04-03: Google and Amazon have joined a list of potential buyers eyeing Toshiba’s memory chip business; BlackBerry says it is pursuing “additional endpoints”; etc.

Chipsets

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) trade group set out a comprehensive list of research priorities for maintaining semiconductor technology innovation in years to come, as the era of conventional CMOS scaling draws to a close and engineers turn to new materials, manufacturing techniques, architectures and structures. The report outlines 14 areas identified as key areas for research. This list includes items such as cognitive computing, interconnect technology, next-generation manufacturing and power management, among others. (Laoyaoba, EE Times, SIA report)

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Analog Devices Inc (ADI) announced the acquisition of OneTree Microdevices, a privately held company based in Santa Rosa, California. ADI is a leading supplier of mixed signal solutions for cable access ranging from data converters through clocking and control/power conditioning.  (Laoyaoba, EE Trends, Technuter, Electronics Weekly)

Fab equipment spending is expected to reach an industry all-time record, to more than USD46B in 2017, according to SEMI. The record is expected to be broken again in 2018, nearing the USD50B mark. The spending is mainly directed towards memory (3D NAND and DRAM), Foundry and MPU.   (SEMI, press, Sohu)

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With 20, and possibly more, new fab projects underway or announced in China since 2016, spending on fab equipment will surge to USD10B or more, annually, by 2018 and to even higher levels in the following 2 years. (SEMI, press, PCB Tech)

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Touch Display

Panasonic plans to halt one of its 2 production lines for liquid crystal display panels at its Himeji plant in Hyogo Prefecture, and to sell off equipment from the line. Three other businesses units — digital cameras, private branch exchange telephone systems and optical disk drives — will be dismantled. Each will be scaled back and placed under the umbrella of other operations, with headcount to be reduced. (Laoyaoba, Asia Nikkei)

Memory

Toshiba shareholders approved the conglomerate’s plans to spin off its chip business, an important step in the 140-year-old corporation’s battle to find a path back to recovery. The spinoff of its valuable chip business into a separate entity paves the way for Toshiba to sell majority stakes to outside businesses — and to use the proceeds to emerge from negative net worth in fiscal 2017, through Mar 2018. (Laoyaoba, Asia Nikkei)

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Google and Amazon have joined a list of potential buyers eyeing Toshiba’s lucrative memory chip business as the Japanese conglomerate seeks bidders to cover huge losses. Some 10 foreign companies and funds have tendered bids. (ISMBoard, Reuters, Fortune, Laoyaoba, Laoyaoba, IB Times, Laoyaoba, Yahoo, Asia Nikkei)

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Sensory

Google is one of several multinationals backing a new USD150M (GBP120M) artificial intelligence (AI) research facility in Canada,  the Vector Institute is based in the city of Toronto. (Android Headlines, Inc, IT Home)

HMD Global’s unannounced Nokia 9 allegedly to feature Nokia OZO Audio enhancements, which offers 3D audio experience optimized for headphones and spatial audio playback systems. Nokia OZO Audio technology will also allow 3D audio capture with 4 or more microphones. (Phone Arena, Nokia Poweruser, Huanqiu, IT Home)

Biometrics

According to IBM’s 2017 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, on top of the 4B records that ended up on the Internet in 2016, there were also 10,000 software vulnerabilities documented, which is the highest single-year number in the 20 years it has published its report. The report takes into account numerous cyber crime trends, including the rise of spam messages. IBM’s data shows Spam was up 400% in 2016, while 44% of these messages contained malicious attachments, most of which were ransomware. (IBM, report, CN Beta, Softpedia)

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Connectivity

AT&T has been selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to America’s police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) that will cover all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including rural communities and tribal lands. (Laoyaoba, Hexun, 10JQKA, Chicago Tribune, Global Telecom Business, Converge Digest)

Smartphones

BlackBerry says it is pursuing “additional endpoints”, which could include “tablets, wearables, medical devices, appliances, point-of-sale terminals and other smartphones.” (Laoyaoba, Tencent, SlashGear, Engadget, BlackBerry, Reuters, Seeking Alpha)

Apple’s valuation soared by USD144.8 B during the calendar 1Q17. Apple’s market capitalization (share price multiplied by shares outstanding) is USD753.7B.  (Phone Arena, WSJ, YCharts, Sina)

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Wearables

Lee Young-hee, executive vice president of global marketing for Samsung mobile, has confirmed that a high-end, standalone headset is “still under construction”.  It is unclear whether the device can be tethered to a PC, but it is targeting “media producers and pro gamers”. (Laoyaoba, Road to VR, TechRadar, CNET)

According to IDC, the wearable market in India observed the total shipments of 2.5M units in 2016. Total wearable shipment in 4Q16 was 675K units which includes both smart wearables that can run third party apps and basic wearables which cannot. Wearables shipments declined 19.6% sequentially as basic wearables which accounts to 86.4% of total wearable declined 23.9% in 4Q16.  (Laoyaoba, IDC, press)

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Internet of Things

On 1 April 2017, Haier, Huawei and China Telecom signed a strategic collaboration agreement to jointly develop a new generation of IoT smart living solution for consumers based on new generation NB-IoT technology. (EE Trend, CC Time, OfWeek)

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Apple may have left another clue that its self-driving car project is still alive. Apple has published a list of suppliers it is working with, including Robert Bosch. Apple lists Bosch’s office in Reutlingen, Germany, which houses the supplier’s automotive electronics division. (My Drivers, Hybrid Cars, Automotive News)

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