02-05 Happy Back-to-Work: Phone industry has “cost-up” trend in 2017; Apple will soon begin assembling iPhone in India from Apr 2017; etc.


MediaTek has teamed up with CMOS image sensor supplier Pixart Imaging to roll out 3D tracking and gesture controller solutions utilizing MediaTek’s MT8665-series SoC chip and Pixart’s PAJ7620U2-series integrated gesture recognition sensor. (Digitimes, press, China Times)


The global semiconductor industry posted sales of USD338.9B in 2016, the highest-ever annual sales, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The semiconductor sales for 2016 represented a modest increase of 1.1% compared to the 2015 total, said SIA. The global semiconductor industry posted sales of USD31B in Dec 2016, flat on month but 12.3% higher than year-ago levels. (SIA, press, Digitimes, EEPW, EE World)


AMD filed a legal complaint with International Trade Commission (ITC) against LG, MediaTek, Vizio (acquired by LeEco), and Sigma-Aldrich, accusing them of infringing its patents covering graphics processing technologies. (Laoyaoba, Android Police, AnandTech, ITC)

Intel has further detailed their Lake Crest chip that will be aiming at the deep neural network (DNN) sector. The new chip will be based around the Nervana platform. Intel Lake Crest chips will feature unprecedented amount of compute density, 32GB of HBM2 memory and 8Tbps ,emory access speeds. (Laoyaoba, WCCFTech, Yahoo)


Touch / Display

Taiwan-based makers together shipped 312.94M small- to medium-size (below 9”) TFT-LCD panels in 4Q16, increasing 1.0% on quarter and 10.2% on year, according to Digitimes Research. Shipments in the 1Q17 are forecast at 250.77M units. (Laoyaoba, Digitimes, press)


Sharp, a major supplier of LCD panels to Apple, raised its operating profit forecast to JPY37.3B (USD329.85M) for the year ending in Mar 2017 from an earlier forecast of JPY25.7B. Net profit was JPY4.2B for Oct-Dec 2016, compared with a JPY24.7B loss in the same period a year earlier. It was the first profit on a net basis since Jul-Sept 2014. (Reuters, Apple Insider, Yahoo, 163)

Seven China-based panel makers have been expanding existing or setting up new AMOLED production capacities, with total annual capacity estimated to increase from 272Km2 in 2016 to 1.584Mm2 in 2018, 4.464Mm2 in 2019, and 7.864Mm2 in 2020 at a 2016-2020 CAGR of 131.9%, according to Digitimes Research. (Digitimes, press)


Samsung Display is talking with the government of Bac Ninh Province, northern Vietnam, about an additional investment of USD2.5B to expand a factory of AMOLED modules there. The talk is focusing on administrative support and tax incentives to be offered by the provincial government and the plan for additional investment is likely to be finalized as soon as in 1Q17. (Digitimes, press, Vietnam Breaking News)

According to CINNO Research, global feature phone LCD shipment in 2016 reached 840M units, a 14.2% decline on year, which is lower than 16.8% decline rate in 2015. The feature phone LCD shipment is 28.6% of overall mobile phone panels shipment, which is a 6.6% decline on year. Top 3 vendors still are Century, Hannstar and CPT, with Century leading the segment. (199IT, Laoyaoba)



DRAM spot market prices have risen to an 18-month high, with prices for 4Gb DDR4 chips reaching USD3.347, according to DRAMeXchange. Spot prices for 4Gb DDR4 chips have soared USD0.51, or 18%, since 2017. Prices came to USD3.347 during the morning session of 3 Feb 2017, the highest since 30 Jul 2015. (Digitimes, press, China Times)


MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has been experimenting with Samsung Simband — a non-commercial concept wrist-worn health device – in an attempt to detect the conversational tones of speakers. If effective, such technologies can benefit people with conditions like Asperger’s, who have difficulty detecting social cues. (TechCrunch, MIT, Tencent)



Yole Développement expects CAGR should reach 19% from 2016 to 2022 in volume into the consumer field of fingerprint market. Combined with a fast decreasing ASP due to a strong competitive landscape, a process optimization and numerous emerging technologies, the fingerprint market explodes, especially within the smartphone market: this market segment is increasing from USD2.8B in 2016 to USD3.4B in 2022. (CN Beta, EPS News, Biometric Update, Yole, press)



Samsung Electronics is discussing a supply deal with Japan’s Murata Manufacturing for batteries for its Galaxy S8 smartphones. (Laoyaoba, Reuters, AA Stock)

Samsung Galaxy S8 is entering mass production, and reportedly its battery will be supplied by Samsung SDI. Only when demand is higher than expectation, it will use 2nd source. (Laoyaoba, IT Home, Tencent)


Priyank Kharge, the IT minister for the Indian state of Karnataka, has said that Apple will soon begin assembling iPhones in the country. Kharge said that manufacturing will begin in state capital Bangalore, officially known as Bengalaru, by end of Apr 2017. (GSM Arena, Bloomberg, India Times, WSJ, The Verge, ZOL, 163)

Apple’s service segment has been on a robust growth path for quite some time, with revenue here growing 10% in the company’s fiscal year 2015 and then a whopping 22% in fiscal year 2016. In the company’s most recent quarter, it reported that services revenue was up another 18% year-over-year. (CN Beta, Motley Fool)

Taiwan-based IC and handset component suppliers reportedly have landed short lead-time orders from China-based smartphone vendor OPPO after the company recently raised its smartphone shipment target for the first quarter of 2017 to 30-32M units from 28-30M units set previously. (Digitimes, press, Huanqiu, Antutu)

Huawei consumer business group leader Richard Yu indicates that currently there are about 500 country-level cities nationwide, 2100 province-level cities, and 40,00 rural-level cities. In 2016 the company retails has covered half of the province-level cities, but this is not enough. In 2017, the company aims to cover near 2000 province-level cities. (Laoyoaba, 163, Kejixun)

Xiaomi India head Manu Jain indicates that Xiaomi has crossed the USD1B revenue mark in India in 2016, is hopeful of launching products in 3 to 4 new categories in 2017, and they will be customised for the market. (India Times, Laoyaoba, Tencent)


Entering 2017, currency devaluation and component cost-up causing the increase of prices of a number of mid-to-low segment mobile phones. It worries the market on the mobile phone performance in 2017. OnePlus CEO Liu Zhuohu indicates that the main theme of 2017 mobile phone industry is “cost up”.  (ZOL, TechWeb, Sohu, 163)



Super Data estimates the market size of virtual reality in 2016, suggesting 6.3M VR headsets were shipped in 2016. It estimates 4.5M Gear Samsung VRs were sold through in 2016. Clocking in at number 2 on the list is the Sony PlayStation VR with sales “approaching 1M” by the end of 2016. This leaves Oculus, Google and HTC to split about 1M units. HTC’s Vive edged out Facebook’s Rift selling “more than 400K at its USD800 price point.” (UploadVR, VentureBeat, CN Beta, Super Data, report)


Digi-Capital recorded VCs and corporate investors pouring USD2.3B into VR/AR startups in 2016, or over 3 times the USD700+M invested in 2015. 300% investment growth in 12 months is impressive in any sector, let alone such an early stage market. (Digi-Capital, blog, HiAPK, Baidu VR)


The potential growth of VR / AR will not be realized until there is more content available. People are not jumping to buy VR headsets and, despite the efforts of some vendors promoting them and bundling them with other devices, the sales of headsets and other VR devices has been slow. While VR headsets hold tremendous potential, only 12M were sold in 2016, mostly inexpensive units to use with smartphones. (EE Times, article)


Internet of Things

Perch, makers of the clever do-it-yourself home monitoring software that repurposes old smartphones as security cameras, announced it has been acquired by Samsung Electronics. (Android Authority, Phandroid, Perch)


According to European Automobile Manufacturers Association, European car sales rose 6.5% to 15.1M in 2016 — a 9-year high — as demand was propelled by growth across the region’s key markets. (Auto News, TechNews, Bloomberg, Detroit News, The Star, ACEA press)


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