonhap)

ihs-flexible-oled-market-2016-2020

Memory

Looking ahead to 2017, TrendForce forecasts that DRAM bit supply will expand by less than 20% annually. This growth rate will also be a new historical low for the industry. Assuming that there will be no significant weakening of demand, DRAM supply will generally remain tight next year. Thus, suppliers should continue to reap profits during the entire 2017 on account of rising prices. (TrendForce[cn], press, TechNews, TrendForce, press)

Micron announced that the output of 3D NAND at its fabs has surpassed the output of 2D NAND in terms of bits. Micron’s 2D MLC and TLC NAND devices made using 16nm process technology can store up to 128Gb of data, whereas the capacity of the company’s 3D NAND IC is 256Gb in MLC configuration and 384Gb in TLC configuration. (CN Beta, AnandTech)

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For Micron Technology, it is no longer meaningful to implement the “Inotera Memories model” in China, according to Mark Durcan, CEO for the US memory vendor. The so-called Inotera model sees Micron receive licensing fees and a portion of memory production capacity from partners which lack sufficient technology but are capable of scaling up output with huge capital. (Digitimes, press, Micron, EE Focus, Now News)

micron-ceo-mark-durcan

SK Hynix is reportedly preparing for mass-production of 1x DRAM, which has a project name of Alius. It already manufactured a prototype of wafer and is going through a final test for credibility of its product. Industries believe that technical gap between Samsung and SK Hynix is about 1 year and 6 months apart based on 2z DRAM. However if SK Hynix starts mass-producing 1x DRAMs in 2Q17, this gap will be narrowed to about 1 year and 3 months. (TechNews, ET News)

Camera

InvenSense, a provider of MEMS sensors, has announced its electronic image stabilization (EIS) solution adopted for the recently-released OPPO R9S and R9S Plus smartphones. InvenSense says the combination of both EIS hardware and software allows smartphones to capture HD video at a lower frame rate, which can reduce the file size by up to 50% on average. (Digitimes, press, Enhanced Online News, Motley Fool, TaiAn)

Battery

Dialog Semiconductor (who makes power management chips) recently invested USD10M into wireless charging solution developer Energous, and it will see future Energous technology produced under the Dialog branding. As much as 75% of Dialog’s business is reportedly with Apple. (Fast Company, Energous, Ubergizmo, 163, ZOL)

Sensory

China’s Harbin Institute of Technology has created an array of hair-like sensors that protrude up from an elastic skin. Made to replicate the fine body hair on natural skin, the tiny sensors are made from pressure-sensitive, glass-coated, cobalt-based microwires. (CN Beta, New Atlas, ACS)

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Biometrics

Gartner forecasts that by 2019, 1B people will use biometric authentication without a password to access apps and services. By 2016, more than 20% of unit sales of non-iOS smartphones in China will come with fingerprint sensors. By year-end 2019, an installed base of 1.5B mobile phones will have a fingerprint sensor. (Gartner report)

Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy S8 rumored to be the first handset to feature Bluetooth 5. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) recently announced that the latest Bluetooth 5 standard has been adopted. Improvements over the older 4.2 standard include four times the range, two times the speed, and eight times the message capacity. (CN Beta, Tech Spot, Sam Mobile)

Smartphones

According to Gartner, Apple still has the strongest IT brand among brand users and the least negative feedback among all consumers that have heard of the brand. However, it is a premium brand, and not everybody can afford it, as 36% of consumers would not recommend it because its prices are too high. Samsung is the only other brand with a positive NPS among users, but many consumers think that other brands offer better value. (Gartner report)

gartner-nps-leading-it-consumer-device-brands

Panasonic P88 is announced in India – 5.3” HD IPS LCD display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 6.0, LTE (VoLTE), dual-SIM, 2600mAh battery, INR9290. (GSM Arena, Fonearena)

panasonic-p88

ZTE nubia Z11 and N1 are announced in India: Z11 – 5.5” FHD 2.5D curved display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 16MP PDAF / OIS + 8MP cameras, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, 3000mAh battery, INR29,999. N1 – 5.5” FHD LTPS IPS LCD display, MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 processor, 13MP PDAF + 13MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 5000mAh battery, INR11,999. (GizChina, PC Mag, Tech2)

zte-nubia-z11 zte-nubia-n1

Lenovo K6 Note is announced in India for offline market only – 5.5” FHD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, 16MP PDAF + 8MP cameras, 3 / 4GB RAM, 32 / 64GB ROM, Android 6.0, LTE (VoLTE), 4000mAh battery, from INR13,999. (GizChina, The Mobile Indian, Economic Times)

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Tablets / PCs

Fujitsu president Tatsuya Tanaka indicates that the company planned to ink agreement with Lenovo Group for merging PC service before 31 Mar. 2017. Lenovo Group may retain Fujitsu brand after the merger. PC service under Fujitsu has been trapped in predicament in recent years. (TechNews, Asia Nikkei, Sohu, 4-Traders)

Wearables

50% of the people who try a virtual reality (VR) headset say they intend to buy a VR headset. But just 15% actually do, according to new market research from Parks Associates. The Oculus Rift was the best-known of the brands, recognized by about 4.5% of respondents, followed by the Samsung Gear VR, PlayStation VR and Google Cardboard at around 3% each. (199IT, Telecompetitor, Rapid TV News, Hypergrid Business, Park Associates, press)

parkassociates-familiarity-with-vr-ar parkassociates-familiarity-with-vr-brands parkassociates-user-experience-of-vr-headsets

Pebble developer Jon Barlow has assured fans that Fitbit will keep Pebble smartwatches running through 2017. Pebble’s apps, app store, firmware and API, among other services, will remain accessible in 2017. (Engadget, Pebble)

Internet of Things

Uber is launching a new self-driving car pilot in San Francisco. The cars tackling San Francisco’s streets are brand new and a landmark for the company. (TechNews, Business Insider)

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According to Gartner, By 2020, 726M people, or 9% of the global population, will be 65 years of age and older. The 5% would equate to 36M adults having a healthcare and companion personal assistant robot. (Gartner report)

Virtual personal assistant (VPA) enabled wireless speakers form a new device category. Gartner forecasts that end-user spending will reach more than USD2.1B in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 43% from 2015 through 2020. By 2020, 3.3% of global households will have adopted a VPA-enabled wireless speaker. (Gartner, report)

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Commerce

According to Gartner, people are using technology 24/7, and by 2019 they will be spending at least USD2.6T on personal devices, apps, services and content. (Gartner report)

gartner-how-personal-tech-spending-is-spread

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