01-04: AT&T has announced to launch mobile 5G services in 12 cities by end of this year; Huawei’s Ren Zhengfei claims the company must correctly treat the low-end segment and its commercial value; etc.

Chipsets

China’s major AI chipmakers, including HiSilicon, Cambricon Technologies, Horizon Robotics and DeePhi Tech, are expected to reap rich harvests in 2018 from their launch of various artificial intelligence (AI) chipsets, mostly ASICs and NPU (neural processing unit) chips, for a variety of applications in 2H17. They have all contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for chip fabrication. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly landed short lead-time orders for HPC (high-performance computing) chips from China-based clients. The short lead-time orders total about 100,000 wafer starts, and will be built using a 12nm process at TSMC, adding shipments of the HPC chips will begin in 1Q18 at a rate of 10,000 starts a month and will accelerate starting 2Q18. (UDN, Digitimes, press, Epoch Times, NTDTV)

Security researchers have disclosed 2 new exploits that can be executed against modern processors. Dubbed “Meltdown” and “Spectre”, the exploits use similar methods to impact processors from Intel, AMD and ARM across PCs, mobile devices and in the cloud. Meltdown and Spectre both allow attackers to break isolation between applications to access information. (Meltdown, Android Central, Linux IDC, Sina)

Intel has fired back at reports that its entire microprocessor family was riddled with a severe security hole, conceding that the vulnerability existed but saying that a fix was in the works and that competing chips were also affected. (Sina, CN Beta, Intel, CN Beta, Business Insider, Fortune)

AMD said its chips were affected by some but not all of a series of related security exploits uncovered by researchers. AMD has already developed a simple software fix for its chips that will not impact PC performance. (CN Beta, Fortune)

Samsung has announced Exynos 9810 as its next-generation Exynos 9 series chipset. It is the 2nd generation 10nm chipset from the company designed for smartphones and smart devices. The Exynos 9810 is an octa-core processor that includes four third-generation custom cores and four cores that are optimized for delivering efficient performance.  (CN Beta, AnandTech, Gizmo China)

Touch Display

LG Display (LGD) is reportedly to start its first OLED shipments for Apple iPhone in 2H18, with related talks with Apple being finalized soon. The first shipments will not be large, totaling about 15M~16M screens for 2018. Samsung Display, the sole OLED supplier for the current iPhone X, produces more than 10M screens per month. (The Investor, Mac Rumors, TechNews)

Sensory

Microsoft has officially discontinued production on the Kinect Adapter, making it practically impossible for new Xbox One S and One X owners who do not already own an adapter to with their consoles. The adapter is also used for making use of the the Kinect with a Windows 10 PC. (My Drivers, The Verge, Polygon)

Memory

Non-volatile memory (NVM) device provider Macronix International has set its capex for 2018 at NTD3.89N (USD130.43M). The 2018 capex is almost on par with the revised NTD4B budget set for 2017. (Digitimes, press, Money DJ, UDN)

Battery

OPPO’s high-end flagship smartphones Find series are coming back. The new flagship may come with Super VOOC (Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging) flash technology. The Super VOOC is capable of recharging a 2,500mAh battery in just 15 minutes. It can also charge a battery to about 45% in just 5 minutes.  (Gizmo China, TechNode, Elecfans)

Accessories producer Avido has revealed its WiBa Wireless Power Bank and Charging Dock, with the Qi-compatible power bank able to wirelessly charge Apple iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus on the move, and is capable of recharging itself via the accompanying dock.  (Android Headlines, Business Wire, Apple Insider, Avido, CN Beta)

Connectivity

According to NPD Group, the average U.S. smartphone user now blows through 31.4GB of data a month via cellular and Wi-Fi in 2017, representing a 25% increase over 2016. (Android Headlines, Twice, NPD)

With USB Type-C interface increasingly applied to smartphones, PCs and notebooks, the global Type-C chip market is very likely to double in 2018, and chip suppliers able to offer total chipset solutions to meet customer requirements for varied product designs will be in a position to cash in on the explosive market demand, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

After the cellular industry agreed on specifications for the next-generation mobile 5G standard in Dec 2017, AT&T has announced to launch mobile 5G services in 12 cities by end of 2018.  (Apple Insider, Engadget, AT&T, Sina, iFeng)

Smartphones

Apple has agreed to buy start-up Buddybuild, a move that could improve the workflow for iOS developers — and thus help the company achieve its goal of dramatically boosting its software and services business. (CN Beta, Buddybuild, TechCrunch, CNBC)

Analyst Nicolas Baratte of investment banking company CLSA has stated Apple iPhone X’s shipment forecasts “remain inflated”, and that any 1Q18 volume estimate over 35M units “will prove too high”. He maintains that 4Q17 iPhone X volumes were at 30M~35M and he is very skeptical that volumes will increase in 1Q18. (CN Beta, CNBC, 9to5Mac, Value Walk, Mac Rumors)

Huawei internally broadcasts president Ren Zhengfei stresses that the company must correctly treat the low-end segment and its commercial value. It is important to defend high-end products with some low-end products to make more profits.  (Laoyaoba, Sohu, Sina)

According to the latest research by TrendForce, Chinese smartphone brands have continued the prior year’s strong growth momentum in 2017, bringing the global smartphone production to 1.46B units, an increase of 6.5% compared with 2016. For 2018, the growth will slow down, and smartphone makers will face heavier cost pressure as the prices of key smartphone components constantly rise. Therefore, TrendForce forecasts the global smartphone production at around 1.53B units, a 5% growth only. (TrendForce[cn], CN Beta, TrendForce, press)

According to Yonhap Infomax, the financial arm of Yonhap News Agency, Samsung Electronics is anticipated to post an operating profit of KRW16T (USD15B) in 4Q17, up 73% from a year earlier. The survey was conducted on 19 local brokerage houses. (Financial Express, 91Mobiles, Gulf-Times, Android Headlines, Yonhap News, Tencent, Sina)

Foxconn’s handset brand InFocus will soon enter the emerging 4G feature phone segment, and it has already begun talks with India’s second largest telco, Vodafone India, for a possible bunding tie-up.The brand has a big focus on the feature phone segment, and it plans to 10 new feature phones in India, aiming to capture around 5% share in the segment by the end of next fiscal year. (TechNews, 52RD, Economic Times)

Music publisher Wixen has recently sued Spotify over allegedly using thousands of songs without the proper license or compensation made to them, and are seeking damages as much as USD1.6B as a result of it. (Ubergizmo, VentureBeat, Reuters, Tencent, iFeng)

LG Electronics is reportedly planning to rebrand its flagship G smartphone series in 1H18 to compete against larger rivals Samsung Electronics and Apple. (Gizmo China, The Investor, iFeng, Yesky)

Since 2011, Zagat has been under Google ownership after acquiring it for USD151M in an effort to push the search giant’s local search efforts. Now, Google is reportedly exploring a potential sale of Zagat. (Android Headlines, Android Authority, Reuters, Tencent, iFeng)

Lenovo K320t is launched in China – 5.7” 720×1440 HD+ 2.5D curved display, Spreadtrum quad-core processor, rear dual 8MP-2MP + front 8MP cameras, 2 / 3GB RAM, 16 / 32GB storage, Android 7.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 3000mAh battery, CNY999. (Gizmo China, GSM Arena)

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt with 16GB storage is launched in India – 5.5” FHD display, Samsung Exynos 7870 processor, 13MP + 8MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 6.0, 3300mAh battery, INR10,999. (GizChina, NDTV, GSM Arena, Flipkart)

PCs / Tablets

Asustek has voted USD16M to set up gaming company in the Mainland to focus on e-sports. In addition, the gaming subsidiary will set up an eSports team “Rogue Warriors” in Shanghai and participate in the Mainland’s “League of Legends”. (TechNews, TechNews, CN Beta, Fonow)

Wearables

Samsung has a SmartSuit to help Winter Olympic athletes train. The SmartSuit is being provided to a pair of Dutch short track racers courtesy of Samsung Netherlands, which developed the wearable in conjunction with coach Jeroen Otter and scientist Bjorn de Laat.  (CN Beta, SlashGear, Engadget, Samsung)

Internet of Things

Amazon has announced that Prime members shipped over 5B items using the service in 2017. The Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot were the best-selling products purchased by Prime members in the US. (TechCrunch, Engadget, Business Wire, Sina)

Kuangda Technology announces that the company has signed strategic collaboration with Chealsea Vanguard Fund and Pacific Alliance Investment Fund. (Reuters, Laoyaoba)

Acer is planning to develop AI applications including those for FinTech, autonomous driving and medical care, according to Maverick Shih, president for the company’s BYOC Smart Product business unit. Shih pointed out that Acer has released HPC servers capable of supporting deep learning and is looking to form partnerships with outside players to develop AI applications for different industries. (Digitimes, press, CNYES)

United Kingdom Transport Secretary Chris Grayling indicates he want UK to be a country that has the first of self-driving vehicles on the road. In 2019, the UK will become the first country in the world where self-driving cars can be tested without a human on board in case of emergency. (CN Beta, Financial Times, The Sun)

LG is to unveil 3 new robots, specifically developed for commercial use at hotels, airports and supermarkets. Under LG’s new “CLOi” robot brand, the CLOi serving robot, CLOi porter robot and CLOi shopping cart robot follow in the footsteps of the CLOi airport guide robot and the CLOi airport cleaning robot. (CN Beta, Engadget, Business Insider)

Baidu and BlackBerry has inked a new partnership to work jointly on self-driving car technology. The partnership will see BlackBerry’s QNX software being used as the basis for Baidu’s Apollo self-driving platform. (Ubergizmo, Reuters, CN Beta, VentureBeat)

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