01-14: CES is cooling down, still have some residues – Innolux has demonstrated a new prototype mini-LED display; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm expects global smart speaker market to grow from its current level of 20M~30M units currently to over 80M units in 2020. The market is quite optimistic about the future application prospects of intelligent voice devices. Qualcomm’s new smart audio platform provides smart and network audio chip solutions. (Laoyaoba, EE World, Yahoo, Digitimes)

Touch Display

A new Samsung patent application includes several smartphone design ideas for all-screen smartphone designs with front-facing camera-and-sensor notches. The patent was filed in Jul 2017. It indicates a small notch design at the top right corner to house a camera. (CN Beta, Mobiel Kopen, BGR)

Combined annual production capacity for small- to medium-sized AMOLED panels of China’s makers is expected to grow by CAGR 76% to reach 11.31Mm2 in 2022, accounting for 33.4% of global total capacity, trailing only after Korea, Digitimes Research estimates. This represents a significant growth from the ratio of 7.5% seen in 2017. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, press)

According to Digitimes Research, based on the current development, there are 2 directions for applying micro LED technology: one is small displays with 200ppi-300ppi for wearables, and the other is 55” and larger displays with low ppi such as 15ppi. The low resolution is unnoticeable when viewed from a distance. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, press)

Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) aims to ramp up shipments of its 18:9 all-screen handset panels to 15M units in 2018 compared to 1M units shipped in 2017, according to Digitimes. While the production of all-screen panels will continue to focus on 5.34”, 5.45”, 5.72” and 5.99” sizes, CPT also plans to begin rolling out HD+ 18:9 panels in 2018 in addition to the current HD model. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

A newly-discovered job listing from Sony indicates that in 2018 Sony might launch a smartphone featuring the use of OLED display. (GizChina, Ubergizmo, Xperia Blog, Sina, Tencent)

Korea official approved LG Display (LGD) on 26 Dec 2017 to build a Gen 8.5 OLED panel fab in Guangzhou, Mainland China. LGD aims to increase the investment for its Gen 8.5 OLED production line to be 1/4 of its total OLED investment in coming 3 years. In 2018, LGD’s overall OLED production capacity will achieve 2.8M units, with 64.7% up on year. (Laoyaoba, UDN)

[CES2018] Innolux has demonstrated a new prototype mini-LED display. The 10.1” panel features a resolution of 1540×720 (168 PPI). Innolux says that this type is very suitable for automotive applications. (TechNews, Innolux, MicroLED-Info)

[CES2018] Called DeepFrame, the massive curved displays create life-sized projections that appear as if they are overlaid onto the world around the user. Created by Danish company RealFiction, each display consists of a single piece of clear 64” glass that is made with specially designed optics that are able to reflect an image that is projected from a normal display. AmTran Technology has invested USD1M in RealFiction. (China Times, EE World, Laoyaoba, Engadget, Mashable, New Atlas)

Camera

[CES2018] Huawei CBG CEO Richard Yu claims that camera tech and AI integration are the next big battlegrounds and opportunities for all smartphone manufacturers. Specifically, he wants to bring DSLR like focal lengths and zoom to the mobile ecosystem. (Android Authority, Tech Juice, Gizmo China, Zing Gadget)

[CES2018] OmniVision and Spreadtrum have jointly announced what they call the industry’s first turnkey active stereo 3D camera reference design for smartphones. Pairing OmniVision’s ultra-compact OV9282 and OV7251 global shutter sensors with the Spreadtrum SC9853I applications processor has resulted in an active stereo camera solution. (Digitimes, press, iFeng, PR Newswire)

Memory

Intel is expected to enhance its presence in China’s NAND flash market, with plans to ramp up the capacity of its 12” fab in Dalian and possibly to license its technology to Tsinghua Unigroup for production of 3D NAND flash chips after winding up its cooperative partnership with Micron in the field in 1 year, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, EET China, Laoyaoba)

Sensory

Sony is developing infrared 3D sensors designed for smartphones and augmented reality products, ranging from industrial equipment to self-driving cars. These sensors are said to be able to map 3D environments and even detect objects and people in a scene. Sony intends to begin mass production of these sensors later in 2018, and they could arrive in products before the end of 2018 or in early 2019.  (Android Authority, Bloomberg, Sohu)

Apple is reportedly planning to invest in Korean electric components maker LG Innotek to secure a stable supply of 3D sensing modules for iPhones and iPads to be launched in 2018. LG Innotek said in a regulatory filing on 8 Jan 2018 that it would invest KRW873.7B (USD820.90M) to build additional facilities for its mobile camera module and next-generation module business.  (TechNews, Apple Insider, The Investor, Mac Rumors, iClarified)

Biometrics

FocalTech Systems, a Human-Machine Interface solution provider, announces, the subsidiary Focaltech Smart Sensor launches and demonstrates “aTOM onFlux ID”, which will be the world’s first TFT-LCD and OLED Panel compatible “Under-display Fingerprint Solution”, supporting multiarea sensing. (ESM China, Sohu, 52RD, FocalTech)

Carl Pei, OnePlus Co-Founder, has confirmed the arrival of the Face Unlock feature in both 2016 flagships—OnePlus 3 and 3T. The new security feature probably will be added in a new beta release of OxygenOS. (GizChina, CNET, XDA Developers, Sohu, My Drivers)

Battery

Tesla has began manufacturing its premium solar roof tiles at the company’s Buffalo, New York factory. The solar roof, which generates electricity without the need for traditional rooftop panels, is a cornerstone of the electric vehicle maker’s strategy to sell a fossil-fuel-free lifestyle under the luxury Tesla brand. (Engadget, Reuters, Sina)

LG Chem plans to invest KRW10B to expand the EV battery cell production capacity at its Holland, Michigan U.S.-based EV battery production facility, building one more line. Once the line is put in place, the facility is expected to annually produce battery cells of 3GWh. (iTer News, ET News, TechNews)

Connectivity

Six different companies, including Nissan, Qualcomm, Ericsson, OKI, Continental, and NTT DOCOMO have now announced plans to jointly conduct Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) trials over the course of 2018, with the goal of showing the benefits of the technology as its defined by 3GPP Release 14 specifications. (Android Headlines, Japan Times, Mobile World Live, Qualcomm, Gasgoo, EE World)

Smartphones

Xiaomi has over 300 Mi Stores in China alone. Xiaomi Presidents Lin Bin said that the core objective is to be able open few stores for proper efficiency. Xiaomi’s square-meter store effect reached CNY260K which places it second to only Apple’s CNY400K. (GizChina, Sohu, iFeng, Sohu)

PCs / Tablets

Despite the fierce price competitions from Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell, Asustek Computer and Micro-Star International (MSI) still managed to perform strongly in the gaming notebook sector, together shipping 2.4M~2.5M units in 2017, accounting for around 50% of the worldwide volumes, according to sources from the upstream supply chain, cited by Digitimes. (Digitimes, press)

Internet of Things

BYD has launched an unmanned driving system for its monorail train in Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region. The system will be officially put into use in 2Q18. Huawei Technologies has provided the latest 4.5G eLTE service for the communication system of SkyRail. (CN Beta, TechNode, ECNS)

Huami, a Chinese manufacturer of wearable devices partnered with Xiaomi, filed on Friday with the SEC to raise up to USD150M in an initial public offering. The Hefei, China-based company was founded in 2013 and booked USD295M in sales for the 12 months ended 30 Sept 2017.  (CN Beta, Reuters, NASDAQ, Renaissance Capital)

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