07-30: Apple has decided to invest USD2.70B in LGD OLED production for smartphones; Google is reportedly considering a USD539M investment in LGD ongoing VR display chip project; etc.

Chipsets

Some 100B chips built on ARM Holdings technology will be shipped in the next 4 years, as many as in the company’s entire history so far, thanks to demand tied to the so-called internet of things, indicated by the CEO Simon Segars.  (Laoyaoba, Asia Nikkei)

Yole Développement confirms the consolidation of the advanced packaging industry, that is showing a steady growth between 2016 and 2022: +7% in revenue. Advanced packaging is showing a total revenue CAGR higher than the total packaging industry (3%-4%), semiconductor industry (4%-5%) and generally the global electronics industry (3%-4%).  (Yole, press, Laoyaoba)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics (UMC) have recently secured 1-2 year supply contracts with Shin-Etsu and Sumco and offered higher prices than other foundry chipmakers to ensure sufficient wafer supplies, according to Digitimes. Contract prices for 12” epitaxial (epi) wafers have reached USD120 each, rising from about USD75 at the end of 2016. (Digitimes, press, Money-Link, Xincailiao)

Touch Display

As AMOLED displays quickly displace LCD in smartphones, panel makers are rapidly adding new production capacity, accelerating the demand for the fine metal mask (FMM), a critical production component used to manufacture red-green-blue (RGB) AMOLEDs. The FMM market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 38% from USD234M in 2017 to USD1.2B in 2022, according to IHS Markit. (IHS Markit, press, Baijiahao)

Currently, unprecedented phase of AMOLED panel factory build-out, flexible AMOLED capacity will expand from 1.5Mm2 to 20.1Mm2 between 2016 and 2020, at a CAGR of 91%. In 2016, flexible capacity, or factories with the ability to produce AMOLEDs on plastic substrates, only accounted for 28% of total capacity targeting mobile applications. This will increase to 80% by 2020 as almost every new Gen-6 fab and smaller factory built over the next 4 years will be flexible compatible, according to IHS Markit.  (IHS Markit, press, 10JQKA)

Apple has decided to invest KRW3T (USD2.70B) in LG Display (LGD) OLED production for smartphones. Apple is expected to secure 45,000 units of the Gen-6.5 OLED panel monthly from 2019.  (The Investor, Apple Insider, CN Beta, Sohu)

Apple recently patented a new technology called “Smart Pixel” for its future device displays. The patent describes the benefits of Smart Pixel in replacement to traditional thin film transistor (TFT) technology, how it is more cost-effective and how it can supplement analog circuitry with digital storage by facilitating better rates and display. (Laoyaoba, Patently Apple, Digitimes, press)

Google is reportedly considering a KRW600B (USD539M) investment in LG Display (LGD) ongoing VR display chip project. LGD and Seoul-based Hanyang University have been conducting research to develop its own display chip for VR hardware since 2016. As soon as the project is completed, LG’s fabless company Silicon Works will design the chip, while foundry companies such as Dongbu HiTek are expected to produce it.  (Android Headlines, LTN, Business Korea, The Investor, 52RD)

According to Digitimes Research, in 2Q17 Taiwan panel maker (excluding Sharp) large size (9” and above) TFT LCD panel shipment has reached 58.55M units, up 4.2% on quarter, but only up 0.3% on year. Looking into 2H17, because of limited driving force from all sorts of applications, the overall shipment is only about 6% increase compared to 1H17. (Laoyaoba, Digitimes, press)

Memory

NAND Flash chipset has several types: SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC. SSD market mainly led by TLC, and QLC is hopeful to replace TLC to be the mainstream product. (PC Pop, article)

SK Hynix has announced that it will invest USD8.61B (KRW9.6T) into facilities in 2017 and confirmed its plan at a board of directors meeting held on the same day. This amount is increased by 37.1% from USD6.28B (KRW7T) which is amount of its facility investment announced early 2017. It is likely that production capacities of both DRAM and NAND flash will increase by only 3%~5%. (TechNews, ET News, Laoyaoba)

Sensory

Smart voice application is emerging, driving Infineon announcing launching high-performance MEMS microphone products, competing with Knowles Electronics, InvenSense and ST Microelectronics. (Laoyaoba, MEM, EE World)

Google Research has published a project that attempts to track expressions solely by looking at eyes inside the headset. Between the shape of the exposed eye, direction of gaze, eyebrows, wrinkles and so on, there is actually quite a bit of information there. (TechCrunch, Google, Cornell University, Lanmei VR)

Apple iPhone 8 allegedly will incorporate an STMicroelectronics (ST) time of flight (ToF) imaging sensor. ToF sensor technology is used in proximity and ranging sensors for smartphones. ST’s cumulative shipments for its FlightSense ToF technology have reached 300M, and they are already in more than 80 smartphone models from 15 OEMs. (EE Times, Laoyaoba)

Connectivity

Nitay Artenstein of Exodus Intelligence has demonstrated proof-of-concept attack code that exploited a vulnerability in Wi-Fi chips manufactured by Broadcom. It fills the airwaves with probes that request connections to nearby computing devices. When the specially devised requests reach a device using the BCM43xx family of Wi-Fi chipsets, the attack rewrites the firmware that controls the chip. Google and Apple have issued patches respectively—an estimated 1B devices were vulnerable to the attack. Artenstein has dubbed the worm “Broadpwn”. (CN Beta, Wired, CNET, Ars Technica, Exodus)

Microchip has announced that the company has delivered its 50Mth Media Oriented System Transport (MOST) technology 50Mbps Intelligent Network Interface Controller (INIC). Microchip’s MOST50 technology, which includes an electrical Physical Layer (ePHY) that is optimized for use with unshielded twisted pair (UTP) copper wire, has been implemented in multiple vehicle platforms.  (EE Trend, Laoyaoba, Globe News Wire)

Apple has received a permit from FCC to test millimeter-wave 5G technology in 2 locations near the company’s HQ in California.  Apple will test on the 28GHz and 39GHz commercial bands. (Apple Insider, The Verge, Mac Rumors, BGR, DSL Reports, iFanr, CNFOL, Sina)

Smartphones

Xiaomi has secured a USD1B loan in order to develop its international focus and build out its offline sales presence. The company has revealed that it has secured a 3-year syndicated loan agreement from 18 banks. Xiaomi targets to sell 100M smartphones in 2018, and its target of revenue in 2017 is to break CNY100B. (CN Beta, iFeng, Sina, U. S. News, TechCrunch)

Google launches “Google for Nigeria”, aiming at helping Africans learn Internet and computer skills to improve employability. (Android Headlines, Quartz, Business Day Online, CNN)

According to European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), about 500 design patents previously owned by Microsoft Mobile were transferred to its new owner, HMD Global. One of the prominent patents is the Lumia Camera UI. (Gizmo China, Nokia Mob, EUIPO, HSW, 163)

In May 2017, Meizu has conducted internal re-organization, forming Meizu, Meilan (m), flyme business units. After that, Meizu continues to service younger generation, and Meizu now targets “high-end business” segment aiming for higher profit. In 2016, Meizu has launched 14 devices for all price segments. Yet, after less than 1.5 years, Meizu has lost more than CNY1.3B. (Laoyaoba, Sina, C114)

According to SIPO, in 1H17 Mainland China patents growth is steady. Till Jun 2017, Mainland China patents number reached 1.227M units, which means every 10,000 people, there is 8.9 patents. Also, Mainland China innovation has driven international patents, in 1H17 the number has exceeded 20,000 units, a 15.3% growth. (Laoyaoba, UDN, Biaotianxia, SIPO)

Apple confirms iPod nano and iPod shuffle have been discontinued. They are simplifying iPod lineup with 2 models of iPod touch now with double the capacity starting at just USD199. (Apple Insider, The Verge, Sohu, Sina, CNBC)

Wearables

Fitbit CEO James Park says that the company’s upcoming smartwatch will have an app platform and an app gallery ready to go when it launches, despite reports (including our own) that Fitbit’s smartwatch woes have extended to its software as well as its hardware production. (Ubergizmo, The Verge, YeSky)

Digital Domain Holdings chairman (former HTC CEO) Peter Chou believes that AR / VR will replicate PC and smartphone model,in 5 years to replace smartphone’s huge growth. He also believes AR / VR will be vital applications for 5G. (Laoyaoba, CNYES, SETN)

Internet of Things

Despite a report suggesting the contrary, iRobot is not planning to sell data from 900 Series Roombas to companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon, indicated by CEO Colin Angle. (Apple Insider, ZDNet)

Wink has confirmed that it has been acquired by Will.i.am-backed i.am+, a California based company known mainly for its premium earphones. Wink is known for its smart home hub products, which were originally a product of Quirky. Eventually, Flex bought out Quirky and acquired Wink’s products in the process. (Android Headlines, TechCrunch, Mashable, Baijiahao)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.