02-18: South Korea Central District Court has approved an arrest warrant for the acting head of the Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee; Hon Hai Precision Industry and its subsidy Sharp have reportedly sped up plans to build a plant for the mass production of OLED displays; etc.

Chipsets

Recently global smartphone chipset vendors are facing a number of troubles: Qualcomm is being sued by FTC for anti-trust; MediaTek’s 1Q17 financial performance is disappointing, and expecting it will not turn around in 1H17; Spreadtrum’s future is still unknown. All these 3 big phone chipset vendors are going to be in turbulence in 2017. (Laoyaoba, Digitimes)

Qualcomm reportedly plans to release 3 new mid-range chipsets—Snapdragon 630, 635 and 660 in 2017. (Phone Arena, Android Guys, GizChina, BGR, Tencent)

digitimes-qualcomm-rumored-new-snapdragon

Intel continued to top all other chip companies in R&D expenditures in 2016 with spending that reached USD12.7B and represented 22.4% of its semiconductor sales in 2016. Intel accounted for 36% of the top-10 R&D spending and about 23% of the USD56.5B total worldwide semiconductor R&D expenditures in 2016, according to IC Insights. (IC Insights, press, Digitimes, Laoyaoba)

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China-based IC foundries, such as Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC), are evaluating plans to offer FD-SOI process technology since they are less competitive in the mainstream FinFET segment led by the world’s major pure-play foundries and IDMs including Intel, Samsung and TSMC, according to Digitimes. HLMC has disclosed plans to roll out advanced 28nm and 14nm FinFET processes. (Digitimes, press, Semi, OfWeek)

28nm has become challenge of China’s foundry next generation technology node. Including SMIC and Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC) has treated 27nm as their next challenge. SMIC expects to have its 28nm HKMG tape out in 2017. According to HLMC’s 3Q16 financial report, its 28nm revenue share is 1.4%, and in 4Q16 it has increased to 3.5%. (Digitimes, press)

Globalfoundries has said it will invest in increasing its manufacturing capacity both at existing wafer fabs and by building a 300mm wafer fab in China through a joint venture with the Chengdu Municipality to satisfy Chinese and global demand for company’s 22FDX 22nm fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) manufacturing process. (PR Newswire, Chip Design, Laoyaoba, AnandTech, EE Times)

Touch / Display

Hon Hai Precision Industry and its subsidy Sharp have reportedly sped up plans to build a plant for the mass production of OLED displays. Hon Hai and Sharp may build a new JPY100B (USD854M) OLED factory in Zhengzhou, China. The panels will be tailored specifically for Apple products. Sharp plant has pushed its schedule forward to ramp up production earlier than the previous target of 2019. (TechNews, CN Beta, China Post, LED Inside)

PMOLED panel demand is increasing thanks to the wearables, white goods, industrial, military and medical applications. This has caused a shortage supply in the market. China vendors including RiTdisplay and WiseChip enjoyed increase in revenues in 2016 with annual increase more than 30%. In 2017, it expects that both vendors will aim higher than 30% growth. (Laoyaoba, China Times)

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Glass and ceramics maker Corning Incorporated launched its G8.5 LCD glass substrate production line at the Liangjiang Shuitu High-tech Industrial Park, Chongqing, bringing new development in emerging industries to the Liangjiang New Area. (China Daily, Laoyaoba)

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Camera

Korean parts firms Samsung Electro-mechanics and LG Innotek’s profits have been buoyed by growing demand for dual camera phones in the global market. Dual camera phone sales will reach 300M units over the course of 2017, up by over 400% in comparison to 2016. (Android Authority, Korea Herald, Android Headlines)

koreaherald-dual-camera-benefits-korean-vendors

Memory

Recently, the latest development of 3D NAND memory R D projects jointly undertaken by the National Storage Base, the Yangtze River Storage Technology and the Institute of Microelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS). According the Yangtze River Storage CEO Steve Yang, 32-layer 3D NAND chip successfully passed the electrical characteristics of the indicators test, to achieve the desired requirements. (CN Beta, Sina, Cuisine Spirit)

Battery

Samsung has reportedly already contracted Sony to make batteries for its next-gen flagship smartphone. The other 2 suppliers are said to be Samsung SDI and Amperex Technology. (Android Headlines, Value Walk, WSJ, The Inquirer, 163, Sina)

An upcoming Apple iPhone is likely to have a customized wireless charging system made with Broadcom, according to JPMorgan analyst Harlan Sur. The wireless charging partnership between Apple and Broadcom has been going on for about 2 years. Sur said this feature may not come out on the next iPhone, because of caution around the battery-related recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7. CN Beta, 9to5Mac, Apple Insider, CNBC)

Connectivity

Following the liberalization of Japan’s low-voltage electricity market beginning 1 Apr 2016, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank, the 3 largest Japan-based mobile telecom carriers, have become retailers of electricity for households and small businesses in a bid to promote sales of value-added services using their ICT capabilities, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press)

SoftBank Group has agreed to buy Fortress Investment Group for about USD3.3B, looking to add investment expertise as it prepares to launch the world’s largest private equity fund. (CN Beta, Investopedia, Reuters)

Smartphones

Canalys estimates that for the full year 2016, China reached 476.5M unit shipments, growing year on year at 11.4%. This swept away the annual growth rate of 1.9% in 2015. China shipments reached 131.6M units in 4Q16, which is the highest single quarter total in history, accounting for nearly a third of worldwide shipments. (Canalys, press, Digitimes, 163)

canalys-china-smartphone-2016

Lenovo has posted its financial results for the quarter ending 31 Dec 2016 (FY3Q16). Lenovo netted USD12.2B in revenue, a decline of 6% on year. Net profit at USD98M was 67% less than the USD300M it posted this time last year, and a decrease of 37% on quarter. With 15M smartphones sold, Lenovo saw a 7% increase in sales on quarter to USD2.2M. Yet, sales declined by 26% YoY, and the mobile unit posted an operating loss of USD112M. Despite the downturn, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said that the mobile unit is a “core business,” and that it is on course to become profitable by the end of 2017. (Android Authority, Lenovo, Android Headlines, Android Authority, Laoyaoba)

South Korea Central District Court has approved an arrest warrant for the acting head of the Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee. Samsung is accused of funnelling USD37.31M to a business and several organizations backed by the president Park Geun-hye’s close friend Choi Soon-sil with the hope of her supporting the merger of two Samsung affiliates. (Apple Insider, CN Beta, Reuters, Forbes)

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MPEG LA, a provider of one-stop licenses for standards and other technology platforms, has announced that several patent owners in MPEG LA’s AVC Patent Portfolio License have filed patent enforcement actions in the Landgericht Dusseldorf, Germany against ZTE Deutschland and Huawei Technologies Deutschland for infringing patents essential to the AVC/H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10) digital video coding standard used in mobile devices and other products. (Elecfans, Sohu, Telecom Paper, Evertiq)

Google posts list of changes for Play Services 10.2, drops Gingerbread (Android 2.3x) and Honeycomb (Android 3.x) support and improves several APIs. (Android Authority, Google, Android Police, Laoyaoba, 163)

ZTE has officially cancelled its Kickstarter crowd sourced fund raising campaign for the launch of its Project CSX phone, also known by its code name Hawkeye. (Android Authority, Kickstarter)

Cowen & Company analyst Timothy Arcuri says Apple will see a slight drop in iPhone sales from 2016 for the next 2 quarters, but profits will be relatively unaffected because of the continued consumer interest in the iPhone 7 Plus. (Apple Insider, Apple World)

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Apple will in Apr 2017 begin manufacturing iPhone SE at a plant in Bengaluru, targeting final output at 300K~400K units. Apple’s partner Wistron is expected to handle iPhone SE assembly at its new facility in Karnataka. (GSM Arena, Reuters, Daily Mail, Apple Insider, Sina, iFeng)

Chinese mobile payments were nearly 50 times greater than those in the US in 2016, market data show, highlighting Chinese internet companies’ strong position in a market segment viewed as a gateway to the fintech ecosystem. (Financial Times, article, Laoyaoba)

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OUKITEL C5 is announced with anti-smash screen – 5” HD 2.5D curved display, MediaTek MT6737 processor, 5MP + 2MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 7.0, LTE, 2000mAh battery. (Android Headlines, GizChina)

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Tablets / PCs

Kodak announced that that it would license its brand to French multinational electronics firm Archos, for use in the European market. (Phone Arena, Neowin, Sohu, CNMO, CN Beta)

Wearables

Shipments of VR headsets totalled 300K units in China in 2016, making it the world’s second-largest market with a 15% share, according to Canalys. HTC shipped more than 50K units HTC Vive take the top spot in the China market with a 17.7% share. (Canalys, press, Digitimes, Game Dog, TechNews)

canalys-vr-china-2016

According to MIC, global VR HMD shipment in 2017 would reach 10.6M units, and value would expect to reach USD1.31B (8M shipped and USD930M value in 2016). MIC also concludes 3 main trends of VR market—software and hardware standards convergence, wireless development, and content deepening. (MIC, press, Laoyaoba)

Internet of Things

Production of drones for personal and commercial use is growing rapidly, with global market revenue expected to increase 34% to reach more than USD6B in 2017 and grow to more than USD11.2B by 2020, according to a new forecast from Gartner. Almost 3M drones will be produced in 2017, 39% more than in 2016. (Gartner, press, Laoyaoba)

gartner-2016-2017-drone

Faraday Future moved one step closer to restarting construction on its North Las Vegas site. The second phase of the Stage 1 manufacturing project at Faraday’s Apex site entered the competitive bidding process, the company announced. Faraday officials said they have 5 proposals from U.S. and international contractors and will continue the bidding process. (CN Beta, The Verge, Tweak Town, Las Vegas Sun)

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