02-13: Sorry it will be slow updates during CNY – Xiaomi is reportedly investing in Black Shark; Google Android P might embrace notch display design; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 will celebrate 2 years as the smartwatch SoC for Android Wear device. Qualcomm has seemingly abandoned the smartwatch market. The Wear 2100 SoC was announced in Feb 2016, Qualcomm skipped out on an upgrade for Feb 2017, and it does seem like a new smartwatch chip is coming any time soon. (Android Headlines, Ars Technica, CN Beta)

Amazon is reportedly developing a hardware chip designed for artificial intelligence (AI) to work on the Echo and other hardware powered by Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. (Phone Arena, Android Central, Reuters, The Information, Tencent, iFeng)

Samsung Electronics is allegedly launching a new chip for cars, tentatively called Exynos Auto, with aims to supply the chip first to Audi that has used chips mostly from Qualcomm. Samsung’s system LSI division plans to complete the mass-production system as early as within 2018.  (Laoyaoba, Sam Mobile, The Investor, 315Che)

Touch Display

Samsung will reportedly pay the Chinese LED chip maker Sanan Optoelectronics an advance of USD16.83M in order to secure LED chips from the company. The deal will last for 3 years. It is said to be to help with the commercialization of micro-LED displays. Micro-LED displays can use 50% less power than OLED for the same brightness, giving it a high potential for use in smartphones. (Android Authority, ET News, Sina, Baijiahao)

Deutsche Telekom AG has created a digital glasses startup with manufacturer Carl Zeiss AG. The startup, Tooz Technologies, is developing glasses using optics invented by Zeiss, combined with Deutsche Telekom’s connectivity services — in a bid to make spectacles that are lighter and use less energy. (Android Headlines, Bloomberg, Sohu, Digitimes)

Motorola has filed a patent with WIPO, titled “Display Device with Heterogeneous Pixel Array for Borderless Design”, for a borderless flexible OLED display that is capable of folding or unfolding the form-factor. (Android Headlines, CN Beta, Phone Arena, WIPO, BGR)

Biometrics

New research out of MIT’s Media Lab is underscoring what other experts have reported or at least suspected before: facial recognition technology is subject to biases based on the data sets provided and the conditions in which algorithms are created. When the person in the photo is a white man, the software is right 99% of the time. But the darker the skin, the more errors arise — up to nearly 35% for images of darker skinned women.  (NY Times, CN Beta, The Verge)

Samsung’s latest patent showcasing a phone equipped with an in-display fingerprint scanner. The patent suggest that the fingerprint reader will be integrated near the bottom of the screen. It will give a sense of vibration when it fails to authenticate the user.  (Pocket-Lint, ZOL, CN Beta, Value Walk, WIPO)

Phones

One of Xiaomi’s newest subsidiaries is solely dedicated to designing and manufacturing gaming smartphones and may release its first commercial product as early as 2018, with the Black Shark brand might launch a handset with featured DSP integrated graphics and also an “aviation-class” cooling system. (Ubergizmo, Android Headlines, Phone Radar, IT Home, iFeng, Sina)

Google is allegedly working on an overhaul of its Android P for a new generation of smartphones mimicking Apple’s “notch” at the top of the iPhone X. The Android update, due later in 2018, will also more tightly integrate Google’s digital assistant, improve battery life on phones and support new designs, like multiple screens and foldable displays. (The Verge, Android Central, Bloomberg, SZ Online, iFeng)

According to IDC research director Francisco Jeronimo, Essential Phone sold less than 90,000 units in the first 6 months after it launched. (Engadget, The Verge, Twitter)

According to Francisco Jeronimo, IDC’s Research Director, Google shipped 3.9M Pixels in 2017. The analyst also confirms Google’s own report saying that shipments have indeed doubled. (GSM Arena, Droid-Life, Phone Arena, iFeng)

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus reportedly will be the first to feature 3D emoji and stereo speakers with Dolby Surround and tuned by AKG, the audio brand owned by Samsung. (The Verge, ET News, Android Authority, CN Beta, Sam Mobile)

Apple will reportedly bring its Animoji characters to the new iPad, which has a Face ID camera. Apple is also planning to bring Animoji to FaceTime, so iOS users can put virtual emoji over their faces like the filters found in Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. (The Verge, Pocket-Lint, Bloomberg, Sina)

Counterpoint Research has revealed that HMD Global sold over 4M smartphones in 4Q17. This puts Nokia at the 11th spot in the top smartphone companies with a market share of 1%. (Twitter, Gizmo China)

OPPO A71 (2018) is launched in India – 5.2” HD, Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, rear 13MP + front 5MP, 2GB + 16GB, Android 7.1, 3000mAH, INR9,999. (GizChina, Gadgets Now, NDTV)

Intex Aqua Lions T1 Lite is launched in India – 5” HD 2.5D, MediaTek MT6737, rear 5MP + front 2MP, 1GB + 8GB, 2200mAh, INR3,899. (NDTV, Gizmo China)

PCs / Tablets

TrendForce reports that the global notebook shipments for 2017 registered 164.7M units, a year-on-year increase of 2.1%, higher than previous expectation of 0.7%. For 2018, the market share of the top 6 brands is expected to rise to 89.1%, squeezing the room for other brands to develop.  (TrendForce[cn], TrendForce, press, CN Beta)

Internet of Things

Amazon has paid about USD90M to acquire the maker of Blink home security cameras late in 2017, in a secret bet on the startup’s energy-efficient chips. The online retailer is exploring chips exclusive to Blink that could lower production costs and lengthen the battery life of other gadgets. (Reuters, Phone Arena, 163, 10JQKA)

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