02-16: Apple is reportedly evaluating BOE’s AMOLED panels; AUO indicates panel demand is expected to outstrip supply in 2017; etc.

Chipsets

ParkerVision announced that its wholly-owned German subsidiary, ParkerVision GmbH, has amended its complaint against Apple adding the infringement of the German part of European Patent 1 135 853. This amended complaint also expands the accused products to include the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus which use Intel’s PMB5750 transceiver chip, which is based on Intel’s SMARTi architecture.  (Laoyaoba, 4-Traders, NASDAQ, Street Insider)

Xiaomi is rumored cancelling its MediaTek Helio X30 project. If it is true, this might impact TSMC’s 10nm process orders. (Laoyaoba, 52RD, Sohu, UDN)

udn-mediatek-helio-x30

Touch / Display

While Apple has not yet decided if it will partner with BOE on a next-generation iPhone display, it is already evaluating the Chinese manufacturer’s AMOLED panels. Apple currently sources its LCD panels from Japan Display, LG, Samsung and Sharp. ZOL, Apple Insider, Bloomberg, iFeng, 163)

KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo said the full-screen design will allow Apple to integrate a “function” area never seen in an iPhone. The device is expected to adopt a 5.8” OLED panel. The actual active display area on “iPhone 8” will be closer to 5.15” on the diagonal, with the remaining bottom portion dedicated to system functions like virtual buttons. (Apple Insider, TechNews, 163, iFeng)

kgisecurities-new-iphone-2017

AUO Chairman Paul Peng said that 2016 was a dramatic year for the global flat panel business, with a weak 1Q16 followed by a recovery that started in 2Q16 and reached a high in 4Q16. Peng said that although the global flat panel business is in the process of increasing production capacity, demand is expected to outstrip supply in 2017, adding that he remained bullish on market conditions this year. (Laoyaoba, UDN, Focus Taiwan)

AU Optronics (AUO) has set aside a capital expenditure budget of NTD55.0B (USD1.77B) for 2017, NTD10.0B-15.0B of which will be used to expand monthly production capacity at an 8.5G TFT-LCD factory in central Taiwan by 25,000-30,000 glass substrates. The additional capacity is scheduled to come into operation in 2H18. (Digitimes, press, Glass.com)

Memory

Toshiba is expected to announce a massive write-down, perhaps as big as USD6.1B, to cover cost overruns at Westinghouse, which now owns most of Shaw Group’s assets. Toshiba to put up for sale a significant stake in its prized flash-memory business. Toshiba had to sell off other assets last year following a 2015 accounting scandal. (Android Authority, Reuters, Washington Post, Bloomberg, IT Time)

NOR flash memory prices are set to grow 5-10% in 1Q17, and will likely rise through the end of the year, according to Macronix International president CY Lu. The price rally has been driven by higher demand coupled with stagnant supply, said Lu, adding that there is no reason to worry prices will fall in 2017. The supply of NOR flash chips has already been tight since 4Q16. (Digitimes, press, FM5)

macronix-president-lu

Peak season demand and surging prices for DRAM products across different applications resulted in an 18.2% sequential growth in the global DRAM revenue for 4Q16, reports DRAMeXchange. Samsung managed to achieve a 12% sequential growth in 4Q16, totaling USD5.9B and taking 47.5% of the global DRAM market. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, Digitimes)

trendforce-2016-dram

Connectivity

Globally recognized telecom operators Huawei, Vodafone and Qualcomm have worked together on a project in Turkey to create what is claimed as the world’s first network ready to use License Assisted Access (LAA) technology, based on the 3GPP R13 standard. (Laoyaoba, India Times, Voice & Data, Total Telecom)

Smartphones

OPPO managed to ramp up its smartphone shipments by 132.9% on year to 99.4M units in 2016, accounting for a 7.3% share globally, according to IDC. IHS Technology said OPPO has set a target of 160M units for 2017, representing an increase of nearly 61% from a year earlier. However, other sources indicated that OPPO is likely to ramp up its shipments by 20-21% to 120M units in 2017. (Digitimes, press, GSM Arena, 163)

According to IDC, India registered 109.1M units of smartphone shipments with a marginal 5.2% annual growth in 2016. In 4Q16, smartphone shipments clocked 25.8M units, registering similar volumes as that of 4Q15 but declining sharply by 20.3% over the previous quarter. (IDC, press, Android Headlines, CNMO, OfWeek)

idc-2016-phone-india idc-2016-smartphone-india

Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 432M units in 4Q16, a 7% increase over 4Q15, according to Gartner. The 4Q16 saw Apple leapfrog past Samsung to secure the No. 1 global smartphone vendor. In 2016 overall, smartphone sales to end users totaled nearly 1.5B units, an increase of 5% from 2015. (CN Beta, Gartner, press)

gartner-4q16-smartphone gartner-2016-smartphone

ZTE said it is negotiating to settle trade restrictions imposed by U.S. authorities. The U.S. Department of Commerce slapped yearlong export curbs on ZTE back in Mar 2016 over suspected violations of sanctions against Iran. It subsequently granted temporary reprieves, but the punishment is still hanging over the company. (CN Beta, Asia Nikkei, Reuters)

zte-us-communication

BlackBerry has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Nokia Oyj, demanding royalties on the Finnish company’s mobile network products that use an industry-wide technology standard. Nokia’s products including its Flexi Multiradio base stations, radio network controllers and Liquid Radio software are using technology covered by as many as 11 patents. (CN Beta, Bloomberg)

Huawei could be developing their own virtual assistant geared towards their home market, China. (Android Headlines, Android Authority, Bloomberg, CN Beta)

India Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with with Foxconn recently. After the meeting, the minister announced that Foxconn had confirmed its commitment to the area, despite some significant delays in selecting a parcel of land. (Apple Insider, Hindu Business Line, CN Beta)

Apple CFO Luca Maestri warned that a “border tax” on imports could hurt American consumers and stall the economy. Maestri noted that even if Apple assembled more of its products in the U.S., huge parts of the supply chain are located overseas. It would be extremely costly for Apple and all its suppliers to relocate the bulk of their manufacturing to the U.S. (The Verge, Apple, Bloomberg, Yahoo, Laoyaoba, iFeng, Huanqiu)

apple-cfo-luca

HTC has announced that the company will be excluding the entry level segment from their smartphone business this year in order to focus on high-margin, high-profit devices. HTC’s president of smartphone and connected devices Chia-Lin Chang described the market as being “ultra-competitive” and lacking a “profitability perspective.” (Android Headlines, Fudzilla, Phone Arena, HTC, HTC Source, Hexun)

After Meizu (m series) and Xiaomi (Redmi), 2 more smartphone brands to increase their selling prices, which are 360 Mobile and ZTE (nubia). (Laoyaoba, Sina, CN Stock)

nubia-price-up

Xiaomi’s India Head Manu Jain said Xiaomi had in Mar- Apr 2016 applied to the government for single brand retail license under the category of cutting edge technology, and expects to get the license in a few months. (CN Beta, Indian Express)

Meizu M5s is official – 5.2” HD IPS LCD display, MediaTek MT6753 processor, 13MP PDAF + 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 16 / 32GB storage, LTE (VoLTE), dual-SIM, mTouch finger sensor, 3000mAh battery, from CNY799. (GSM Arena, Meizu, Gizmo China)

meizu-m5s

Tablets / PCs

TrendForce reports annual tablet shipments worldwide posted a decline for 2016, dropping 6.6% to 157.4M units. However, total shipments from branded tablet vendors surpassed expectations because of the robust year-end holiday sales. Global Apple iPad shipments for 2016 totaled 42.55M units, representing an annual decline of 14.1%. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, TechNews)

trendforce-2016-2017-tablet

Wearables

Xiaomi Mituwatch (or Xiaomi Mi Bunny Kids Smartwatch) is announced specifically for younger users. It features a 1.44” display supporting modular touch interface to meet kid’s nature more, along with water-proof, food-grade silicone straps for maximum safety. It is priced at CNY179. (GizChina, Xiaomi Today, TechWeb, Huanqiu)

xiaomi-child-wristwatch

Proponents have heralded virtual reality (VR), as the next big step in computing. But while VR goggles that rely on smartphones have sold well, sales of costlier headsets that tether to powerful computers or videogame machines have not lived up to the hype. That has prompted some developers to reconsider VR. (CN Beta, WSJ)

superdata-wsj-vr-market

Currently there are more than 90% consumers in China purchase VR device that cost less than CNY100, and these devices are actually manufactured at small factories in Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen, with costs at the lowest at CNY10. Some start-ups even purchase VR devices from these small factories, and put on their brands. The market is fill with fierce competitive at price, clones, and greedy supply chain. (Beijing News, article, 163, CN Beta)

huaqiang-north-cheap-vr-bad-market

Goldman Sachs’ Simona Jankowski mentioned that industry datapoints indicate “the inclusion of 3D sensing functionality is increasingly likely, which could enable a robust AR feature set that we believe will be a key differentiator for Apple’s 10-year anniversary iPhone.” (Ubergizmo, Benzinga, Apple Insider, Street Insider, TechNews, CRI Online)

HTC’s CFO, Chia-lin Chang stated that a new mobile VR product the company is working on is “not a phone slapped onto a headset.” He added that whatever this device is, HTC plans to launch it before the end of 2017. (Android Authority, CNET, Phone Arena, The Verge, Sina, Tencent)

Internet of Things

Smart, a subsidiary of Daimlerchrysler, has announced that starting in 2018 all of its vehicles sold in North America will be of the electric variety. The company plans to stop selling the gas-powered Fortwo and Fortwo Cabrio in the US and Canada at the end of the 2017 model year. (Engadget, Auto News, iFeng, 36Kr)

smart-na-all-electric

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