01-27: Qualcomm has partnered with a number of Chinese vendors on a new 5G project meant to lead to the commercialization of 5G-ready Android smartphones in 2019; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm and a number of Chinese original equipment manufacturers, including Lenovo, Xiaomi, ZTE, OPPO and vivo, partnered on a new 5G project meant to lead to the commercialization of 5G-ready Android smartphones in 2019. Under the “5G Pioneer” initiative, Qualcomm will help create a platform for the companies to build phones running on 5G. (Android Headlines, CNET, Qualcomm, Forbes, Financial Times, Xinhuanet, TechNews)

Qualcomm has signed four memoranda of understanding (MoU) with Lenovo, OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi, as those four companies are interested in purchasing Qualcomm’s RF Front End (RFFE) components with a value of USD2B. (Android Headlines, Android Authority, PR Newswire, Xuangubao)

Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo — three of the largest smartphone manufacturers from China, have come out opposing Broadcom’s hostile bid to acquire mobile chipset giant Qualcomm.  (Gizmo China, CN Beta)

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf indicates that Qualcomm pulled in USD3B in non-smartphone revenue in 2017 – up 75% from 2 years ago. The company claims wireless technology’s expansion into new industries boosts its market opportunities from USD23B in 2015 to USD150B in 2020. (CN Beta, San Diego, iFanr)

According to IC Insights, for 2018, semiconductor unit shipments are forecast to climb to 1,075.1B, which equates to 9% growth for the year. Starting in 1978 with 32.6B units and going through 2018, the compound annual growth rate for semiconductor units is forecast to be 9.1%, a solid growth figure over the 40 year span. (IC Insights, press, Laoyaoba)

Third-party smartphone application processor providers including Qualcomm, MediaTek and Spreadtrum are expected to adopt a more conservative approach to promoting their solutions in 2018 due to increasing competition from in-house solution developers such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press)

Touch Display

Brigham Young University (BYU) have created a true 3D hologram, or “volumetric image”.  They have devised a free-space volumetric display platform, based on photophoretic optical trapping, that produces full-color, aerial volumetric images with 10-micron image points by persistence of vision. (Engadget, BYU, Nature, Huanqiu)

Apple has been developing 4 next-generation iPhone projects: a 5.7”~5.8” LCD device; a 6.0”~6.1” LCD device; a 6.0”~6.1” OLED device; and a 6.4”~6.5” OLED device, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst Luke Lin. But the vendor is likely to eventually launch the 2 LCD phones and the 6.4”~6.5” OLED one. (Apple Insider, Digitimes, press, Sohu)

Sensory

A new research suggests Facebook is working on AR applications that could not just modify or replace face, but entire body. Facebook has recently developed a new technology that can accurately detect body poses and segment a person from their background.  (Facebook, TechCrunch, Sina)

Smartphones

OPPO CEO, Tony Chen reveals the company’s plan is to enter into developing as well as developed markets hence its decision to launch in Japan and Europe.  At the moment, OPPO phones are sold in Egypt, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam to name a few. (Android Headlines, Gizmo China, IT Home)

According to Counterpoint, India’s overall mobile phone shipments grew 37% and smartphone shipments grew 12% with feature phones growing an astonishing 55% during 4Q17. Xiaomi (259%), iTel (213%), Huawei (165%), vivo (115%) and OPPO (104%) were the fastest growing smartphone brands during 2017. Counterpoint expects the 4G feature phone segment will be a 200M unit opportunity by volume.  (GSM Arena, Counterpoint, press, Sohu, From Geek)

According to GfK, global smartphone sales reached 397M units in 4Q17, a 1% increase year-on-year. Global smartphone average sales price (ASP) increased by 10% year-on-year to USD363, its fastest quarterly growth rate to date.  (GfK, press, GSM Arena)

According to Canalys, the growth story of the world’s largest smartphone market, China, came to an end as it suffered its first-ever annual decline, with shipments down by 4% from 2016 to 459M units in 2017. This drop was partly due to China having one of its worst year-on-year performances in 4Q17, with shipments plummeting by over 14% to just under 113M units. (Canalys, press, TechCrunch, 163, iFeng)

According to a statement by a Samsung India spokesperson that was made to IANS,“As per the German research firm GfK, which tracks sales to end consumers, in the Oct-Dec 2017 quarter, Samsung had a 45% value market share and 40% volume market share.” The spokesperson adds, Samsung is a full-range player and leads the smartphone business across every segment of the India market in 2017. More importantly, Samsung is India’s ‘Most Trusted’ brand.  (Ubergizmo, First Post, iFeng)

Counterpoint has released a special report jointly with JD.comshowing the top online selling Chinese phones. The report showcases Huawei Honor-series smartphones have no equals. the Huawei Honor 8 Youth Edition/Play 6X / 8, and Honor 9 are among the bestselling smartphones at Jingdong. Though the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X is on the top. (199IT, iFeng, Sohu, GizChina, report)

UnionPay International and Huawei have inked a global cooperation agreement in Shenzhen to jointly launch Huawei Pay in markets outside the Chinese Mainland. This is the debut of Huawei Pay outside mainland China since it was jointly lauched in mainland China by UnionPay and Huawei in 2016.  (CN Beta, NFC World, UnionPay)

According to Digitimes Research analyst Luke Lin, For the entry-level sector, Apple is preparing a new inexpensive smartphone similar to the iPhone SE for 2018, featuring the wireless charging functionality, but not 3D sensing. The smartphone will begin mass production in 2Q18 with the official launch in May / Jun 2018. (Apple Insider, Digitimes, press, TMT Post, Sina)

Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc indicates that no more insider builds of Windows 10 Mobile are coming. Windows 10 Mobile phones will still receive monthly security updates from Microsoft, but nothing else is expected to be pushed out. (CN Beta, WCCFTech, On MSFT, Phone Arena)

Yulong Computer Communications Technology (Shenzhen), a subsidiary of the Coolpad Group has sued Xiaomi and 3 others to court over alleged patent infringements. All 3 patents are said to relate to app icon management, notifications, and system UI. (Gizmo China, IT Home, Sohu)

Fujitsu allegedly to sell its mobile phone business to a domestic investment fund for some JPY50B. Fujitsu will reportedly sell a majority stake in its wholly-owned subsidiary Fujitsu Connected Technologies to Polaris Capital Group. (GizChina, Reuters, Japan Times, Laoyaoba)

HiSense H11 is launched – 5.99” 2160×1080 FHD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, rear dual 12MP (2x optical zoom) -8MP (telephoto) + front 20MP, 4GB+64GB / 6GB+64GB / 6GB+128GB, Android 7.0, 3400mAh, from CNY2599. (Gizmo China, Tech.China, Qianlong)

BLU Pure View is launched – 5.7” 720×1440 HD+, MediaTek MT6753, rear 8MP+ front dual 8MP-8MP, 3GB + 32GB, USD199. (Phone Arena, Amazon)

Shenzhen-based iLa launches Honglajiao 7X – 5.5” 1440×720 HD+, MediaTek MT6750, rear 13MP + front 5MP, 4GB + 64GB, 2800mAh, rear fingerprint scanner, Android 7.0, CNY899. (My Drivers, My Drivers, CNMO, Laoyaoba, Xiaolajiao)

Wearables

Tencent Holdings has made an investment in David Ellison’s Skydance Media as part of a strategic partnership. In 2017, Skydance Media began branching out into games with Skydance Interactive, with a focus on virtual reality. (VentureBeat, Deadline, Manager Share)

Internet of Things

Apple has expanded its California self-driving test fleet to 27 vehicles. Since receiving a permit to test 3 autonomous cars in California in Apr 2017, Apple has registered 24 more Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles. Apple’s initial registration involved Lexus SUVs leased from Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (Engadget, Bloomberg, The Verge, 36Kr, Sina)

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