04-05: Qualcomm Inc. said it would file a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); The prices of NOR Flash will go up sequentially by at least 5% on average for every quarter in 2017; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm Inc. said it would file a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that accused the company of engaging in anticompetitive behavior to maintain dominance over the market. (Laoyaoba, WSJ, Market Watch)

Qualcomm has announced that Qualcomm Inc has received approval from U.S. antitrust regulators for its proposed USD47B acquisition of NXP Semiconductors NV. (CN Beta, Yahoo, NASDAQ)

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has announced worldwide sales of semiconductors reached USD30.4B for Feb 2017, an increase of 16.5% compared to Feb 2016 total of USD26.1B. Global sales in were 0.8% lower than the Jan 2017 total of USD30.6B, exceeding normal seasonal market performance. Feb 2017 marked the global market’s largest year-to-year growth since Oct 2010.  (TechNews, Money DJ, SIA, press)

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Intel is keen to point out that they now are doing updated processes like 14nm+, 14nm++, and so on for 10nm and beyond. Intel estimates its competitors’ 10nm processes will offer only slightly higher logic density than its own 14nm FinFET process—3 years after chips fabricated on that tech began shipping. (Semi Accurate, TechNews, PC Mag, Tech Report, EE Journal, Forbes)

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According to the SEMI, total wafer fabrication materials and packaging materials were USD24.7B and USD19.6B, respectively. Comparable revenues for these segments in 2015 were USD24.0B for wafer fabrication materials and USD19.3B for packaging materials. The wafer fabrication materials segment increased 3.1% year-over-year, while the packaging materials segment increased 1.4%.  (SEMI, Evaluation Engineering, TechNews)

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Touch Display

Sakai Display Product (SDP), jointly invested by Hon Hai Precision and Sharp, has reported that revenues in 2016 has declined 22% to JPY161.3B, net loss amounted to CNY59.2B, which is underperformed compared to JPY4.3B net profit in 2015. Hon Hai has joined the operation of SDP from 2012, and in 2012 SDP’s net loss was KPY7.4B. (Laoyaoba, TechNews)

Memory

The prices of NOR Flash will go up sequentially by at least 5% on average for every quarter in 2017 as its market benefits from the abundant releases of smartphones featuring AMOLED display during the year, TrendForce reports. Besides the general adoption of AMOLED in the smartphone market, the expansion in the production of ICs for Touch with Display Driver Integration (TDDI) is driving the need for NOR Flash as well. From the supply side, major manufacturers such as Micron and GigaDevice have reduced their NOR Flash production. Tight supply and rising demand therefore will keep prices of NOR Flash on an uptrend to the end of 2017. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, TechNews)

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Material

Chemists at the University of California, Riverside invented a new self-healing smartphone screen material. The new display material is made of a stretchable polymer and an ionic salt and can stretch up to 50 times its original size. The new material will become available commercially in phones and batteries by 2020. (Android Headlines, Gizmo China, Business Insider, Tencent)

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Apple’s patent filing details plans to use titanium metal, titanium alloys and ‘hybrid plastics’ in everything from iPhones to Macbooks to Apple Watches. Titanium and its alloys are relatively inexpensive by comparison, remaining lightweight and easy to work with, while retaining durability. A physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating can also easily be applied to give “cosmetic” enhancements to titanium.  (CN Beta, Patently Apple, TechRadar, iFeng)

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Apple patent describes using Liquid Metal (metallic glass) for the backside of an iPhone. Apple’s invention generally relates to metals comprising a metal coating on a metal substrate and methods for applying a metal coating onto a metal substrate using micro-alloying. (Gizmo China, Patently Apple, China Times)

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Smartphones

UBS analyst Steven Milunovich believes the factory cost of Apple’s 64GB OLED iPhone will be USD70~90 higher than the iPhone 7 Plus model with a sale price of USD850~900. The higher cost could weigh on Apple’s gross margin which UBS said is likely to decline to 38.5% in the fiscal 2018 year, from its estimate of 38.7% for the current fiscal year. But the 64GB OLED model priced at USD870 would be good for earnings. (CNBC, Ubergizmo, CN Beta)

RBC equity analyst Paul Treiber has removed BlackBerry from his risk watch, explaining that BlackBerry is no longer dependent on outside cash flow (such as Service Access Fees) and is no longer losing money on hardware production. Rather, it is growing its software business and directing its efforts towards the ‘Enterprise of Things’ market.  (Business Insider, Phone Arena, Mobile Syrup)

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FIH Mobile, a handset arm of the Foxconn Group, has issued a profit warning for 1H17, anticipating that it is likely to incur a net loss of about USD110M for the six-month period. FIH attributed the projected losses to the formation of new business units within the company and the purchase of Nokia’s feature phone business from Microsoft in 2016. However, the company expects its revenues to grow 99% on year to USD4.6B in 1H17. (Barron’s, blog, Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

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Samsung and LG, South Korea’s 2 leading tech giants, expanded their spending on marketing in 2016 amid increased competition. (Yonhap News, Phone Arena, Sohu, iFeng, 91.com)

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ZTE Prestige 2 goes on sale at Boost and Virgin Mobile – 5” FWVGA display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, 5MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 6.0, 2035mAh battery. (Phone Arena, Android Authority, Best Buy)

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Alcatel Flash comes with dual front and dual back cameras – 5.5” FHD IPS LCD display, MediaTek Helio X20 MT6797 processor, dual rear 13MP-13MP + dual front 8MP-5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 6.0, LTE, USB Type-C, 3100mAh battery. (Android Headlines, GizChina, Softpedia, The Verge, Alcatel)

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Huawei Y5 2017 is official – 5” HD display, MediaTek MT6737T processor, 8MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, Android 6.0, 3000mAh battery. (Gizmo China, Huawei, Winfuture)

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Huawei Honor 8 Pro is announced in Europe – 5.7” 2560×1440 IPS LCD 2.5D curved display, Huawei Kirin 960 processor, dual rear 12MP-12MP + front 8MP cameras, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 7.0 (Emotion UI 5.1), fingerprint sensor, 4000mAh battery, EUR549. (GSM Arena, My Drivers, Pocket-Lint, GizChina)

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Tablets / PCs

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 is official – 9.7” 2048×1536 retinal display, MediaTek MT8176 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 6.0 (MIUI 8), USB Type-C, 6600mAh battery, CNY1499. (Gizmo China, Android Headlines, iFeng)

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Wearables

Osterhout Design Group (ODG) has launched new augmented reality smartglasses that are certified for hazardous locations. ODG has been shipping its R-7 AR glasses for professional users for USD2,750. Now it is adding a USD3,500 model, the R-7HL, as a rugged version that meets the requirements for workplaces such as construction sites. (VentureBeat, ODG)

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Internet of Things

Mercedes parent Daimler will now collaborate with automotive supplier Bosch, planning to deliver fully autonomous “level 5” technology by the “beginning of the next decade,” with a focus on city driving and autonomous car-sharing. (CN Beta, Engadget, Daimler)

2nd largest TV brand in North America Vizio president William Wang indicates that in the future Vizio will combine Big Data and rich content to expand customer base. The company will also work closely with Taiwan supply chain, and in 2017 to challenge the 10M sales target. (Laoyaoba, SY)

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LeEco’s acquisition of US television maker Vizio has taken months longer than the companies initially projected and may be in jeopardy.  LeEco may be looking into potential contingency plans if the original goal — a full USD2B acquisition of Vizio — fails to materialize.  (CN Beta, Bloomberg, Yahoo, The Verge, Caixin)

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