02-02: A series of financial reports — Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet; Intel allegedly plans to sell a majority stake in its augmented reality (AR) business; etc.

Chipsets

New startup otureo.ai has launched a new an ultra low-power asynchronous convolutional neural network chip for the Internet of Things (IoT). The asynchronous architecture adopted by this chip follows completely different design principles of previous types of AI chips in this field, and at the same time, it incorporates many items such as fixed-point, automatic pruning, and multi-layer optimized memory access Technology that can greatly reduce the power consumption required for data analysis in loT scenarios. (Laoyaoba, HQEW, Leiphone, Lieyunwang)

Shenzhen-based AI vision chipset company eyemore has launched eyemore X42 vision chipset. It is a dedicated imaging chip based on ultra-large-scale computing, self-developed imaging algorithm and more than 500+ scenarios data. It mainly solves the key pain points of high-quality imaging under complex light conditions such as low light, backlight, and reflection in AI vision. (EE World, Sina, Laoyaoba, eyemore)

Touch Display

KAIST has developed flexible vertical micro LEDs (f-VLEDs) using anisotropic conductive film (ACF)-based transfer and interconnection technology. The team also succeeded in controlling animal behavior via optogenetic stimulation of the f-VLEDs. (Laoyaoba, TechNews, KAIST)

Storage

In 2017 NAND Flash is in shortage, especially for TLC. However, a lot of fabs are using SLC or MLC, thus the shortage impact is minor. Now NAND Flash costs are back to normal, with some fabs are back using TLC. Transcend has announced launching new 2.5” and M.2 industry level SSD, first time to use 3D TLC NAND for embedded solution. (Semi Insights, Laoyaoba, UDN)

Biometrics

A recent Canon patent shows a fingerprint sensor not only on the front of a camera body, but also on the side of a lens. With photographers’ pricey gear an attractive target for thieves, Canon’s idea of locking up the equipment with fingerprint ID could go some way to discouraging criminals from going after the gear. (Digital Trends, USPTO, iFeng, Sina, Sohu)

Phones

According to Counterpoint Research, the US market sold-through 51.2M smartphones during the holiday season quarter of 2017.  Apple sell-through during this period was a record 22.39M smartphones.  Apple was able to grow their sell-through market share from 37% to 44%. This is the highest ever market share for Apple in its home market. (Apple Insider, Counterpoint Research, press, Tencent)

According to a settlement website set up by the law firm Girard Gibbs, members of a lawsuit against LG for G4, V10, V20, Nexus 5X, and G5 bootloop problems have received a settlement offer. The suit went to arbitration summer 2017. LG is offering class plaintiffs either USD425 as a cash settlement or a USD700 rebate toward the purchase of a new LG phone.  (CN Beta, Android Police, Ars Technica, 9to5Google, Girard Gibbs)

Pandora has announced that it is laying off about five percent of its employee base as it switches to new services automating some of its advertising and marketing, investing in more non-music content, and with “other cost-saving measures”, with a goal of saving USD45M annually. (TechCrunch, Pandora, Tencent, iFeng)

Microsoft has reported earnings for its F2Q18, including revenue of USD28.9B, net income of USD7.5B. All three of the company’s operating groups saw growth. The quarter’s results also included a net charge of USD13.8B due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (VentureBeat, Microsoft, ZOL, iFeng)

Deutsche Bank writes that Apple iPhone X is too expensive to fuel a so-called “super cycle” and Street estimates for the Mar 2017 and Jun 2017 quarters are still too high. Deutsche Bank supply chain analyst Birdy Lu has remained more cautious on build plans, expecting 52M total iPhone units to be produced in 1Q18, 25M which are expected to be iPhone X.  (Zero Hedge, Laoyaoba)

In 2017, Google’s parent company Alphabet generated USD110.9B– an increase of 23% compared to its total earnings in 2016. Google’s hardware sales – such as the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, Home Mini, etc. – are grouped under a category called “Other Revenues.” Google reported revenue of USD4.69B, which was up 38% compared to a year earlier. (Android Central, Alphabet, Android Authority, Sina, My Drivers)

Apple has announced financial results for its fiscal 2018 first quarter ended 30 Dec 2017. Apple posted quarterly revenue of USD88.3B, an increase of 13% from the year-ago quarter and an all-time record. International sales accounted for 65% of the quarter’s revenue. (CN Beta, Apple)

Wearables

According to GfK, the retail sales in VR online market in 2018 will reach CNY1.17B from CNY746M in 2016 to CNY8.29B in 2017. The prospect is quite clear. In particular, the retail sales of VR in 2018 may soar. Standalone VR and PC-side HMD retail sales are increasing year by year, especially standalone VR will increase much higher than the other, corresponding to the retail sales of mobile phone VR are declining. (Laoyaoba, GfK, report)

Intel allegedly plans to sell a majority stake in its augmented reality (AR) business, which aims to start offering smart glasses to consumers as soon as in 2018. Intel values the division at as much as USD350M. Quanta Computer is making the product under contract for Intel. The technology is known internally as Superlite, but the business to be sold will likely be called Vaunt. (Engadget, Bloomberg, ZOL, Sohu)

Internet of Things

Daimler is hedging its bets by keeping hydrogen fuel cell technology in development, even as the German giant and most of the rest of the industry have shifted focus to electric vehicles powered by lithium ion batteries. Daimler has introduced the preproduction Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell crossover in 2017. It combines hydrogen fuel cell and battery in the form of a plug-in hybrid getting most of its range from the fuel cell side. (CN Beta, Auto News, Ward’s Auto)

Many believe that the internal combustion engine is on its way out. Major car companies are heavily investing in all-electric solutions that will power the cars of the future but Mazda is not ready to give up on the internal combustion engine just yet. Mazda claims that its next-generation gas engine, the Skyactive-3, is going to be as clean as some electric cars. (Ubergizmo, Road and Track, Auto News, Bi Auto, iFeng)

LG has recently signed an agreement with Honeywell to jointly develop security solutions for next-generation vehicles. Vehicle security is garnering attention as core technology that directly linked to the protection of the lives of drivers and passengers in the era of autonomous driving. (Android Headlines, Business Korea, Fawan, Tencent)

Economics

Kodak said more than 40,000 potential investors are interested in the company’s recently announced KODAKCoin Initial Coin Offering (ICO). The cryptocurrency was introduced in early Jan 2018 alongside the company’s new KODAKOne blockchain-based image rights platform for photographers. (Ubergizmo, DP Review, Kodak Coin, Mirrorless Rumors, 10JQKA)

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