05-19: Qualcomm has leveled a complaint against Foxconn and 3 other Apple manufacturing partners; Google I/O announcement; etc.

Chipsets

Worldwide semiconductor revenue totaled USD343.5B in 2016, a 2.6% increase from 2015 revenue of USD334.9B, according to Gartner. The top 25 semiconductor vendors’ combined revenue increased 10.5%, a significantly better performance than the overall industry’s growth; however, most of this growth resulted from merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. (Gartner, press, Laoyaoba)

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Qualcomm has leveled a complaint against Foxconn and 3 other Apple manufacturing partners including Pegatron, Wistron and Compal, accusing them of breaking licensing agreements by not paying due royalties. (Apple Insider, Reuters, Ubergizmo, iFeng, 163, Sina)

Qualcomm has demonstrated how electric vehicles (EVs) could be charged wirelessly while driving. The “dynamic charging” test took place on a test track in Versailles, France. It used 2 Renault Kangoo vehicles driving over embedded pads in the road that transferred a charge to the cars’ batteries at up to 20 kilowatts at highway speeds. (VentureBeat, Engadget, CN Beta)

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[Google I/O] Google has officially introduced the 2nd generation of their specialized Tensor Processing Unit (TPU). Google claims each 2nd generation TPU can deliver up to 180 teraflops of performance. Google is packaging availability of these chips as a service on the Google Cloud Platform, substantially lowering the barrier to entry to this technology. (Android Headlines, TechCrunch, Quartz, Forbes, Technode, ET Today)

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ARM and the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) of the University of Washington are developing a brain-implantable system-on-chip (SoC) to help people afflicted with paralysis cope with their condition or even regain some of their lost motor functions. At the center of this brain-implantable chip is ARM’s Cortex-M0 CPU.  (Android Headlines, MIT, BBC, The Guardian, Leiphone, 36Kr, Sohu)

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MediaTek has launched chipset designed to enable Voice Assistant Devices (VADs) and smart speakers, including the Google Assistant. The company has also announced support for its MT8516 chip-based Android Things pre-certified system on modules (SOMs), with new devices expected in 4Q17. The MT8516 is equipped with a quad-core, 64-bit ARM Cortex-A35 MPCore operating at up to 1.3GHz. (Android Headlines, India Times, Digit, MediaTek, IT Home)

Touch Display

As panel makers are increasingly targeting the premium TV market, active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) TV panel shipments are expected to exceed 10M units by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42% from 2017, according to IHS Markit. (IHS Markit, press, Laoyaoba)

ihs-amoled-tv-forecast

Apple has filed a patent for a new version of the Apple Watch. The patent describes that the device will include a flexible display that covers both the watch face and the watch band. The bezels on the device also look pretty slim, which helps give the device that large flexible-display look. (CN Beta, Patently Apple, Digital Trends, Phone Arena)

apple-watch-flexible-display-patent

According to IHS Markit, the 18:9 aspect ratio trend will gradually have an impact on the entire display supply chain, but a direct effect will be an increase in demand for the display panel area used in premium smartphone models. But because AMOLED and LTPS LCD capacities are also ramping up quickly, the anticipated surge in area demand can be satisfied. Another important effect will be the use of a process known as chip on flexible printed circuit, or COF. (IHS Markit, press, CVIA)

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Sharp and Japan Display Inc (JDI) reportedly are expanding their investment in OLED panel R&D. (Laoyaoba, UDN, CECB2B)

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Camera

Sony has a patent describing a sensor with Dual Pixel technology for Phase detection Autofocus (PDAF).  (Laoyaoba, The New Camera, Sony Alpha Rumors)

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Sony has announced the release of the new IMX382 high-speed vision sensor, which enables detection and tracking of objects at 1,000 frames per second. Sony will begin shipping samples in Oct 2017. (CN Beta, Sony, Gizbot)

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Demand for dual camera systems designed for contemporary smartphones will provide a massive boost for Samsung Electro-Mechanics and LG Innotek. Techno Systems Research predicted the proportion of dual-camera phones in the global smartphone market would rise from 5% last year with the shipment of 76M units to 34% in 2020 with the shipment of 600M units.  (Android Headlines, Korea Herald)

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Memory

Huawei consumer business group Richard Yu indicates that in addition to chipset, Huawei has already started investing in NAND flash memory, display and other core components. The investment will not be manufacturing per se, but it does not mean the company does not own the core technology. (My Drivers, CN Beta, Sohu)

huawei-ceo-richard-yu-memory-display

Connectivity

Google is forming a 4-way partnership to invest USD100M in a wholesale broadband infrastructure project designed to bring fast and reliable internet access to cities across Africa. The initiative is an extension of Project Link, which was quietly rolled into an umbrella corporate brand called CSquared. (VentureBeat, Google, Google, Graphic Online, A5IDC)

Smartphones

Apple has finally started to assemble iPhones in India, Apple has confirmed, with local manufacturing partners said to have commenced production of the iPhone SE earlier May 2017, and initial shipments for domestic customers expected to take place within the next few weeks.  (Apple Insider, WSJ, Feng, Leiphone, Market Watch)

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Morgan Stanley suggests there is no evidence of Apple iPhone 8 delay in Apple’s supply chain. The analyst Katy Huberty’s team believes estimates for FY iPhone 8 shipments of 237M units at an average selling price of USD683. (CN Beta, CNBC, Investors, Phone Arena)

According to investment banking firm Morgan Stanley based on an Apr 2017 survey of 1,000 smartphone owners aged 18 and above in the United States, 92% of Apple iPhone owners that are “somewhat likely” or “extremely likely” to upgrade their smartphone in the next 12 months plan to purchase another iPhone. (Ubergizmo, Mac Rumors, Apple Insider, Street Insider, Feng)

According to Ovum, Google Assistant is predicted as occupying 23.3% market share in 2021. After this, Samsung Bixby is set to occupy second place with 14.5%, Apple Siri with 13.1%, Amazon Alexa with 3.9%, and Microsoft Cortana with 2.3%. Ovum thinks that this will gradually shift as wearable devices, TV set-top boxes, smart home speakers, and more continue their rise. By 2021. Ovum suggests AI assistants will be found on 1.63B devices. (CN Beta, Ovum, press, Cult of Mac)

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The global smartphone market continues its recovery, with the top 3 Chinese OEMs posting impressive gains. Samsung continued to lead the pack in smartphone shipments during 1Q17, shipping 79.1M units. That is an increase of 0.1% year-over-year, according to IHS Markit. Apple is in the second spot, shipping 50.8M phones, down 0.8% from a year ago. Chinese manufacturers captured seven of the eight remaining top 10 spots. (IHS Markit, press)

ihs-1q17-smartphone ihs-most-shipped-phone-1q17

[Google I/O] Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company’s Android operating system recently crossed a major milestone. It now has more than 2B monthly active devices. (Android Headlines, Engadget, The Verge, VentureBeat, CN Beta, Engadget)

android-2b-monthly-active-devices

[Google I/O] Google is attempting again to make a budget Android platform for developing markets with Android Go. It will be focused around building a version of Android for phones with less memory, with the System UI and kernel able to run with as little as 512MB of memory. Android devices with less than 1GB of RAM will automatically get Android Go starting with Android O. (Liliputing, The Verge, Indian Express, Phone Arena, My Drivers)

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Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of messaging app WhatsApp cost USD19B when it was announced. Now the price tag has been bumped up a little more after European regulators slapped the company with a EUR110M (~USD122M) fine for providing “incorrect or misleading” information at the time of the deal. (TechCrunch, European Commission, CN Beta)

According to IDC, 27M smartphones were shipped in India in 1Q17 with a healthy 14.8% growth over the same period last year. China-based vendors captured 51.4% share of the smartphone shipments in India with 16.9% sequential growth and 142.6% growth on year. In contrast, share of homegrown vendors dropped to 13.5% in 1Q17 from 40.5% in 1Q16. (IDC, press, My Drivers)

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Xiaomi Redmi 4 is launched in India – 5” HD 2.5D curved display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, 13MP PDAF + 5MP cameras, 2 / 3 / 4GB RAM, 16 / 32/ 64GB storage, Android 6.0, 4100mAh battery, from INR6,999. (India Times, NDTV, GizChina)

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OPPO A77 is official in Taiwan – 5.5” FHD IPS LCD display, MediaTek MT6750T processor, rear 13MP PDAF + front 16MP with Beauty 4.0 and Portrait Mode, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 6.0, 3200mAh battery, NTD10,990. (GSM Arena, OPPO)

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PCs / Tablets

Lenovo has announced a plan to restructure its China business to cope with the changing personal computer (PC) industry. Lenovo will be reorganized into two divisions, a consumer-focused division of PC and smart devices, and a data center group. (Gizmo China, Reuters, Financial Times, Engadget, C114)

Amazon announces 4 new Fire tablets with quad-core processor and Alexa, starting at USD49.99: Fire 7 / Kids Edition – 7” 1024×600 IPS LCD display, 8 / 16GB storage, USD49.99 (Kids Edition USD99.99). Fire HD 8 / Kids Edition – 8” 1280×800 IPS LCD display, 16 / 32GB storage, USD79.99 (Kids Edition USD129.99). (Apple Insider, Android Headlines, Forbes, ZDNet, PC Mag, The Verge, Android Central)

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Wearables

A District Court in Dallas received a claim form on May 12th, coming from ZeniMax Media, stating that Samsung had unlawfully used some of the former’s patented VR tech in the Gear VR headsets. (Phone Arena, CNET, 91.com, Sohu)

The London startup Improbable has raised USD502M in funding led by SoftBank, with previous investors Andreessen Horowitz and Horizons Ventures also participating. The company had only raised USD50M prior to this, placing the valuation at around or over USD1B. (Laoyaoba, TechCrunch, NDTV)

[Google I/O] Google has announced a standalone headset powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR platform. HTC and Lenovo are already on board with Google and will launch their own dedicated headsets later in 2017. Each device features WorldSense positional tracking for accurate movement representation, and also uses Tango-based tracking technology to enable these amazing experiences.  (Android Authority, Android Central, Phone Arena, iFeng, Sohu, Leiphone)

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[Google I/O] Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced Google Lens, an augmented reality (AR) service for mobile devices that was designed as a versatile tool for facilitating a wide variety of everyday tasks, from shopping and identifying flowers to navigating one’s surroundings, editing photos, and connecting to Wi-Fi networks.  (Android Headlines, TechCrunch, Twitter, Wired, Ars Technica, TechRadar, 10JQKA)

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Internet of Things

Google has announced partnerships with Audi and Volvo that will see those carmakers build new branded infotainment systems using Android 7.0 Nougat. (Phone Arena, Google, Android and Me, The Verge, Engadget, Sohu, Leiphone)

google-volvo-audi-android

TrendForce reports shipments of LCD TV sets for the first quarter of 2017 came to 44.05M units, a decrease of 31% from the prior quarter and a year-on-year decline of 8.4%. Poor sales results in China during the Chinese New Year holiday period was a major factor behind the year-on-year shipment drop. Chinese TV brands have raised prices of their products several times to compensate for the rising panel costs that are eroding their profit margins. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], Laoyaoba)

trendforce-tv-1q17

[Google I/O] Google has revealed a number of updates to the Google Home connected speaker, with major additions including the device’s ability to put responses to queries on a nearby display, such as the user’s iPhone, as well as being able to place phone calls from the device itself.  (Apple Insider, GSM Arena, TechCrunch, Tencent, iFeng)

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