12-10: Microsoft and Google are allegedly among companies that have expressed private concerns to Qualcomm about a Broadcom takeover; Honor plans on becoming the largest smartphone vendor in India by 2020; etc.

Chipsets

SUMCO said that it planned to invest JPY43.6B (USD396M) on building a new 12” wafer fab in Japan to help mitigate supply constraints. SUMCO expects the new fab to start operation in 1H19, which should help SUMCO add 110,000 12” silicon wafers a month to its existing capacity. (Wealth, EE World, DRAMeXchange, Laoyaoba, Taipei Times)

The plant in Hefei, Anhui Province, is operated by Nexchip Semiconductor, a joint venture between Powerchip and the Hefei City Government with CNY12.8B (USD1.89B) investment has begun operation from 6 Dec 2017. By end of 2017, it can achieve monthly production of 3000 units, and expects in 2018, one fab could achieve monthly production of 40,000 units of 12” wafer. (HQEW, ESM China, Nexchip, Laoyaoba, Taipei Times)

AMD’s next generation Ryzen 2 CPUs are set to debut on 12nm process technology in 1Q18. The new lineup comprised of 2000 series Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 2000 microprocessors is said to bring higher clock speeds and better overclockability to the table in addition to support for faster DDR4 RAM. (WCCFTech, Tweak Town, AnandTech, CN Beta)

Microsoft and Google are allegedly among companies that have expressed private concerns to Qualcomm about a Broadcom takeover. The companies are wary of Apple’s potential influence over a deal. They are also worried about Broadcom’s reputation of cutting costs rather than investing in new technology. (Phone Arena, CNBC, Sina, 163, Huanqiu)

Touch Display

Samsung has filed a new patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The foldable device would sport not one but two large displays. They will be attached through a metal strip between them. The metal frame can fold in different ways to let customers fold the device in and out. (GizChina, BGR, Deccan Chronicle, Value Walk, Lets Go Digital, iFeng)

Microsoft’s new patent on foldable device describes one side of the device as having a sensor, which might have a 120º field of view, for example. The other side has an “optical arrangement”, which when placed above the sensor, can have a field of view of 60º or 90º. This would give the effect of zoom but without compromising image quality. (Laoyaoba, Neowin)

Sensory

With Android-based smartphones vendors expected to incorporate 3D sensors into their smartphone models following Apple’s adoption of TrueDepth facial recognition system of iPhone X, Taiwan players in the related supply chain, including upstream suppliers of gallium arsenide (GaAs) wafers and makers of VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface emitting laser) components, as well as those providing backend packaging and testing of DOE (diffractive optical element) and WLO (wafer level optics) components are poised to embrace tremendous business opportunities in 2018, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Moore)

Digital camera and imaging solution supplier Altek expects 3D sensing to see strong demand in the next 5~8 years, according to company chairman and CEO Alex Hsia. Altek has also taped out AL 6100, a new-generation 3D sensing IC. AL 6100 is being validated and will come into production in 1Q18. AL 6100 can be applied to smartphones, surveillance systems, autonomous driving, smart home assistants, drones and cleaning robots. (China Times, TechNews, UDN, Digitimes, press)

Yole Développement, which completed this week a teardown of Apple iPhone X TrueDepth module in collaboration with its partner, System Plus Consulting.  They deduced that silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers are being used in near-infrared (NIR) imaging sensors. They noted that SOI, developed by SOITEC, has played a key role in improving the sensitivity of NIR sensors from STMicroelectronics to meet Apple’s stringent demands. (MEMS, Laoyaoba, EE Times)

Connectivity

China Telecom has connected its base towers in Lanzhou, making the city the sixth in just over a month to be host to a 5G pilot area. At the end Nov 2017, the National Development and Reform Commission said the country’s 5G network would start to take shape with pilots in at least 5 cities, as part of a broader plan for 2018. Then on 1 Dec Chengdu became the 5th host to announce a pilot. Shenzhen was the first to get a pilot 5G network, on 27 Oct.  (CN Beta, Tencent, People.com, Huanqiu, RCR Wireless, Technode)

Smartphones

The president of Huawei Honor George Zhao said that their plan is to bring in more affordable smartphones to India. These phones are expected to not be more than INR10,000 (~USD155). Honor plans on becoming the largest smartphone vendor in India by 2020. (Android Headlines, Gizmo China, Huanqiu, Huanqiu)

Evercore ISI thinks Microsoft can hit a USD1T market cap by 2020. The analysts cite Microsoft 365 products as a growth driver and expect the business to generate USD26.86B in sales in FY2021, which starts in 2H20. (MS Poweruser, Seeking Alpha, CN Beta)

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