01-18: Samsung has unveiled 5G modem chip solution Exynos 5G; Sharp will begin to mass-produce OLED panels for smartphones as soon as 1Q18; etc.

Chipsets

Samsung Electronics has reportedly nearly completed its development of neural processing units, or “AI chips,” to help boost capabilities of artificial intelligence software for servers and mobile devices. Samsung is likely to show off some of its NPU capabilities possibly through the debut of the upcoming flagship Galaxy S9. (Korea Herald, Android Authority)

System LSI Business Department of the DS Division at Samsung has unveiled 5G modem chip solution Exynos 5G. The prototype will be shipped to the Wireless Business Division of Samsung in 2H18. Exynos 5G modem chip satisfies Release 15, an early 5G standard set by the 3GPP, a global mobile telecommunication standardization cooperation organization. 3GPP 5G Release 15 will be completed in Jun 2018. (Android Headlines, VentureBeat, Business Korea, Digitimes, Sohu)

Samsung has announced a new mid-range mobile processor dubbed the Exynos 7872 SoC.  Built on a 14nm process with two clustered hexa-core CPU and a Mali-G71 GPU, the new Exynos 7872 SoC comes with support for an LTE Cat. 7 2CA modem (300Mbps down, 150Mbps up) with Wi-Fi 802.11n dual-band (but no ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo. (GSM Arena, GizChina, Samsung, Phone Arena, 163)

Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said 2M vehicles from BMW, Nissan Motor and Volkswagen AG would use its unit Mobileye’s autonomous vehicle technology to crowdsource data for building maps that enable autonomous driving. Intel will also tie up with SAIC Motor, which will use Mobileye technology to develop cars in China. (Laoyaoba, Reuters)

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to total USD451B in 2018, an increase of 7.5% from USD419B in 2017, according to Gartner. Gartner analyst Ben Lee indicates that favorable market conditions for memory sectors that gained momentum in 2H16 prevailed through 2017 and look set to continue in 2018, providing a significant boost to semiconductor revenue. (Gartner, report, Laoyaoba)

Touch Display

Sigmaintell indicates that entering Jan 2018, mobile phone market off-season is coming, and phone panel prices are dropping.  Till 2017, all the panel factories 18:9 panel products already entering mass production and shipment, becoming the mainstream standard. The competition is high, especially for LTPS 18:9 products, the cost down is obvious. (Sigmaintell, Laoyaoba)

Global ODM TV shipments by the top-15 suppliers reached 84.9M units in 2017, increasing 18.1% from a year earlier, according to Simgaintell. However, global TV shipments by brand vendors saw a decline of 4% on year to 228M units in 2017. Outsourced orders by brand TV vendors increased 15% on year in 2107 as brand vendors were seeking to scale down production costs caused by high panel prices by outsourcing more of their entry-level models to ODMs. (Sigmaintell, press, Sina, Digitimes, press)

Sharp will begin to mass-produce OLED panels for smartphones as soon as 1Q18 and plans to launch new smartphones featuring its own OLED displays in Jun / Jul 2018, according to company president and CEO Dai Jeng-wu. Sharp is ready for volume production of OLED panels but actual shipments will be set in accordance with clients’ product launch schedules. (Digitimes, press, Gizmo China, CN Beta)

Memory

Nanya Technology general manager indicates that DRAM cost will continue to go up in 1H18, but the increase rate will astringe. In 2H18, it depends on Samsung and SK Hynix increase of production capacity to decide. Both companies will increase the production based on the market demand, and the market will go back to healthy stage in 2019. (Laoyaoba, Sina, ESM China)

Sensory

China’s massive South-to-North Water Diversion Project has 3 artificial canals, each more than 1000km long. More than 100K individual sensors stud the 1400km waterway, which connects the Danjiangkou reservoir to Beijing and Tianjin. For 2016, it has been scanning the canal for structural damage, tracking water quality and flow rates, and watching for intruders, whether humans or animals. (Internet of Business, IEEE, Android Headlines, Limitlessiq, XCN News)

Connectivity

Ericsson has said that it will have a 5G compatible version of its Radio Dot System by 2019. The company “introduced” the 5G Radio Dot – a new line of its DAS-lite small cells. The new access points will be able to offer 2Gbps speeds, and will add band support across the 3-6GHz range that are targeted as a pioneer 5G band. (CN Beta, Fierce Wireless, Mobile Network, Telecoms, Mobile Europe)

Smartphones

Apple has announced that it expects to contribute USD350B to the U.S. economy during the next 5 years, picking up some 20,000 jobs in the process. The company expects to pay some USD38B in taxes on the newly domesticated money, which it says will be the largest payment of its kind ever made. (Apple Insider, Tencent, Sina)

Component suppliers in Apple iPhone supply chain are likely to be forced to prolong their Lunar New Year holidays in 1Q18 due to low order visibility for iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, according sources from the supply chain cited by Digitimes. Component orders for iPhone devices will come 15%-30% less than expected for 1Q18 due mostly to seasonal factors. (Digitimes, press, Apple Insider, Laoyaoba)

Apple iPhone accounted for 39% of activations in the United States in Oct~Dec 2017, up from 34% in the year-ago quarter, based on CIRP’s survey of 500 people who activated a new or used smartphone during that period. Samsung was the runner-up with a 32% share of activations during the quarter, trailed by LG at 13%.  (Laoyaoba, Mac Rumors, Apple Insider, 9to5Mac)

In Dec 2017, after announcing plans to open its first AI lab in China, Google is expanding again through a move into Shenzhen. Google has opened an office in the Chinese city, which borders Hong Kong and known for being a global hardware hub. (CN Beta, Engadget, TechCrunch, Financial Times)

Xiaomi SVP Wang Lingming, who is mainly responsible for sales and service business announces that Xiaomi is aiming to use 10 quarters, which is 2.5 years to go back to top 1 in China. (Laoyaoba, CNMO, Sohu)

Meizu M6s is announced – 5.7” 1440×720 HD+ display, Samsung Exynos 7872 processor, rear 16MP + front 8MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32 / 64GB storage, Flyme 6.2, side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 3000mAh battery, from CNY999. (Android Central, The Verge, GSM Arena)

Samsung Galaxy On7 Prime is launched in India – 5.5” FHD display, Samsung Exynos 7870 processor, rear 13MP + front 13MP cameras, 3 / 4GB RAM, 32 / 64GB storage, Android 7.1.1, 3300mAh battery, from INR12,990. (Android Central, Android Authority, Economic Times)

Alcatel 3C is official in Italy – 6” 1440×720 HD+ display, MediaTek MT8321 processor, rear 8MP + front 5MP cameras, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, rear fingerprint scanner, 3000mAh battery, EUR129.99. (GSM Arena, Gizmo China, HD Blog)

Internet of Things

Alphabet’s Google, Singapore state investor Temasek and Chinese online platform Meituan-Dianping are investing in Indonesian ride-hailing start-up Go-Jek as part of a USD1.2B fundraising round. As Go-Jek’s rivals Grab and Uber Technologies have expanded their presence in the region, the need for backing from deep-pocketed investors has risen. (TechCrunch, Reuters, iFeng, Sina, Tencent)

Chinese online retailer JD.com has made an investment in Vietnamese e-commerce firm Tiki.vn, expanding its Southeast Asia business amid growing competition in the region from Alibaba Group and Amazon.com. JD.com co-led the financing with Vietnamese entertainment and social media firm VNG Corp, which is an existing investor. (TechCrunch, Reuters, iFeng, Sina)

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