12-03: BOE has already started Micro LED R&D; LGD aims to develop a foldable panel with a curvature of 2.5R by 2018 and one with a curvature of the 1.0R level by 2019; etc.

Chipsets

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple is already working with FPCB manufacturer Career on designs for MacBook that will not only save space, but improve internal data transmission capabilities. Additionally, Career is also thought to be working on new Apple Watch LTE antenna designs that integrate LCP as a base material. Watch’s existing cellular antennas, also made by Career, are built on polyamide FPCBs.  (Apple Insider, CN Beta)

Apple is allegedly designing its own main power management chips for use in iPhones as early as in 2018, cutting dependence on Dialog Semiconductor. Such new chips will be solely manufactured by TSMC. Apple’s main power management chips for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch are now exclusively designed and made by Dialog, according to Credit Suisse. Apple accounted for 74% of Dialog’s revenue in 2016. (CN Beta, 9to5Mac, Asia Nikkei)

Cowen and Co analyst Karl Ackerman indicates that if Broadcom’s unsolicited USD103B bid for Qualcomm succeeds, it could set up a battle with Intel for dominance in the production of the next generation of communications chips, which will play a vital role in so-called connected cars. Intel is looking to compete with Qualcomm in the 5G revolution, which would link smartphones, cars, drones, and industrial devices to the Internet. (Market Realist, CNBC, Laoyaoba)

MediaTek corporate VP Jerry Yu indicates that there are 2 big BUs in the company namely wireless products (including mobile phone) and home entertainment business. Home entertainment BU includes IoT business, which has 25% share of the company’s business. Currently MediaTek has more than 70% share of the smart speaker market. (Sina, Laoyaoba, JRJ, XCN News)

Touch Display

BOE is showcasing a 6.18” OLED display, using COP design technology, resolution reaches 2K 2992×1440, PPI is 537 and brightness is 390nit. (GizChina, OfWeek, CN Beta)

Earlier in Sept 2017, Ko Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s IM Division indicates the company aims to launch a foldable smartphone in 2018. It is highly likely that Samsung will name the foldable smartphone to be launched next year “Galaxy X.” Samsung Display has developed a foldable panel with a curvature of 1.0R. The curvature of 1.0R means that the panel can be completely folded inward like paper. (Laoyaoba, 36Kr, Sina, BGR, Patently Apple, Business Korea)

LG Display (LGD) is reportedly planning to develop a foldable panel with a target curvature of 2.5R by the end of 2017. The company aims to develop a foldable panel with a curvature of 2.5R by 2018 and one with a curvature of the 1.0R level by 2019. (Laoyaoba, 36Kr, Sina, BGR, Patently Apple, Business Korea)

A series of Samsung’s new patents in the WIPO (World International Property Office) database show a device with a curved display on both sides. The proposed smartphone has a 180º curved display that curves all the way to the rear. In the patent, Samsung says it offers a “completely new user experience” and an “improved grip”. (Laoyaoba, The News Minute, XDA Developers, Forbes, LetsGoDigital)

Samsung has reportedly planned to invest NTD4.5B (USD150M) in PlayNitride to develop Micro LED displays for wearable devices and Micro LED TVs. Charles Li, CEO of PlayNitride, said the number of companies that want to invest in PlayNitride is more than expected and nothing is certain at this point. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek, UDN, LED Inside)

Smartisan CEO Luo Yonghao has shared his way of calculating display screen ratio—display active area (excluding the black borders) / phone body (excluding the side buttons). He believes this way of calculation is stricter, and a lot of smartphones do not have the screen ratio of what they claim. (CN Beta, My Drivers)

BOE indicates that Micro LED is a new generation of display technology. The structure is micro-sized LED, which also inherits the LED features. Micro LED advantages include low power consumption, high brightness, very responsive, etc. BOE has already started Micro LED R&D. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek, ZOL)

Memory

The memory industry is experiencing a strong growth phase: the total memory market is expected to increase at a 9% CAGR 2016-2022, reaching about USD135B by 2022, with DRAM and NAND constituting almost 95% market share. Moreover, a supply-demand mismatch is pushing memory device ASP , resulting in big memory IDMs reaping record profits. According to Yole Développement, the total 2016 memory packaging market is estimated at about USD20B with a 4.6% CAGR until 2022. Therefore, memory devices are using diverse packaging from lead-frame based to TSV.  (Yole Development, press, Laoyaoba)

China-based NOR flash supplier GigaDevice Semiconductor has announced subscribing to HKD532.5M (USD68.43M) worth of new shares issued by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Company (SMIC), in a move to further enhance its strategic cooperation with the wafer foundry house, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Tencent, TechNews)

Battery

Xiaomi Mi 7 is reportedly going to be equipped with wireless charging, using the same suppliers as Apple—the same Broadcom chip and NXP transmitter that provides wireless charging feature on iPhones. Xiaomi is allegedly gearing up for mass production before 16 Feb 2018 Spring Festival day. (GizChina, CN Beta, My Drivers)

Biometrics

The LG G7 is rumored to feature an OLED display, with the fingerprint sensor to be placed under the screen rather than the back.  (Business Korea, BGR, Laoyaoba, Mobilesyrup)

Connectivity

Samsung and Japanese telecom company KDDI have announced they are able to demonstrate the use of 5G technology on a moving train. During the testing, successful handovers of downlink and uplink transmissions were achieved while the train was moving at a speed of 100km/hour (equivalent to 62.1mph). While this was going on, Samsung and KDDI were able to post a peak data speed of 1.7Gbps. (Phone Arena, Samsung, Fierce Wireless, Huanqiu, TechNews)

China is one step closer to achieving the reality of seamless, super high speed communications that will enable driverless cars, virtual reality education and nationwide health care services after a partnership comprising China Mobile, Qualcomm and ZTE accelerated efforts to finalise technical standards for the next generation of smartphones. (CN Beta, Huanqiu, Laoyaoba, Qualcomm, EE Times, SCMP)

Smartphones

According to IDC’s forecast, overall smartphone shipments will steadily grow from 1.5B units in 2017 to 1.7B units in 2021. Meanwhile, phablets (smartphones with a screen size of 5.5”~7”) will far outpace total market growth by climbing from 611M units in 2017 to 1B units in 2021, representing a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1%. (IDC, press, Laoyaoba)

Xiaomi is rumored most likely to opt for a Hong Kong listing in 2018, although the New York Stock Exchange still has not been ruled out. The market is estimating that Xiaomi could go public with a USD69B valuation in 2018. (CN Beta, Android Headlines, Beebom, The Information)

LeEco’s Beijing Headquarters are allegedly on sale for a sum of CNY1.4B (USD211M). The building covers 20,000m2 of gross floor area. (GizChina, Huanqiu, BJ China News, Xinhuanet)

After reporting losses in its mobile division amounting to USD117M, LG has appointed a new CEO of LG Mobile Communications. Hwang Jeong-hwan, who has spent a number of years in the research and development sector at LG, is now the president and CEO of the LG’s mobile division. (Android Headlines, Mobile Syrup, LG, TechCrunch, Yesky, iFeng, Sohu)

Since Mar 2017, the number of Chinese consumers who make 2nd-hand phone business deals on Huanhuan Youpin platform has increased from 1M units per month to 3M units per month. Tsinghua University Circular Economy Industry Research Center Wenzong Guo indicates that only 2% of the abandoned phones go back to the canonical recycling channel. (The Paper, Xinhuanet, CN Beta)

Longhorn IP has announced its first patent assertion in China, a Beijing IP Court lawsuit targeting HTC. The case marks the second notable NPE campaign to be launched in China in the space of a year following WiLAN’s Nov 2016 assertion against Sony in Nanjing. The Longhorn case involves its L2 Mobile Technologies subsidiary. (IAM-Media, Laoyaoba, Longhorn IP, XCN News)

Apple is reportedly planning to ship a second-generation iPhone SE in 1H18, assembled by Wistron at facilities in Bangalore, India. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, CENS, Christian Post, OfWeek, Sina)

According to a study conducted by Radiological Society of North America, the addicted teens had a higher score when it came to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and impulsivity. The MRS exam also revealed that compared to the healthy controls, the addicted teens had higher ratio of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) to glutamate-glutamine in their anterior cingulate cortex. (Ubergizmo, PR Newswire, Science Daily, Independent, RSNA, Cailiao)

An arbitration court ordered BlackBerry to pay USD137M to Nokia to settle a payment dispute and BlackBerry said it would pursue a separate patent infringement case against Nokia. (TechCrunch, Reuters, Market Wired, Sina, JRJ, Sohu)

Samsung flip phone W2018 is launched in China – 2×4.2” FHD AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, rear 12MP OIS + front 5MP cameras, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 7.1.1,  Iris scanner, Bixby voice assistant, 2300mAh battery. (Android Authority, Gizmo China, Laoyaoba, Sina)

Wearables

Amazon has announced a browser-based toolkit called Sumerian that the company hopes will make virtual reality and augmented reality development accessible to people without advanced coding or 3D rendering skills. Currently in preview, Sumerian allows the creation of VR and AR scenes that target platforms like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Google Daydream, and it works with several other Amazon products. (Laoyaoba, TechCrunch, Ars Technica, Geek Wire)

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