01-14: Apologize for the absence yesterday – Qualcomm Snapdragon shipments largely increased in 1Q17 due to design wins from vivo and OPPO; Xiaomi to achieve CNY100B in revenues in 2017; etc.

Chipsets

TSMC’s chairman Morris Chang has said the company has not ruled out building a wafer fab in the US in response to US president-elect Donald Trump’s plans to bring manufacturing back to the US. Nevertheless, for TSMC and its customers, fabricating chips in the US “may not necessarily be a good thing,” said Chang. (Phone Arena, Digitimes, press, 52RD, Elecfans, TechNews)

chinatimes-tsmc-morris-chang

Rosenblatt Securities’s Jun Zhang believes Qualcomm Snapdragon shipments largely increased in 1Q17 due to design wins from vivo and OPPO. They expect Qualcomm to ship around 28M Snapdragon 825 units in Mar. 2017 in China versus 8M in Mar. of 2016. They also expect Qualcomm’s market share in China to grow from 50% in 2016 to 65% in 2017 with share gains in OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi and Meizu, with stable market share in Samsung but a chance to grow market share in Apple iPhone 8. (TechNews, Barron’s, blog)

IC Insights forecasts that the 2016-2021 pure-play IC foundry market will increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.6%; growing from USD50.0B in 2016 to USD72.1B in 2021. TSMC held a 59% market share in 2016, the same as in 2015, and its sales increased by USD2.9B in 2016.  GlobalFoundries, UMC, and SMIC’s combined share was 26% in 2016, the same as in 2015. (IC Insights, press, Laoyaoba)

icinsights-top-10-pure-play-foundry

Touch / Display

From a leaked Samsung Galaxy S8 render picture, a typical physical Home button has been replaced by Samsung’s logo. Also, rumor has it standard version of Galaxy S8 will not feature dual-camera. (The Droid Soul, GSM Arena, Leikeji, TechWeb)

samsung-galaxy-s8-no-home-button

LG Display is reportedly planning to supply its LCDs for TVs to Samsung Electronics as it is leaning towards accepting requests from Samsung Electronics. (TechNews, ET News)

Nokia has been granted a patent for a “Foldable device” by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). It shows a single flexible display that bends when the two sides of the device are closed. (Android Headlines, IB Times, USPTO, TechWeb, NBD)

nokia-folding-device

About 9M curved-surface LCD TVs were sold globally in 2016, 2.25 times the sales volume in 2015, according to TFT-LCD panel maker AU Optronics (AUO). (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba, ZNDS)

Memory

SMIC and Crossbar, the RRAM (Resistive Random Access Memory) technology leader, jointly announced in Mar. 2017 that they had signed a strategic partnership agreement on non-volatile RRAM development and production. Now Crossbar is using a 40nm CMOS process and is sampling to SMIC customers. (CN Beta, EE Times, PR Newswire)

crossbar-smic-reram

Battery

By the end of May 2016, Intel suddenly abandoned its wireless charging business. Haier Wireless on 12 Jan. 2017 announced that it will invest in the former Intel wireless charging technology team Suzhou Xuelong Electronics (Xair). (Laoyaoba, My Drivers)

haier-xair

Connectivity

Jefferies cut its estimates for postpaid net adds in 4Q16 for both Verizon and AT&T, citing increased competition during the holiday quarter that likely spurred increased churn. Verizon likely added 786,000 net postpaid customers during the quarter, down from a previous estimate of 943,000, although Jefferies maintained its postpaid churn prediction of 1.03%. Jefferies also ratcheted down its estimated upgrade rate for T-Mobile to 8% from 8.3%, but raised predicted EBITDA service margins to 55.3%, up slightly from the previous 54.9%. (Android Headlines, Phone Arena, Fierce Wireless)

Smartphones

Xiaomi reportedly will not reveal 2016 smartphone sales figures, a previous company tradition. Xiaomi revealed in Jan. 2016 that in 2016 they have sold “over 70 million” devices in 2015. The news arrives as Xiaomi’s CEO and co-founder Lei Jung admits the company grew “too fast”. (Android Authority, TechCrunch, TechWeb, China Times)

Xiaomi has announced will focus on “black tech” (i.e., advanced technologies), new retail, going international, AI, and finance technology (fintech) 5 main strategic areas, and aiming to achieve more than CNY100B (USD14.5B) in revenues.

xiaomi-2017-target

Music streaming service Pandora is cutting 7% of its workforce by the end of 1Q17. It had 2,219 employees as of the end of 2015, meaning the job cuts will eliminate about 155 positions. Pandora said it expects to exceed previously announced guidance for 4Q16. (CN Beta, CNET, Business Insider)

Worldwide net revenue for apps in the App Store, excluding games, moved from USD3.4B in 4Q15 to USD5.4B for 4Q16, according to Sensor Tower. While the data suggests that Google Play is catching up, with a year-on-year increase of 82% to USD3.3B, the App Store continues to generate the lion’s share of the USD8.7B overall revenue. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, Tech Portal, Sensor Tower)

sensortower-app-4q16

Android creator, Andy Rubin, is preparing to reveal a company that will field a high-end smartphone with a bezel-free screen, ceramic back, and a heavy focus on AI. He will soon announce a firm called Essential. (CN Beta, Engadget, Bloomberg, Apple Insider, Daily Mail)

android-creator-andy-rubin-essential

Looking back in 2016, Meizu has organized 11 events, invited 12 groups of performers, and launched 14 products. Meizu VP Li Nan indicates that Meizu’s 2017 motto is to focus on making products and to market with honesty. (CN Beta, ZOL, Kejixun, My Drivers, Gizmo China)

meizu-2017-strategy

It is rumored that China smartphone demand is slowing down. Huawei, OPPO and vivo has lower their orders for 1Q17, especially for OPPO, the decrease rate is about 30%. (Laoyaoba, Twoeggz)

laoyaoba-china-vendors-adjust-1q17

Chialin Chang, HTC president of Global Sales has pointed out that the company hopes the smartphones U series will have better sales performance than the company’s M series devices. In the future, U series will become the flagship models, while its Desire series will target the mid-range to low-end market segments. (Digitimes, press, IT168)

HTC announces U Ultra and U Play, with HTC’s new AI assistant, HTC Sense Companion and Android 7.0: U Ultra – 5.7” QHD Super LCD sapphire glass display + 2nd 2” display on top , Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 12MP UltraPixel PDAF + 16MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64 / 128GB storage, 3000mAh battery, USD749. U Play – 5.2” FHD Super LCD display, MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 processor, 16MP OIS PDAF + 16MP cameras, 3 / 4GB RAM, 32 / 64GB storage, 2500mAh battery. (Android Authority, Android Central, Yahoo, Gadgetstouse, NDTV, HTC, Gizmo China, PC Mag)

htc-u-ultra htc-u-play

Huawei P8 Lite (2017) is announced for EU markets – 5.2” FHD IPS display, Huawei Kirin 655 processor, 12MP + 8MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 7.0, 3000mAh battery, EUR239. (GSM Arena, Mobile Geeks)

huawei-p8-lite-2017

Tablets

Panasonic rugged tablet Toughpad FZ-A2 is launched – 10.1” 1920×1200 IPS display, Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor, 8MP + 2MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 6.0, USB Type-C, IP65 certified, from USD2,189. (GSM Arena, Panasonic, Android Authority)

panasonic-toughpad-fz-2

Wearables

In Dec. 2016, Fitbit approached Jawbone with an interest in acquiring the struggling manufacturer’s assets, including its intellectual property. At the start of 2016, Jawbone was valued at an estimated USD1.5B, and Fitbit is said to have offered only a “tiny fraction” of the figure, a number Jawbone refused. (Apple Insider, Financial Times, Android Headlines, 163)

Samsung is expressing its will to develop “wearable healthcare devices” as its new business item for the future instead of robots that LG and other rivals are paying attention to. It is said that wearable devices which can utilize the strengths of AI software more effectively are more suited for the future health care market than the hardware roles of robots due to aging society. (Ubergizmo, Business Korea, Yesky)

Guido Voltolina, Nokia’s Head of Virtual Reality Capture, says he is optimistic about the increasing quality of both VR cameras and available VR experiences in film. (Android Headlines)

According to Nikkei, in 2017 there will be at least 130 software apps that make use of Tango AR technology, for house / interior decoration, which will drive the AR / VR market for smartphones. (Laoyaoba, KK News, Digitimes)

Internet of Things

Karhoo — a failed on-demand offering that aggregated drivers and ride options from hundreds of existing fleets of car services in an Uber-like app — has been brought out of administration. It will be relaunched with full financial backing from RCI Bank and Services, the financial services division of the car giant Renault. (Engadget, Renault, TechCrunch, RCIB, CN Beta)

Microsoft has announced the acquisition of a Montreal-based startup named Maluuba. The acquisition seems to revolve around Maluuba’s natural language work. (CN Beta, SlashGear, Business Insider)

microsoft-acquires-maluuba

Shareholders of US auto parts maker Harman have filed a class action suit against the firm’s CEO Dinesh Paliwal and board, opposing its USD8B merger with Samsung Electronics. (ZDNet, Android Headlines, Sohu, Sina)

Smart speakers are an increasingly important anchor for virtual assistants in the smart home, and expected to grow to a base of 45M units by the end of 2020, IHS Markit says. The long-term platform battle in this market is expected to be between Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. IHS Markit expects that though Google’s ecosystem will help it eventually prevail, the affordability-based success of Amazon’s Echo Dot is a competitive challenge Google will need to address to succeed. (IHS Markit, press)

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