10-17: Qualcomm has announced achieving a 5G data connection on its Snapdragon X50 5G NR mobile modem chipset; GIS is working with Qualcomm developing under display ultrasonic fingerprint module; etc.

Chipsets

Demand for blank 12” silicon wafers is set to increase to 1.1M~1.3M pieces per month in China in 2018, up from the current 500,000 units. Demand for blank 8” silicon wafers is also expected to surge reaching 7.5M~8M units in 2020, up from the current 800,000. (Digitimes, press, ESM China)

Qualcomm Technologies has announced achieving a 5G data connection on its Snapdragon X50 5G New Radio (NR) mobile modem chipset, attaining gigabit speeds across the 28GHz millimetre-wave (mmWave) frequency band. (Android Headlines, ZDNet, Qualcomm, Sohu, Laoyaoba)

Qualcomm is releasing a number of components to phone manufacturers as part of its RF Front-End portfolio that include support for Band 71, which comprises the 600MHz band. These parts, which include a Low-Band Power Amplifier Module, an Adaptive Aperture Tuner, Duplexer and Diversity Receive (DRX) Filter, work with the baseband inside any number of Snapdragon chips from the 200, 400, 600, and 800 series to support Band 71. (Android Central, Qualcomm, Android Authority, CTimes)

Qualcomm has unveiled its latest mid-range mobile platform – the Snapdragon 636. The main billing with this product is the introduction of Qualcomm’s Kirin 260 CPU cores into the Snapdragon 63X range, bringing additional CPU power to a lower cost chipset. It features the Snapdragon X12 4G LTE modem, enabling peak download speeds of 600Mbps. (Android Authority, ZDNet, Qualcomm, The Inquirer, Sohu, iFanr)

Memory

Toshiba announced its board of directors had approved a further investment by Toshiba Memory in production equipment for Fab 6 at its Yokkaichi operations in Mie (Japan). Toshiba’s Fab 6, which is still under construction, will be dedicated to producing the company’s 3D flash memory. (Digitimes, press, Evertiq, Moore)

Biometrics

General Interface Solution (GIS) is working with Qualcomm developing under display ultrasonic fingerprint module, which can be used on current capacitive touch with thicker glass, and bypass the restriction of metallic material. Currently the company has started working with Chinese and Korean vendors. GIS indicates that the ultrasonic fingerprint identification module can penetrate the thickness of 800μm protective glass and the thickness of 650μm aluminum, far better than the capacitive module penetration of about 200~300μm glass. (Laoyaoba, EE World, China Times, Digitimes, press)

Smartphones

Meizu VP Li Nan’s MeiLan (or Blue Charm) plans to launch new website in another sign that the company is splitting from Meizu. (GizChina, Sohu, IT Home)

After selling stakes of TCL Communication to 3 investor groups (including Unisplendour Technology Venture, Oriente Grande, and Vivid Victory Development), TCL Corp will work closely with these 3 parties deeply in R&D, sales, channels and resources consolidation. The company will continue to push multi-brands development, i.e., TCL, Alcatel and BlackBerry. (Laoyaoba, Tencent, iResearch, Sina, China Daily, NBD)

BlackBerry has shifted over the past few years from a smartphone-focused company to a software and services conglomerate. The CEO John Chen indicates that BlackBerry’s transformation is largely complete, and more of a push into the connected life lays ahead. (Phone Arena, The Street, Caixin)

Huawei could overtake Apple in smartphone market share in 2017, IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo said. In 2Q17, Huawei held a 11.3% market share, shipping 38.5M units, IDC data show. Apple meanwhile shipped 41M iPhones and had a 12% market share in the same period. (CN Beta, CNBC)

VirnetX, an Internet security software and technology company, was awarded USD439.7M in its case against Apple over patents it claims Apple used for iMessage and FaceTime. (GSM Arena, PR Newswire, GizChina, Ars Technica, 9to5Mac, Sina)

Xiaomi chairman  Lei Jun announced that the company is planning to ship out 90M smartphones by the end of 2017, and to this day, the company shipped well over 60M units it seems. Xiaomi’s supply chain will be enjoying the great performance including—Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Lens Technology, BOE, Tianma, Speed, Everwin Precision, Career Groups, especially ChaoZhou Three-Circle, and WingTech. (My Drivers, CN Beta, Sohu, Sina, Android Headlines, Digitimes)

Zenith says that 66% of individuals in 52 countries studied will own a smartphone, up from 63% in 2017. Penetration growth is slowing as penetration hits 80%-90% in most advanced market. The number of smartphone owners is expected to rise 7% in 2018, compared to 10% growth in 2017, 14% in 2016 and 21% in 2015. (Laoyaoba, NDTV, Recode, Zenith Media)

Huawei Mate 10 Lite is launched with 4 cameras – 5.9” 2160×1080 display, Huawei Kirin 659 processor, rear dual 16MP-2MP + front dual 13MP-2MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 7.0, 3340mAh battery, EUR400. (Gizmo China, Phone Arena, mobiFlip)

PCs / Tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 is launched – 8” 1200×800 LCD display, Samsung Exynos 7880 processor, 8MP + 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 16GB storage, S Pen, IP68 certified, 4450mAh battery, EUR500. (Gizmo China, Android Authority, GSM Arena)

Wearables

Fossil launches new Q Neely and Q Jacqueline hybrid smartwatches. They can track steps, calories, and sleep. It can show multiple time zones and set customisable pusher shortcuts (for operating a smartphone camera, controlling music, ringing phone, and more). (Pocket-Lint, Digital Trends, Tech Radar)

Internet of Things

The global smart home market is bracing for fierce competition. Apple is likely to optimize some features of iPhone X for smart home applications; Amazon has launched an additional of 5 Echo-series products to enhance its Alexa platform; and Nest has unveiled a number of new smart home devices as Google seeks to further expand its partnerships, according to Digitimes Research’s latest survey on the smart home market. (Digitimes, press, IoT Home)

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