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03-02 MWC2018: A series of smartphones with “notch display”; China Mobile has announced the “China Mobile 5G Device Forerunner Initiative”; etc.

Chipsets

South Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and startup UX Factory have reportedly successful in creating a new AI semiconductor which they believe could be a boon to the smartphone industry. The newly developed AI semiconductor is loaded with variable artificial neural network technology that adjusts energy efficiency and accuracy so it can process deep learning more efficiently. (Android Headlines, Business Korea)

South Korean defense business Hanwha Systems and state-run science research university Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have launched a project to co-develop artificial intelligence (AI) features to be applied to military weapons. (CN Beta, Korea Times, Telecom Paper)

Grenoble, France based GreenWaves Technologies, a fabless semiconductor startup designing disruptive ultra-low power embedded solutions for image, sound and vibration AI processing in sensing devices, today announced its GAP8 IoT application processor and the availability of the GAP8 Software Development Kit. (Android Headlines, Design Reuse, EE Journal, Globe Newswire, CITMT)

Qualcomm reportedly will be upgrading its Snapdragon 600 series to the 10nm process. These new chips are expected to be launched in 2H18 and give MediaTek’s new 12nm Helio P60 a run for its money. (Gizmo China, CSIA, My Drivers)

Most Taiwan designers of MOSFET and niche-type DRAM chips are optimistic about better revenue performances in 1H18 than a year earlier, as they are poised to benefit from the deferred positive effects from price hikes made in 4Q17, according to Digitimes. The price hikes are beginning to show positive effects in 1Q18 due to 8-12 weeks of lead time for shipments of new wafers. (Digitimes, press, HQEW, Laoyaoba)

Qualcomm has announced an exclusive strategic licensing agreement with American patient monitoring companies PeriGen and AlertWatch. Qualcomm will be leveraging the firms’ solutions to improve its own offerings, in addition to selling them to its existing and future clients.  (Android Headlines, Mobi Health News, Qualcomm, PR Newswire)

Touch Display

[MWC2018] Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing has hinted to bring back the Motorola RAZR smartphone, with new technology, particularly foldable screens. (TechRadar, CNBC, Gizmo China, Tencent, iFeng)

A recently published patent filing from LG Display (LGD) shows an entire display module, in a distinctive rounded-off shape – more than likely a take on the full screen display concept. (GizChina, KIPRIS, GSM Arena, Sohu)

Storage

Nanya Technology chairman Li Peiying indicates that the DRAM market is sustainable in 2018 with performance better than 2017. He expects the supply is stable in 1H18, and cost would increase slightly. The demand will increase in 2H18, and the supply will increase too. He is also positive with the DRAM market development in 2019. (UDN, LTN, Yahoo, Laoyaoba)

Biometrics

[MWC2018] Introduced in Samsung Galaxy S9, Intelligent Scan is meant to use multiple biometric systems to unlock the smartphone quickly and securely. The device’s facial recognition is initially used to authenticate the user, followed by the use of an iris scanner if it fails to unlock, with the results of both combined for a third check if both techniques fail.  (Apple Insider, 9to5Google, CNET, WCCFTech, Digitimes)

Connectivity

[MWC2018] vivo has announced its partnership with China Mobile on the “China Mobile 5G Device Forerunner Initiative”. The program aims to launch the first batch of 5G pre-commercial devices for scale-up trial application showcase, plus establish support for the development of 5G devices, chipsets and component supply chains.  (Android Headlines, PR Newswire, PC Pop)

Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat has fielded questions about the company’s once-ambitious plan to blanket the country with superfast fiber internet. She said that Google Fiber’s pace of rollout has been paused until the company find a way to make the service “10x” better. (CN Beta, CNBC, Yahoo)

[MWC2018] ZTE has announced partnerships with major carriers MTN and Ooredoo to bring 5G wireless technology to Africa and the Middle East. The goal of both deals is to accelerate 5G deployment across large geographic areas with diverse mobile infrastructures. (VentureBeat, ZTE, Quamnet, CTimes)

[MWC2018] Huawei has aunched the Intent-Driven Network solution. This solution will bridge the gaps between the physical network and business goals by creating a digital twin of the network infrastructure. These technologies will enable software-defined networks (SDNs) to evolve into intent-driven networks, and maximize business value. (Android Headlines, Huawei, ZDNet, China.com)

Phones

[MWC2018] According to Xiaomi head of international Wang Xiang, Xiaomi beats its CNY100B (USD15.8B) revenue target for 2017 before the end of the year. (Android Headlines, Finance Apprise, Edge Markets, TMT Post)

[MWC2018] Huawei consumer business group CEO Richard Yu not only claimed that the upcoming P20 will be better than Apple iPhone X, but also stated that the company would leapfrog Apple in 1~2 years. (Android Headlines, Digital Trends, Gizmo China, Sohu)

Spotify has announced plans to go public on Wednesday, though the company has already been trading on private markets at an estimated valuation of USD23B. At the end of 2017 the company had 159M monthly active users, 71M premium subscribers, and a total of 40.3B streaming content hours. (Apple Insider, SEC, iFeng, Sina, Sina)

Analysts estimate Samsung will ship 37M~40M Galaxy S9 series phones in 2018, which will put sales on a par with or slightly above those of the previous series. This means mobile profits at the world’s largest smartphone maker are unlikely to see huge growth compared to the KR11.8T (USD11B) posted in 2017. (CN Beta, Hindustan Times)

Apple captured 87% of smartphone industry profits in 4Q17, despite accounting for only about 18% of total units sold in the period, according to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, up from 72% in the Sept 2017 period.  (CN Beta, Market Watch, Investors)

The average lifespan of an Apple device is probably just over 4 years. The analysis by Asymco‘’ Horace Dediu is based on figures provided by Apple each quarter specifically the number of devices it sells. It is also based on another rare figure revealed by Apple during the financial results, namely that it had grown its active install base to 1.3B devices, representing a 30% growth over 2 years.  (Apple Insider, Asymco, Tencent)

Huawei and ZTE phones, which were used for unclassified purposes, are being strategically phased out by Australia’s defense department. The agency said the phones were not deemed a security risk, despite assertions from US intelligence officers who said that they do not use the phones because they could be conduits for foreign surveillance. (Laoyaoba, Financial Review, Business Insider, Caixin)

[MWC2018] Authentication solution provider HYPR and Samsung have announced a partnership meant to deliver the next generation of decentralized authorization solutions for the enterprise segment, with HYPR’s technologies being set to be implemented into Samsung Pass. (Android Headlines, Samsung, Mobile ID World)

According to IDC, worldwide smartphone shipments declined 0.5% in 2017, the first year-over-year decline the market has experienced since the introduction of what we now know as smartphones. Smartphone companies shipped a total of 1.46B devices in 2017 with nearly all of that volume running either the Android or iOS platforms. (IDC, press, CN Beta)

[MWC2018] BLUBOO S2 is announced with rotating camera – 5.99” 2160×1080 FHD+ AMOLED, MediaTek Helio P23, rotatable 21MP, 4GB+64GB / 6GB+128GB, Android 8.1, 4200mAh. (Android Headlines, Android Guys, BLUBOO, Baijiahao, Sohu)

[MWC2018] Lava Z50, Android Go smartphone is announced – 4.5” FWVGA 2.5D, MediaTek MT6737M,  rear 5MP + front 5MP, 1GB+8GB, Android 8.1, INR5000. (Gizmo China, Live Mint, NDTV)

[MWC2018] LEAGOO S9 is announced – 5.85” 1512×720 HD+ IPS, MediaTek MT6750, rear dual 13MP-2MP + front 8MP, 4GB+32GB, Android 8.1, 3300mAh, USD150. (GizChina, GSM Arena, CNET, Mac Rumors, Mobile Syrup)

[MWC2018] Energizer Power Max P16K Pro manufactured by Avenir Telecom is launched – 5.99” 2160×1080 FHD+, MediaTek Helio P25, rear dual 16MP-13MP + front dual 13MP-5MP, 6GB+128GB, Android 8.0, 16000mAh, USD740. (TechSpot, NDTV, 91Mobiles, CN Beta)

Spanish company Escudo Web has developed a smartphone specifically aimed at kids, dubbed PhoneKid.  The device lets parents control it through an APP. The device can never be turned off, and the same goes for Geolocalisation as well. (GSM Arena, BBC, iGyaan)

[MWC2018] Ulefone has announced 3 new phones with “notch” display: X – 5.85” 1512×720 IPS LCD, MediaTek Helio P23, rear dual 16MP-5MP + front 13MP, 4GB+64GB. T2 Pro – 6.7” 2160×1080 IPS LCD, MediaTek Helio P70, rear dual 21MP-13MP + front 16MP, 8GB+128GB, 5000mAh. T2 – 6.18” 2160×1080 IPS LCD, MediaTek Helio P60, rear dual 21MP-13MP + front 13PM, 6GB+128GB, 5000mAh. (GizChina, Gizmo China)

[MWC2018] Wiko announces more mid-range phones: View 2 Lite – 5.45” 720×1440 HD+, MediaTek MT6739W, rear 13MP + front 16MP, 2GB+16GB, 3000mAh, EUR159. View Go – 5.7” 720×1440 HD+, MediaTek MT6739, rear 13MP + front 5MP, 2GB+16GB, 3000mAh, EUR149. View Max – 5.99” 720×1440 HD+, MediaTek MT6739, rear 13MP + front 8MP, 3GB+32GB, 3000mAh, EUR179. (TechNave)

Wearables

According to IDC, total volumes of wearables for 4Q17 reached 37.9M units, up 7.7% from the 35.2M units shipped in the same quarter a year ago. For the full year, total wearable device shipments reached 115.4M units, up 10.3% from the 104.6M units shipped in 2016. (IDC, press, CN Beta)

Internet of Things

Amazon is reportedly buying smart doorbell maker Ring for more than USD1B. Amazon has previously invested in Ring through the Alexa Fund, its investment arm exclusively investing in Alexa-powered devices. (CNET, CNBC, Fast Company, Tencent, iFeng)

Ring has raised USD209M so far and was last valued at USD760M, according to Pitchbook. (CNET, CNBC, Fast Company, Tencent, iFeng)

German automaker Daimler has paid EUR70M (USD85M) to buy the remaining 25% of car-sharing company car2Go that it did not already own, valuing car2Go at EUR280M (USD341M). (CN Beta, NY Times, TechCrunch, Business Wire)

MIT and SenseTime have announced that SenseTime, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, is joining MIT’s efforts to define the next frontier of human and machine intelligence.  The MIT-SenseTime Alliance on Artificial Intelligence aims to open up new avenues of discovery across MITin areas such as computer vision, human-intelligence-inspired algorithms, medical imaging, and robotics. (Jiemian, Sohu, Laoyaoba, ZDNet, PR Newswire)

Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC plan to invest almost USD2B in a state-of-the-art factory in China. The two will invest more than CNY11.9B (USD1.88B) in modernizing a plant to build premium Mercedes-Benz cars including electric vehicles. (TechNews, Reuters, Bloomberg, Reuters)

Finance

The Dutch multinational bank Rabobank has announced that it is planning to release a cryptocurrency wallet called Rabobit.  (CN Beta, TNW, Coin Journal, Rabobit)

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