02-20: LG Display is constructing a 10.5G TFT-LCD factory; GfK indicates in 2017 mobile phone vendors are facing pressure of making profits; etc.

Touch Display

LG Display is constructing a 10.5G TFT-LCD factory with monthly production capacity of 60K glass substrates in Paju City, north-western South Korea, with the first phase to kick off in Feb 2018. The factory aims to cope with competition from BOE and China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT), which will begin production at a 10.5G TFT-LCD factory in China in the third quarter of 2018 and an 11G one in China in 2019. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

Camera

LG has released another teaser promoting the upcoming G6 smartphone, this one focusing on the dual-camera setup on the back of the phone. LG confirmed that the G6 would come with a 13MP dual-camera setup and a front-facing shooter with a 100° field of view. (Softpedia, LG, CN Beta)

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Biometrics

Birmingham State University have been running trials using fitness-tracker-recorded heart rhythms, and have found this to be an effective way to authenticate someone. In fact they believe it could be one of the best-suited systems for unlocking personal medical data, especially in the future when we send much more information to our doctors on a regular basis using fitness trackers. (Digital Trends, Computer World, ZOL)

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Apple has acquired RealFace, an Israeli startup that developed deep learning-based face authentication technology. (Ubergizmo, Engadget, DoNews, ChinaZ, Apple Insider, Times of Israel)

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Connectivity

Softbank still has goals of a Sprint / T-Mobile merger becoming a valid number 3 carrier in the U.S. and it has a novel way of getting it to happen this time: giving control of Sprint to Deutsche Telekom and becoming a minor partner in a new combined network. (Android Central, CNBC, 163)

Samsung Electronics announced the commercial readiness of its 5G RF Integrated Circuit (RFIC) – a key component in the production and commercialization of next-generation base station and other radio access products. (CN Beta, Samsung)

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Smartphones

Apple is reportedly re-adjusting the costs with its supply chain after managing its inventory in 1Q17. Apple hopes to reduce cost by 10%~20%, including panel vendors Sharp, LGD, JDI; touch panel vendors TPK-KY, GIS-KY; camera vendors Genius Electronic Optical (GSEO); and speakers vendors MERRY Corp. (CN Beta, UDN, KK News, Feng)

The first quarter is normally an off-season to electronic components, but in 2017 thanks to the demands from Chinese smartphone vendors, Japanese component vendors could perform rather well. Bank of Japan branch manager Miyano Hiroshi said that because of evolution of China smartphones towards high-performance, it helps the Japanese component vendors not suffering from a huge drop in 1Q17. (52RD, OfWeek, Laoyaoba, ChinaFPD, Reuters)

1Q17 is when old products are being replaced by new products for launch, causing an off-season in China smartphone market. Additionally, emerging market demand is influenced by strong US dollar, and 3G / entry-4G smartphone orders are deliberately hidden, new products will not ramp up until 2Q17, thus, in 1Q17, the performance of the market is rather disappointing. (Laoyaoba, Digitimes)

GSMA Intelligence is today publishing the first edition of its Global Mobile Engagement Index (GMEI). The GMEI measures the level of engagement of smartphone and non-smartphone users across a wide array of use cases and services. The country with highest engagement score is South Korea, follows by Qatar. United States is ranked at third. (GSMA, report, data, CN Beta)

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GMEI splits users into 4 tiers: aficionados (the most engaged); pragmatists; networkers; and talkers (the least engaged). The last group, which uses devices for voice and text services, made up 47% of adult mobile phone owners in 2016. (Mobile World Live, GSMA, report, data, CN Beta)

gsma-intelligence-consumer-segments

According to GfK, in 2017 mobile phone vendors are facing pressure of making profits. The costs have increased, which is causing a lot of pressures to vendors, and at the end, the consumers are the ones to consume the costs. The BOM cost of a mobile phone include main processor, display and TP, front and rear cameras, ROM / RAM, which constitutes 50%-70% of the whole BOM. (CN Beta, iFeng, CC Time)

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According to TalkingData, in 2016 China smartphone market size has reached 1.37B units, and the brand that is most welcomed among consumers who are born in 90s is Huawei. High-end smartphone share is increasing, from 55.9% in 2015 to 62.4% in 2016. At the same time, consumers are upgrading their smartphones, more than 25% of consumers choosing smartphone priced at CNY4000. (TalkingData, report, CN Beta)

talkingdata-2016-price-segment-china

After a cracker of sales in Oct-Nov 2016, which heralded strong growth for that quarter, purchases of Apple iPhones dwindled mainly because of the lack of cash in India, which had fuelled buying before demonetisation. That has forced Apple to scale down its India revenue target to USD2B for its fiscal year (Oct 2016-Sept 2017) from USD3B. (Times of India, Laoyaoba)

Xiaomi reportedly will enhance its competitiveness by adding more mid-tier and high-end models to its portfolio in 2017 as it faces increasing pressure from domestic rivals including Huawei, OPPO and vivo, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press)

Xiaomi announced it is launching in Pakistan on 20 Feb 2017 – the world’s 6th-most populous country. Xiaomi is coming to Pakistan through a distribution partnership – as it did in Brazil – with Rocket Internet’s ecommerce marketplace, Daraz, which is present in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. (CN Beta, Mashable, Tech in Asia)

According to supply chain, it is rumored that Microsoft to launch Surface Phone series smartphones in 2017, and Microsoft plans to use Pegatron as their ODM. (Laoyaoba, 163)

Tablets / PCs

According to Gianfranco Lanci, corporate president and COO at Lenovo, the worldwide shortage of SSDs, DRAM, batteries, and LCDs mean the prices of laptops, desktops, and 2-in-1s are rising. Component shortages are not the only thing pushing up PC prices; it is also due to the shrinking market. (CN Beta, PC World, Techspot)

Wearables

Magic Leap is acquiring the 3D scanning assets of Dacuda — a company known historically for creating pocket scanners and recently for its 3D SLAM technologies. (CN Beta, TechCrunch, Upload VR, Tom’s Hardware)

Berkshire Hathaway is the multinational conglomerate led by Warren Buffet. Its jewelry subsidiary, the Richline Group, has plans to extend its own empire into wearables. Itis launching a smart jewelry line called Ela in Apr 2017. (CNBC, ZDNet, Investopedia)

ela-jewelry

Microsoft is reportedly cancelling the 2nd generation of their headset and jumping directly to the 3rd generation. This will result in a release of a device which is not only an incremental improvement, but an actual generation leap and help keep Microsoft ahead of the competition. Unfortunately this would however reportedly push back the next release of the device to 2019. (CN Beta, Thurrott, MS Poweruser)

Internet of Things

Shareholders of US auto parts supplier Harman International approved the company’s merger with Samsung Electronics. Samsung will pay approximately USD8B for Harman International. (Korea Herald, Android Authority, 163)

Accenture’s Technology Vision identifies 5 emerging trends that are essential to business success in today’s digital economy. (VentureBeat, Accenture, report, 163)

accenture-5-tech-trends-2017

According to CB Insights, Microsoft leads the pack with over 200 AI-related patent applications since 2009, while Google comes in second with over 150. Google overtook Microsoft in the most recent year of complete records (2013), though it remains to be seen how 2014 and on will play out as patents applied in those years are still being published. (CB Insights, press, 199IT, Roboo)

cbinsights-ai-patents

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