06-29: Half of MediaTek’s 16nm chip orders placed with TSMC will be shifted to Globalfoundries; Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 and Wear 1200; Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors; etc.

Chipsets

Samsung Electronics has reportedly set an internal goal of producing chips using the 6nm manufacturing technology from 2019, reducing investments in 7nm technology whose key clients such as Qualcomm have shifted toTaiwan’s TSMC. Samsung plans to install two units of ASML’s next-generation lithography machines in 2017 and 7 more in 2018.  (Android Headlines, The Investor, GSM Arena, CN Beta)

Half of MediaTek’s 16nm chip orders placed with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will be shifted to Globalfoundries, according to Digitimes. MediaTek uses TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process to manufacture its Helio P20 and P25 chips, but the fabless chip firm is looking to transfer half of the orders to Globalfoundries starting 2018. (Digitimespress, Sohu, SEMI)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 is a refresh of the company’s mid-range mobile SoC tier. It features octa-core Cortex-A53 configuration with core frequencies up to 1.8GHz, manufactured using 14nm process.  The image signal processor (ISP) has also been upgraded with new compatibility for a single 21MP rear camera or dual 13MP sensors. (Android Central, Android Authority, CN Beta, Sohu)

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Qualcomm announced Snapdragon Wear 1200, aimed at complementing 2100 and the more basic Snapdragon 1100. The 1200 takes advantage of new narrowband LTE technology that enables ultra-low power, energy efficient, always connected devices that can hold a connection at longer distances. It’s also 45% smaller than previous designs, which of course allows for smaller kids trackers. (Android Authority, ZDNet, Qualcomm, AnandTech, article, GSM Arena, CN Beta)

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Qualcomm has entered a partnership with Bosch Sensortec, OmniVision and Ximmerse in Head Mounted Display (HMD) Accelerator Program for standalone VR headset——Bosch Sensortec’s BMX055 orientation sensor and OmniVision’s 1MP OV9282 image sensor. (Gizmo China, Android Headlines, Sina, Sohu)

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Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang said Apple has decided to use an InnoSwitch integrated circuit from Power Integrations for fast charging in the iPhone 8. It will replace parts from ON Semiconductor (ON) and NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) in the new handset. Apple likely will seek about 250M adapter units per year from Power Integrations.  (CN Beta, Investors)

In 2016, Intel acquired neural-network hardware maker Nervana and built Nervana’s chip, integrating it with Intel’s own on-processor deep-learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Jun 2017 Intel Capital invested in AI startups CognitiveScaleAeye and Element AI. Intel is investing in AI startups, acquiring others, and blending the mix with its own AI expertise to ensure a leadership position in machine learning, deep learning, and brain-like neural networks based on its AI hardware and software. (EE Times, article, Sohu, Xinhuanet)

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China’s National Semiconductor Industry Investment Fund (known as the Big Fund) has committed to invest CNY85B (USD12.4B) into the local IC industry, mainly the manufacturing sector, according to Ding Wenwu, president of the fund. As of the end of Apr 2017, Big Fund made investments in a total of 37 enterprises, said Ding. (Digitimes, press, JRJ, CN Stock)

Intel has decided to sharply extend lifecycle support for its whole series of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions platforms 7~15 years, in a bid to regain the confidence of its partners in the IoT supply chains and step up the development of IoT-related processor platforms and chipsets. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

Samsung is preparing for the “4th industrial revolution” by mass producing faster and more efficient chips for smart and connected devices with always-on displays, cementing its leadership in the global memory market. Samsung made around USD1B worth of investments in its production facilities in Austin, Texas, as of Jun 2017. (Phone Arena, The Investor, Gizmo China, CNFOL, JRJ)

China-based logic IC and memory foundries including Nexchip Semiconductor and Rui-Li Integrated Circuit have offered 20% higher prices than what their bigger rivals offer in order to secure more supplies of “dummy” or test wafers particularly 12” ones, according to sources at upstream wafer suppliers, cited by Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, ESM China)

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Touch Display

Fujian Hua Chia Cai, a 6G TFT-LCD subsidiary of Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) in Putain, will begin rolling out glass substrates in Jul 2017 paving the way for mass production later on, according to CPT president Lin Sheng-chang. With total investments of CNY12B (USD1.754B), the 6G TFT-LCD plant will have a production capacity of 30,000 glass substrates a month. (Digitimes, press, China Times)

Supply of a-Si TFT-LCD panels will fall short of demand in 2H17 due to rising demand for 18:9 all-screen displays for smartphones, according to Lin Sheng-chang, president for Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT). The production of all-screen panels will also result in a premium of 10%-20% in selling prices as compared to 16:9 panels. Shipments of 18:9 all-screen smartphones are expected to reach 150M units in 2017, with Apple and Samsung accounting for over 50% of total shipments, Lin estimated. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

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According to Digitimes, industry sources have predicted shipments of upcoming Apple iPhone could be interrupted, with yield rates at assembly plants and the supply of OLED panels likely to become issues. While Samsung Display has promised to fully support Apple, only 3M~4M OLED-based new iPhone devices will be ready for shipping before Sept 2017. (Digitimes, press, CN Beta, UDN)

Touch panel maker General Interface Solution (GIS) has completed selling 30M new shares in the form of global depository receipts (GDRs) raising USD207M to finance capital spending in 2017. The added investments are expected to start contributing to revenue and shipment growths in 4Q17, the company said. The company also plans to set up a trial production line for OLED back-end modules at the end of 2017. (Digitimes, press, China Times, UDN, ET Today)

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Automotive touch panel shipments are expected to top 50M units in 2017, up 11% from 45M units in 2016, according to IHS Markit. More importantly, capacitive-touch screen shipments are forecast to surpass that of traditionally-dominated resistive-touch screens in vehicles in 2017. (Laoyaoba, Electroiq)

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For the 3 main technologies – OLED, OLEDoS (OLED on CMOS) and Micro LED – applied currently for the development of display products for use in head-mounted display (HMD) virtual reality devices, OLEDoS is superior than the other two technologies in terms of resolution accuracy and accountability for mass production as OLEDoS panels use silicon wafers as backplanes, which can reach a better degree of miniaturization, although its material costs still need to be improved, according to Digitimes Research. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

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Camera

Samsung launched its own mobile camera sensor brand ISOCELL. Samsung ISOCELL is underlined by four technological sub-brands—Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual—that respond to specific market demands. (CN Beta, Phandroid, Android Headlines, Android Community, Samsung)

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Memory

Because eMMC cannot fulfill video communication function, UFS has become next best solution. However, in 2017 NAND Flash is in shortage, and vendors are shifting from 2D to 3D. UFS relies on 3D manufacturing process, causing the price gap between UFS and eMMC 15%~20%. Till now the adoption of UFS on mobile phone is less than 10%. It expects for UFS to go from high-end to mid-end, we might have to wait till 2018. (CTimes, Laoyaoba)

Toshiba has filed a USD1.07B lawsuit against Western Digital in Tokyo District Court, trying to halt any intervention in the sale of Toshiba’s memory chip business to a consortium including Bain Capital and Japanese government investors. (Apple Insider, Bloomberg, Reuters, Sohu, WSJ, CN Beta)

Toshiba has successfully developed what it claims to be the world’s first QLC — quadruple-level cell — 4-bit flash memory in a 3D flash device. Flash memory with four levels of charge per cell, or two bits, is known as multi-level cells or MLC, and memory with eight levels of charge (3 bits) is referred to as having triple-level cells, or TLC. (CN Beta, The Verge)

Biometrics

Full display is a trend, and it challenges front fingerprint sensor. FocalTech is aggressively developing front fingerprint sensor for full-display smartphone, launching thin solution. This does not restrict to AMOLED technology. FocalTech expects to enter mass production in 2H17. (Laoyaoba, China Times, China Times)

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Qualcomm announced Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors. The suite of features consists of sensors for Display, Glass and Metal, detection of directional gestures, and underwater fingerprint match and device wake-up. It is also the first commercially announced integrated ultrasonic-based mobile solution to detect heart beat and blood flow for improved mobile authentication experiences. (Android Central, Qualcomm, Forbes, The Verge, The Paper, Sina)

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Sony is showcasing 3D facial recognition system, using software from a company called KeyLemon and a special 3D depth sensor from SoftKinect, a wholly owned Sony subsidiary. (Android Authority, Xperia Blog, TechCrunch, JRJ, CN Beta)

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Connectivity

White paper published by China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), “5G Impact on Economy and Society”, estimated that in terms of direct contributions, 5G will generate CNY6.3T (USD0.92T) in total economic output, CNY2.9T in GDP expansion, and 8M job opportunities by 2030, as well as CNY10.6T in total output, CNY 3.6T in GDP increase, and 11.5M job opportunities in terms of indirect contributions. (Digitimes, press, China News, CAICT report, Caixin)

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5G: Korea’s SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics completed a trial to deliver a 5G end-to-end connection based on 5G New Radio (NR) technology using the 3.5 GHz spectrum. The companies reported seeing speeds over 1 Gbps and a latency of 1.2ms; the ultralow latency was achievable by reducing the Transmission Time Interval (TTI) to 0.25ms, which when compared to today’s 4G LTE networks is 1/4 the time. (Android Headlines, Fierce WirelessOfWeek)

Smartphones

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers combed through 2.5M selfie posts on Instagram to determine what kinds of identity statements people make by taking and sharing selfies. Nearly 52% of all selfies fell into the appearance category: pictures of people showing off their make-up, clothes, lips, etc. Pics about looks were 2 times more popular than the other 14 categories combined. (CN Beta, CNET, Georgia Tech, The Memo)

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The Foxconn Group has signed with the government of Kunshan City, eastern China, for its member companies to set up factories in the city, with total investment estimated at CNY25B (USD3.7B). (Digitimes, Sina, Laoyaoba)

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InFocus Turbo 5 is launched in India – 5.2” HD IPS display, MediaTek MT6737 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2 / 3GB RAM, 16 / 32GB storage, Android 7.0, 5000mAh battery. (Android Authority, NDTV, India Today)

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TCL announces Alcatel A30 Plus, A50 and Idol 5s: Idol 5s – 5.2” FHD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 12MP + 8MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 2620mAh battery, USD279.99. A50 – 5.2” HD display, MediaTek MT6738 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, 2800mAh battery, USD149.99. A30 Plus – 5.5” HD display, quad-core processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, 3000mAh battery, USD129.99.  (Phone Arena, PR Newswire)

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PCs / Tablets

Lenovo Tab 4 8 / 10 accept pre-order in US – 8” / 10.1” 1280×800 IPS display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, 5MP + 2MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, 4850 / 7000mAh battery, USD129.99 / 179.99.  (CN Beta, Newegg, Newegg)

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Wearables

Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster believes Apple could launch AR glasses in 2020. With an average sale price of USD1,300 he expects initial demand to be limited at just over 3M units compared to 242M iPhone in 2020. This equates 2% of sales in 2020 increasing to 10% (USD30B) in 2022 when he expects the ASP to be about ~USD1,000.  (CN Beta, Barron’s, blog, Street Insider, Loup Ventures, press, model)

Global investments in the VR industry in 1H17 already exceeded the total amount injected in 2016, according to Alvin Wang Graylin, president of HTC Vive Greater China. Total investments in the VR industry have reached about USD1.2B in 1H17, including a USD400M investment injected into game engine company Unity Technologies and USD500M received by UK-based Improbable. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba, Cool3c)

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Singapore-based VR startup, Hapto, provides realistic haptic effect for its users. With Hapto users can make any movement in VR: touch, hold, or throw objects, deftly wield weapons, and experience a virtual space as if it were real.  (Android Headlines, Hapto, Upload VR, PR Newswire, Hexun, Heix)

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Internet of Things

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the multinational consultancy company, forecasts that AI development will contribute USD15.7T to the global economy in 2030. The greatest economic gains from AI will be in China, with 26% boost to its GDP in 2030, and North America, with 14.5% boost. (CN Beta, PwC report, Quartz, China Daily)

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