01-23: DRAM still under shortage in 2018, but NAND would be tight supply in 3Q18; etc.

Chipsets

TSMC has won orders from more than 50 customers for fabricating chips on the 7nm process to support smartphones, gaming consoles, processors, AI applications, bitcoin mining, and more. TSMC expects its 7nm volume production to kick off in 2Q18 before peaking in 4Q18, with revenue ratio for 7nm process fabrication estimated to reach 10%. The rate for the 10nm process is expected to rise further in 2018. (Laoyaoba, UDN, China Times, LTN, My Drivers, Patently Apple, Fudzilla)

Broadcom announced the industry’s first silicon-proven 7nm intellectual property (IP) for an ASIC platform targeting deep learning and networking applications. Broadcom indicates that TSMC 7nm process technology and CoWoS technologies combined with Broadcom’s IP cores and ASIC design methodology continues to enable best-in-class custom solutions for the end customers. (China Times, Laoyaoba, Globe Newswire, EE News Europe)

Xiaomi Surge S2 is based on TSMC’s 16nm process, mainly octa-core design with 4×A73 @2.2GHz + 4×A53 @1.8GHz, equipped with Mali G71MP8 GPU, supporting UFS 2.1 and LPDDR4, but does not support CDMA network. The first smartphone to be powered by this SoC is the alleged Xiaomi 6X. (CN Beta, My Drivers, Phone Radar, Slash Leaks, WCCFTech)

MediaTek has announced the Sensio MT6381 module for smartphones. The biosensor module, according to MediaTek, “is a personal health companion in your pocket”. To read the health vitals, the module uses a combination of LEDs and a light sensitive sensor to measure the absorption of red and infrared light by the fingertips. (Laoyaoba, Gizmo China)

Samsung is stepping up its efforts to overtake Qualcomm, the world’s number-one AP manufacturer as it successfully develops sales channels mostly to Chinese smartphone vendors for Exynos, an its own-developed AP. Samsung has supplied most of its APs for its own smartphones, and now it is increasing its market share by supplying its APs to Chinese smartphone vendors e.g. Meizu. (Laoyaoba, Business Korea)

Touch Panel

Apple allegedly will launch 3 new iPhone in 2018, one of which will feature 6.1” LCD panel, but the touch panel will be GFF. Touch panel orders will be shared between GIS-KY and TPK-KY. (Laoyaoba, China Times, Taipei Times)

Apple is saddled with a lawsuit from material producer Hebei Hengbo Fine Ceramic Material claiming breach of contract. While Hengbo’s filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is highly redacted, the Chinese firm demands a jury trial for an apparent falling out between Apple over terms of a contract for high purity alumina melt stock, a material used to produce sapphire glass.  (CN Beta, Apple Insider)

Japan Display Inc (JDI) “Full Active” panel is reportedly going to be adopted by Apple for its next-generation iPhone to be launched in 2018. Full Active could achieve 0.5mm thin border, and fulfill full-display requirement. Moreover, it is cheaper than OLED panels. (Laoyaoba, TechNews, iPhone-Mania, Jiji)

Camera

Samsung has detailed new camera features of its newest ISOCELL camera sensors, which the upcoming Galaxy S9 and S9+ flagships will equip. The so-called ‘Super PD’ focus will be able to intelligently “identify the distance of fast-moving objects even in low light for faster and accurate auto focusing”.  The new camera sensors can shoot 480fps slow-mo videos at the acceptable resolution of 1080p Full HD.  (Phone Arena, Samsung, Sam Mobile, CN Beta)

Memory

We expect to see DRAM still under shortage in 2018, but NAND would be over-supply, thanks to the improvement of yield-rate for 3D NAND. The over-supply has already begun in 4Q17, and will continue throughout 1H18. It will achieve balance at the earliest 2Q18, then 3Q18 will enter tight shortage. (China Times, Laoyaoba)

Toshiba is considering an IPO of its memory chip business in the event that the agreed USD18B sale of the prized unit to Bain Capital fails to gain antitrust approval by the end of Mar 2018. (Laoyaoba, Financial Times, CNBC, Reuters)

A U.K. company called Integral Memory will be the first to market with a 512GB microSDXC card. It features a Video Speed Class 10 rating, allowing for transfer speeds up to 80MBps.   (Phone Arena, Business Wire, Engadget, CN Beta)

Sensory

Microelectronics and optoelectronics epitaxial wafer maker Visual Photonics Epitaxy (VPEC) and LED epitaxial wafer and chip maker Epistar are ready to start production of 6” vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) epitaxial wafers in 2Q18 and 3Q18, respectively, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, GG LED)

Smartphones

U.S. Representatives Michael Conaway and Liz Cheney are introducing the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, a bill to bar the U.S. government from using or contracting with Huawei and ZTE, after a House intelligence committee report concluded that their products were insecure for government and military use. (VentureBeat, Congress, The Verge, CN Beta)

Huawei is voted as the most authentic brand in China. Huawei has emerged as the winner of the China mobile phone industry most recommended brand in 2018. The award is based on the China Net Promoter Score (C-NPS) brand ranking and analysis and is collated by a leading brand rating agency in China known as Chnbrand. (Gizmo China, Sohu, 163)

Snow is started by Naver, the Korean firm behind popular messaging app Line, and it has proven popular in Japan, Korea, China and other markets in Asia thanks to a focus on localized filters, stickers and features. It has now obtained a USD50M investment from SoftBank and Sequoia China. Snow is working with SenseTime on facial recognition. (TechCrunch, Deal Street Asia, TechWeb, Baijiahao)

Managing Director of Xiaomi India, Manu Kumar Jain reveals that at present, it has 17 Mi Home stores across India. Xiaomi is ahead of schedule on its plans to open 100 Mi Home stores by mid-2019 in India and also plans to add more preferred partner stores – multi-brand outlets that stock largely Xiaomi products. Xiaomi is looking to strengthen its network beyond online, which accounts for some 70% of local revenue. (Gizmo China, First Post, Reuters, Reuters, Tencent, Huanqiu)

Antutu’s report states that an estimated 17,424,726 smartphones were inspected in 2017, of which smartphone clones accounted for 2.64%. Of the total cloned smartphones, Samsung was the most cloned brand at 36.23%, followed by Apple at 7.72% and Xiaomi at 4.75%. (Ubergizmo, Sam Mobile, Antutu, report)

Apple iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X accounted for 61% of total U.S. iPhone sales in 4Q17, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). That number is lower than the 72% the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus raked in during the same quarter 2016. (CN Beta, Digital Trends, CIRP)

Netflix has announced its 4Q17 earnings results, and revealed that worldwide it added 8.3M customers, “the highest quarter in our history and up 18% vs. 2016 record 7.05M”. The company counts over 110M paying subscribers worldwide, with 52M of them in the US. (Engadget, Netflix, Sohu, 163)

vivo X20 Plus UD is launched with under-display fingerprint scanner – 6.43” 2160×1080 FHD+ AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, front 2×12MP + rear dual 12MP-5MP,  4GB+128GB, Android 7.1.2, 3800mAh, CNY3998. (Gizmo China, CN Beta)

Cubot R11 is launched – 5.5” 1440×720 HD+ IPS, MediaTek MT6580P, front 8MP + rear dual 13MP-2MP, 2GB + 16GB, Android 8.1, 2800mAh. (Cubot, Gizmo China)

LG Aristo 2 is launched with MetroPCS – 5” HD, 1.3GHz quad-core, rear 13MP + front 5MP, 2GB + 32GB, Android 7.0, 2140mAh, USD60. (Phone Arena, MetroPCS)

BLU R2 Plus is launched – 5.5” FHD, MediaTek MT6753, rear 13MP + front 13MP, 3GB + 32GB, Android 7.0, 3000mAh, USD180. (Phone Arena, BLU Products, Amazon)

Wearables

University of Michigan has received a patent on a universal motion sickness countermeasure system they developed to provide light stimuli in the visual periphery of the passenger to mimic what the rider might see outside. This system eliminates the conflict between vestibular and visual inputs. The patent covers both wearable and vehicle-based embodiments of the system. (CN Beta, Engadget, USPTO, Michigan U)

Facebook has announced that Eric Romo, the former CEO and co-founder of AltSpaceVR, is joining its social VR team as Product Director. (TechCrunch, Engadget, Facebook, 7Tin)

Internet of Things

According to Tractica, the rising tide of AI adoption across multiple industries will drive significant growth during the next decade, and the market intelligence firm forecasts that annual worldwide AI software revenue will increase from USD3.2B in 2016 in 2016 to USD89.8B by 2025.  (Laoyaoba, 199IT, Tractica)

Flying cars will hit the U.S. before 2028 according to Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who thinks that the aerial vehicles will be floating around above Dallas, Texas within the next 10 years at some point.  (Android Headlines, Live Mint, The Telegraph, VentureBeat)

 

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