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12-14: Huawei is reportedly planning to develop a smartphone display with narrow borders; Sharp will launch a new flagship in Jan 2018 with the highest screen ratio; etc.

Chipsets

MediaTek unveiled MediaTek Sensio, the first 6-in-1 smartphone biosensor module. It is a powerful advanced health monitoring solution, which makes it easy to track heart rate information, blood pressure trends, peripheral oxygen saturation levels and more. (CN Beta, PR Newswire, Digital Trends)

International Business Machines (IBM) has signed up several prominent banks as well as industrial and technology companies to start experimenting with its quantum computers. Samsung, JPMorgan and Barclays Bank are among the 12 organizations IBM selected to get early-access to its latest quantum computing technology, which could eventually help solve difficult problems that are beyond the reach of any conventional supercomputer. (CN Beta, Fortune, Bloomberg)

According to Digitimes, most leading smartphone chip suppliers would rather wait to see what enhanced competitiveness could be achieved by TSMC’s new 7+nm process, lest they should waste money on adopting the existing 7nm node. A smartphone chipset maker is required to ship 120M~150M chips fabricated on 7nm process are required to secure a break-even against the development cost. (Android Headlines, CN Beta, Apple Insider, Digitimes, press)

UMC has passed the capital budget execution of NTD18.99B (USD630M). UMC’s capex in 2017 dropped to USD1.7B, and the overall expansion plan has slowed down. UMC’s Xiamen 12” fab 28nm process capacity is planned to increase from current monthly output of 12,000, to 16,000 in 1Q18, and is expected to reach 25,000 per month in 1 year. UMC will also simultaneously expand 8” fab capacity in Taiwan, Mainland China and United States. (Laoyaoba, China Times, TechNews)

Touch Display

A new Samsung patent published by USPTO shows a potential dual-sided smartphone with a wraparound screen that stretches onto the rear of the device. It shows a large main screen on the front that wraps around to the rear where more apps could potentially be displayed.  (Laoyaoba, The Verge, USPTO)

Japan Display Inc (JDI) announced the development of a 3.6” 803ppi low temperature polysilicon (LTPS) TFT LCD specifically for virtual reality (VR) head mount display (HMD) applications. JDI is accelerating development of even higher LCDs for HMD and plans to finish development of over 1000ppi in 1H18.  (Laoyaoba, HQEW, DV Hardware)

Nowadays, almost all commercially available OLED materials are iridium(III) phosphors, with most of the key patents held by foreign countries, including US and Europe. This currently takes up more than 90 % of the OLED market, and the industry usually needs to pay high licensing fees for mass production. With the funding support of Research Grants Council’s Theme-based Research Scheme (first round), a multi-institutional team led by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has generated products ready for commercialisation and Hong Kong-owned intellectual rights, patents and technological know-how that are industrial-competitive. (HKU, Laoyaoba, Wenweipao, Mingpao)

Huawei is reportedly planning to develop a smartphone display with border width of 0.5mm, and top and bottom border width of 1.5mm. It is really for full display. Huawei aims to reduce its border width 50% smaller of Samsung’s smartphone. The smartphone with such display is planned to launch in 2H18. (TechNews, Laoyaoba, OfWeek)

Sensory

A new venture Ouster is to bring affordable LiDAR sensors to the world. It announced a USD27M series A fundraise led by Cox Enterprises, whose Cox Automotive division owns and offers a variety of auto services including the well-known Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader.com. (TechCrunch, Forbes, Technode, Sohu, Ctoutiao)

Apple has announced plans to pay U.S. firm Finisar, which manufactures the VCSELs (vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers) used in the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera, USD390M out of its USD1B Advanced Manufacturing Fund. The sum should let Finisar exponentially increase its R&D spending and high-volume production. Finisar’s acquisition of a 700,000ft2 manufacturing plant in Sherman, Tex. is directly related to Apple. (Apple Insider, CN Beta)

Connectivity

T-Mobile has agreed to an acquisition of Layer3 TV and will be using the firm’s technology to launch its own TV service in 2018.  (Android Headlines, Variety, Reuters, CC Time)

China Mobile has chosen the United Kingdom as the location for its first Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). Launched on 13 Dec 2017, CMLink is primarily aimed at conveniently and affordably connecting the Chinese citizens in the U.K. with friends and family back in China, while also offering some interesting benefits for tourists traveling to China.  (Digital Trends, CMLink, Yahoo, eBrun, iFeng)

John Suffolk, president and global cyber security & privacy officer, Huawei reveals that 70% of components inside Huawei telecommunications equipment is not Huawei. He indicates that some people would worry of using Chinese company equipment that would bring privacy and security issues. (CN Beta, The Hindu)

Smartphones

Facebook Messenger has grown a lot since it was originally introduced as Facebook Chat way back in 2008. With the introduction of several new features in 2017, Facebook Messenger saw its biggest year yet, with more than 1.3B users globally. (Digital Trends, Facebook, review, Sohu)

Sharp / InFocus mobile phone global CEO Luo Zhongsheng admits that due to low brand awareness, Sharp’s first back-to-China flagship S2 performs below expectation. He thinks they have caught the trend of “full display”. According to Sinno, the overall sales of the first 3 month (Aug~Oct 2017) since S2 launched are about 10,000 units. (CN Beta, IT Home, Sina, 21Jingji)

Sharp mobile phone CEO Luo Zhongsheng reveals that the company will launch a new flagship in Jan 2018 with the highest screen ratio, and this product will lead the industry 3~6 months. He also reveals that in the future Sharp product lines will be more complete. Mid-to-high will be equipped with free-form full display, while low-end will also be 18:9 smartphones. Sharp will pull down the price to below CNY2000 and above CNY1000. (CN Beta, IT Home, Sina, 21Jingji)

Data from analytics firm Mixpanel shows that Apple iPhone X adoption outpaced that of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in late Nov 2017. iPhone X adoption currently stands at 4.76%, ahead of the iPhone 8 Plus at 3.59% and the iPhone 8 at 2.78%. (CN Beta, Business Insider, 9to5Mac)

The USD390M investment for Finisar is the second from Apple’s USD1B Advanced Manufacturing Fund — following a USD200M investment in Corning, which manufactures the glass used in iPhones and other Apple products. Apple COO Jeff Williams told CNBC the USD1B allotted for the Advanced Manufacturing Fund is “absolutely not” a final threshold. (Apple Insider, CNBC, iFeng)

ABI Research believes that as a next wave of innovation approaches, Google and Amazon will emerge as the market’s “leaders” due to continued growth in their apparent strengths. Apple will lag due to innovation complacency. The mobile industry is on the cusp of an important phase of development, as enhanced technologies and innovative user interfaces and experiences seek to breathe new life into the stagnant market. In this ‘post-smartphone’ era, the market is constantly forced to provide users with more immersive touch-less experiences. (CN Beta, ABI Research, Business Insider)

360 Mobile launches N6 series in China: N6 – 5.93” FHD+ display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, rear 13MP + front 8MP cameras, 4 / 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, 5030mAh battery, from CNY1399. N6 Lite – 5.5” FHD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, rear 13MP + front 8MP cameras, 4 GB RAM, 32GB storage, 4020mAh battery, from CNY999. N6 Pro – 5.99” FHD+ display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, dual rear 16MP-2MP + front 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, 4050mAh battery, CNY1699.  (People.com, ChinaZ, CN Beta, CCN, ZOL)

Panasonic Eluga I9 is launched in India – 5” HD display, MediaTek MT6737 processor, rear 13MP + front 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 2500mAh battery, INR7499. (BGR, NDTV)

Wearables

Facebook is trying to close the augmented reality gap with Snapchat with the help of third-party developers. Facebook is now allowing all developers to start building AR experiences for its Facebook Camera. That includes “World Effects” that augment your environment with 3D objects rather than just your selfies. (Digital Trends, Facebook, TechCrunch, Tencent, Boxuu)

Nike has filed a patent for an electronic tracking system to help train golfers. Patent drawings show players would get important stats about their game. They could get information on the speed, trajectory and spin of a ball.   (CN Beta, Daily Mail)

Glo has raised USD3M from Alibaba for its location-based virtual reality entertainment stations, and it has also licensed its GloStation technology platform to IMAX for its VR Centre in Los Angeles. (VentureBeat, Heix)

Internet of Things

The smart audio devices market is projected to hit a value of USD10B by revenue in 2022 with the increasing number of audio device manufacturers who are incorporating artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant solutions to their offerings, according to Juniper Research. That represents a tremendous growth from the current estimate of USD2.5B in revenue in 2017 for smart audio devices, and the market is forecast to reach a 300% growth over the next 5 years.  (Android Headlines, Juniper Research, Business Wire)

Google has announced that it will be opening a China-based research and development center focused on artificial intelligence. The move nods to the country’s growing strength in A.I., thanks to substantial government funding prompted by Beijing’s ambition of having a say in the technologies of the future. (Android Authority, NY Times, iFeng)

BMW cars will have a steering wheel and driver controls for the foreseeable future – even when fully autonomous, according to Robert Irlinger, boss of the firm’s i division. Irlinger said BMW’s focus will always be on personal mobility and that it will continue to build cars for drivers to enjoy.  (CN Beta, BMW Blog, Autocar, Motor Articles)

Hisense has announced new Amazon Alexa integrations for two of its appliance products: its Wi-Fi-connected HiSmart air conditioner and HiSmart dehumidifier. The products can now change cooling settings, dehumidifying modes, and other features via voice. (CN Beta, SlashGear, The Verge)

ZTE has released a new generation of ZTE’s ThingxCloud IoT platform products. It is a basic IoT cloud platform with advanced technology architecture and a wealth of basic capabilities, can well connect APPs and devices while generating data internally. (IoT CN, Sina, ZTE)

Microsoft announces a number of AI enhancements it is bringing to Office 365 and Cortana. (VentureBeat, ZDNet, Windows Central, CNET, Microsoft, Sina)

Morgan Stanley is launching a new “space disruptor series”, starting with 90 private companies the firm says are changing the industry. Morgan Stanley divvies up the space sector into 11 sub-industries: satellite launch, satellite internet, deep space exploration, lunar landing, earth observation, asteroid mining, space debris, space tourism, space research, manufacturing and other. (CN Beta, CNBC)

 

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