10-29: Apple has reportedly acquired or at least hired some talent away from InVisage; China consumers have reportedly pre-ordered 5.5M units of Apple iPhone X; etc.

Chipsets

Intel is finally getting ready to launch its first chips manufactured on a 10nm process. Intel plans to ramp up production in 1H18, with “high volume and system availability in 2H18. (Liliputing, Seeking Alpha, AnandTech, Intel, Golem.de)

China-based FPGA chip suppliers including Shanghai Anlogic Information Technology, Shenzhen Pango Microsystems, Gowin Semiconductor, Xi’an Intelligence Silicon Tech and AGM Microelectronics are gearing up to expand their global presence in the entry-level market segment, according to Digitimes. The domestic market in China is big enough to support the local FPGA industry growth. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

Richard Clemmer, CEO of NXP Semiconductors has reversed a long-held position in conceding that Qualcomm’s UDS38B acquisition of NXP will not happen — as promised — in 2017. The deal, Clemmer admitted, is likely to slip to “early 2018.” (EE Times, Barron’s, Mobile World Live, Laoyaoba, TechNews)

Touch Display

The development of the next generation display technology Micro-LED (Micro LED) is gaining traction, and also driven by the vendors pushing their applications, especially in large-size TV wall display, AR / VR display devices. “Video wall” is the first product to introduce Micro LED. ITRI indicates that “video wall” is the first Micro LED application products, and currently LED driver IC vendor Macroblock, PCB vendor Unimicron, and semiconductor vendor PlayNitride have already established trial production lines in ITRI. (LED Inside, TechNews, Laoyaoba)

AUO CEO and chairman Peng Shuang-Lang indicates that as G10.5 is world’s first most advanced panel fab, and new G8.5 / G8.6 fabs are still new, so they expect there is still some learning curve for competitors, and the actual effective production capacity impact will be restrained. AUO expects in 2018 panel supply will increase 5%~7%, but the demand will also increase 5%~7%. Thus, they expect 2018 panel demand-supply balance will be relatively stable. However, as 4Q17 is peak season, it would impact the demand-supply of 2018.  (EE World, Digitimes, Laoyaoba, FPDisplay)

Advanced Optoelectronic Technology (AOT) indicates that Micro LED has higher technical barriers, and thus Mini LED will have more likeliness to be adopted in TV backlit in 2018. AOT expects to launch Mini LED backlit products in 3Q/4Q18. AOT first positions Mini LED as a transitional product for Micro LED. For an 4K8K TV, it needs at least 100M Mini LEDs, and for 65” it needs at least 10000 units. (Laoyaoba, China Times)

TCL Group chairman Li Dongsheng indicates, Mainland China has realized the importance of developing its own panel industry. In 2009, CSOT is founded, and has started construction of G8.5 LCD production line. Now TCL has become the China’s first vendor of having consolidation of vertical supply chain capability in consumer electronics segment. (NBD, Laoyaoba)

Samsung patent application, which is filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office, includes sketches of a “flexible electronic device”, which has two rigid housings coupled via a multi-joint hinge in the middle. The device would close under a magnetic force with the screen facing inwards, like a full-screen flip phone. (The Verge, Lets Go Digital, ZDNet, IB Times, CN Beta)

Camera

Apple has reportedly acquired or at least hired some talent away from InVisage. InVisage, founded in 2006 and based out of Newark, California, has developed new image sensor architecture with a dedicated QuantumFilm layer that can maximize a smartphone camera’s light sensing capability.   (Mac Rumors, Image Sensors World, Apple Insider, Sina)

Memory

Macronix chairman Ming-qiu Wu indicates that seeing positive demand from customers for its ROM and flash chips. Prices for NOR and NAND flash chips will also continue their growth in  4Q17, said Wu. He also indicates that the tight supply status of NOR Flash would be continue till 2018, especially for the low-volume NOR Flash. (Laoyaoba, ESM China, Digitimes, Digitimes, press, LTN, Apple Daily)

Biometrics

Samsung has reportedly registered patents for a pressure sensitive under-the-display fingerprint scanner, which could be debuted in one of its 2018 flagship smartphones. The patents show that the fingerprint scanner could be placed somewhere at the bottom of the display, in a position nearby to the Galaxy S8’s virtual home button. (Android Headlines, Deccan Chronicle, Phone Arena, KIPRIS, IT Home)

MediaTek has announced that the company will sell its 5% stake in Goodix within 6 months from 30 Oct 2017. In 2011, MediaTek spent USD20M to buy a 20% stake in capacitive touch-control chip company Shenzhenshihui Top Technology, which trades as Goodix. (C114, UDN)

Battery

Global demand for nickel is expected to outstrip supply for a third year running in 2018, as demand from the stainless steel industry expands and production of nickel-containing batteries grows, the International Nickel Study Group said. Global demand for nickel is seen increasing to 2.259M tonnes, compared with supply at 2.206M tonnes, it said in its latest annual forecast, resulting in a deficit for refined nickel of 53,000M in 2018. (TechNews, Financial Times, Kitco, Energy Trend, Money DJ)

Smartphones

Google CEO Sundar Pichai reveals that pre-orders of Pixel 2 on day one 2017 were more than double what they were in 2016. (Laoyaoba, 9to5Google, Android Authority)

OPPO and vivo phone production capacity is ranked globally at #4 and #5, respectively. OPPO currently has 5 factories—1 in Indonesia, 1 in India, 3 in China and by end of 2016 the 6th will be open production. OPPO R11 production speed of a factory is every 20 minutes per unit, and 1 day it can produce 6000 units of R11. vivo X20 has already prepared 3.5M units of stock on its first day of launch. (Laoyaoba, JRJ, EE World)

IHS supply chain analyst Kevin Wang indicates that OPPO has placed 10M units of R11s at the supply chain. (Laoyaoba, 163)

Apple quashed concerns of muted demand for its iPhone X on Friday, saying pre-orders for the 10th anniversary phone were “off the charts”. (Ubergizmo, Reuters, Laoyaoba)

Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang estimates that in just 5 hours, China consumers have pre-ordered 5.5M units of Apple iPhone X, which is more than iPhone 8. The sales of iPhone 8 in the first 3 days amount to 4M units.  (UDN, NASDAQ, Street Insider)

Apple iPhone X will be on sale soon, and pre-orders over the world have been positive. Analysts believe this could continue throughout 1Q18, and the supply chain will be beneficial from this. In 2H17, other than iPhone 8 / 8 Plus and X, Apple has lower the prices on 7 / 7 Plus, 6s / 6s Plus and SE, which means it is the first time it is selling 8 models at the same time. (UDN, Laoyaoba)

HTC has announced partnering with TD Bank to provide consumers with a new financing option, the HTC Financing Program. Those interested in picking up a new HTC smartphone will have the opportunity to do so with USD0 down and 0% APR. The only caveats in place is that the device must be purchased via the official HTC website and must be priced at USD599, or higher. (Android Authority, Android Headlines, HTC, TD Bank, CN Beta)

PCs / Tablets

Fujitsu and Lenovo are at the final stage of negotiation of PC business merger. Hidehiro Tsukano, the Chief Financial Officer at Fujitsu, expected a merger agreement may be concluded in 1 month.  (TechWeb, Laoyaoba, Sina, Asia Nikkei, AA Stock, VVCat)

Internet of Things

While the initial wave of self-driving vehicles is expected to begin commercial service in 2019-2020, experts expect the transition from human-driven to automated cars could take a decade or more to roll out. There are currently more than 240 startups worldwide, including 75 in Silicon Valley, attempting to design software, hardware components and systems for future self-driving cars. The investment in untested startup companies remains relatively modest despite all the buzz and lofty expectations.  (Reuters, Laoyaoba, CN Beta, TechWeb)

According to Persistence Market Research (PMR), technology is changing how human is travelling, and expects by 2020 50% of the global vehicles would be connected cars, and by 2025, connected car service market will show some apparent growth. (Digitimes, Laoyaoba)

Peter Thiel is not sure self-driving technology is a good investment because there are a lot of companies doing similar technologies in self-driving cars and it is hard to know how differentiated they are. (TechCrunch, YouTube)

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