03-29: Nvidia’s series of announcements; Verizon and TCL are allegedly to launch Palm phone in 2018; etc.

Chipsets

Nvidia must increase its production of graphics processing units (GPUs) to address a shortage caused by crypto-currency miners, said the company’s chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang. The California-based company’s GPUs are highly sought after by both gamers and crypto miners due to their parallel processing power – and the surge in crypto mining has made it difficult for gamers to get their hands on the products. (Coin Desk, TechCrunch, Laoyaoba)

Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang has announced NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation, a computing platform based on 2 different servers.The first server runs NVIDIA DRIVE Sim software to simulate a self-driving vehicle’s sensors, such as cameras, lidar and radar. The second contains a powerful NVIDIA DRIVE Pegasus™ AI car computer that runs the complete autonomous vehicle software stack and processes the simulated data as if it were coming from the sensors of a car driving on the road. (CN Beta, Nvidia, VentureBeat, Forbes)

Nvidia, which supplies chips for Uber’s self-driving cars, said it’s temporarily suspending all of its self-driving tests on public roads to learn more about the crash in Arizona happened in Mar 2018. Other self-driving car companies have also temporarily suspended their testing, including Toyota and nuTonomy, which is developing self-driving software. (Engadget, Recode, CCIDNet, CNFOL, Sina)

Nvidia and ARM have announced a partnership that is aimed at making it easier for chip makers to incorporate deep learning capabilities into next-generation consumer gadgets, mobile devices and IoT objects. ARM intends to integrate Nvidia’s open-source Deep Learning Accelerator (NVDLA) architecture into its just-announced Project Trillium platform. (TechCrunch, Nvidia, Forbes, 36Kr, CCIDNet, Sina)

Nvidia has announced DGX-2, which is the first single server capable of delivering a 2 petaflops of computational power. It is equipped with 16 Tesla V100 GPUs based on the company’s Volta architecture. It uses a new GPU interconnect fabric called Nvidia NVSwitch that allows the GPUs to simultaneously communicate at a record speed of 2.4 terabytes per second. (Forbes, VentureBeat, Digital Trends, PC Gamer)

Renesas Electronics has announced the sample shipment of the industry’s first on-chip flash memory microcontroller (MCU) using a 28nm process technology. RH850/E2x Series MCU incorporates up to six 400MHz CPU cores. The new MCU series also features a built-in flash memory of up to 16MB as well as enhanced security functions and functional safety. (Laoyaoba, Business Wire)

Alibaba Corp OS business GM Cheng Li indicates that AliOs will help partners to provide user-centric, customized, efficient user experience service. Currently there are more than 500,000 cars powered by AliOS, and there is more than 70 partners. NXP and AliOS, the IoT OS developed by Alibaba, have entered into a partnership to drive the development of smart cars in China. NXP will pair i.MX applications processors with Alibaba’s AliOS for next-gen auto e-cockpit. (CN Beta, Electronics Weekly, Globe Newswire, iFeng)

Touch Display

Due to the slow demand of LCD panel applications, global large-size panel shipment in 4Q17 has dropped 1.7% on quarter, reaching about 200M units. Tablet LCD panel and IT application LCD panel demand is weak– tablet has dropped on quarter and on year 13.1% and 8.6%, respectively; while IT applications have dropped 3.1% and 6%, respectively. (Laoyaoba, IDC, press)

Connectivity

China Unicom will not issue new 2G-supported SIM cards from 1 Apr 2018, and will completely switch off 2G network in 2019. Soon, China Unicom SIM cars only support 3G or above network. (Laoyaoba, CCIDNet, MilTech)

Currently, other than Apple iPhone’s lightning interface, Android vendors are using mostly Micro-USB and Type-C. Functions of Micro-USB are gradually replaced by Type-C, yet Type-C has not yet reached mass. (Laoyaoba, TechNews)

Phones

Google is acquiring GIF search engine Tenor. Founded in 2014, Tenor is one of a number of GIF-focused platforms to come to the fore in recent years. The San Francisco-based company offers a web-based GIF search engine in addition to a keyboard app for Android and iOS that enables users to easily access GIFs from within any app. (VentureBeat, Laoyaoba)

Google is launching a new AI voice synthesizer as part of its suite of machine learning cloud tools. The service, named Cloud Text-to-Speech, will be available for any developer or business that needs voice synthesis on tap, whether that is for an app, website, or virtual assistant. Cloud Text-to-Speech is powered by WaveNet, software created by Google’s UK-based AI subsidiary DeepMind. (The Verge, Google, CN Beta)

Back in 2016, a Dutch consumer advocacy group Consumentenbond sued Samsung due to the company’s alleged neglect when it comes to issuing software updates to its handsets. It took 2 years, but the Dutch court will start the hearing process in the case, putting Samsung under the gun to defend its update practices. (My Drivers, Android Authority, Android Police)

Goldman Sachs cuts its Apple iPhone sales estimate for 1Q18 from 54.7M to 53M units, and for 2Q18 by 3.2M to 40.3M. The 2018 full year shipment forecast falls 2.5% to 217.3M while 2019 and 2020 estimates drop 4% and 1.8%, respectively. Despite declining replacement rates, Goldman said the number of people with iPhones will continue to grow and currently stands at 631M units. (CN Beta, CNBC, Seeking Alpha, Investopedia)

US largest mobile operator Verizon Wireless is allegedly planning to launch at least 1 new Palm phone with TCL before the end of 2018. TCL purchased the Palm brand from HP in 2015. (Phone Arena, Android Police, Liliputing, IT Home)

Huawei P20 and P20 Pro are announced, powered by Huawei Kirin 970: P20 – 5.8” 2240×1080 FHD+ notch LCD, rear dual 20MP mono – 12MP RGB + front 24MP, 4GB+128GB, Android 8.1, IP53, 3400mAh, EUR649. P20 Pro – 6.1” 2240×1080 FHD+ notch OLED, rear triple 40MP RGB – 20MP mono – 8MP OIS 3x telephoto + front 24MP, 6GB+128GB, Android 8.1, IP67, 4000mAh, EUR899. (Android Central, Android Headlines, Android Headlines, CN Beta)

Huawei Y7 Prime (2018) is officially launched – 5.99” 720×1440 HD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 430,  rear dual 13MP-2MP + front 8MP, 3GB+32GB, Android 8.0, 3000mAh. (Gizmo China, XDA-Developers, Huawei)

Xiaomi MIX 2s is announced – 5.99” 18:9 2160×1080 FHD+ IPS LCD, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, rear dual 12MP-12MP + front 5MP, 6/8GB + 64/128/256GB, Android 8.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 3400mAh, from CNY3299. (Android Central, Android Central, CN Beta, Digital Trends)

Sharp AQUOS S3 is launched in Taiwan – 6” 18:9 2160×1080 FHD+ IPS LCD, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, rear dual 12MP-13MP + front 16MP, 4GB+64GB, 3200mAh, NTD11990 (USD412). (Android Headlines, GSM Arena, ePrice)

OPPO A83 Pro is launched in India – 5.7” 720×1440 HD+ IPS, MediaTek MT6737T, rear 13MP + front 8MP, 4GB+64GB, Android 7.1, 3180mAh, INR15,990. (Gizmo China, GizChina, NDTV, Mobile Indian)

PCs / Tablets

Apple iPad 2018 is launched supporting Pencil – 9.7” Retina Display, Apple A10 Fusion with M10 motion co-processor, rear 8MP + front FaceTime HD, iOS 11, 32.4Wh, from USD329. (CN Beta, Digital Trends, Engadget, Time, Apple, GizChina)

Apple and Logitech announce USD49 Crayon stylus and keyboard case that work with the iPad. Logitech said that its alternative leverages Apple Pencil technology to deliver sub-pixel precision, low latency, and tilt support. (The Verge, CN Beta, Mac Rumors)

Thanks to Apple’s newly launched 9.7” affordable iPad supporting Apple Pencil, KGI Securities expect Apple Pencil 2018 shipment could grow to 9M~10M units, better than 4M~4.5M in 2017, boosting supplier Compal, Unimicron, Unitech, and Simplo’s bottom lines. (Laoyaoba, UDN, Apple Daily, Apple Insider)

Wearables

Apple Watch is predicted to get its first redesign since launching in 2015, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. With a launch in 3Q18, he says the new watches will have a 15% larger display. KGI predict that Apple will sell about 22M~24M Apple Watch units in 2018, an increase of about 30% year-over-year. Longer term, Kuo expects Watch sales to reach 50M units a year. (GSM Arena, 9to5Mac, CN Beta, Apple Insider)

Apple iPhone and iPad users worldwide have installed more than 13M augmented reality (AR) apps built expressly using Apple’s ARKit framework since they debuted on 19 Sept 2017, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data shows. Nearly half (47%) of the ARKit-only app downloads worldwide during the first 6 months were games. (TechCrunch, SensorTower, VR Wan)

Truly wireless Bluetooth earpieces Huawei FreedBuds are announced. It offers 10 hours of playback when fully charged. It is priced at EUR159. (Gizmo China, The Verge, CNMO)

Internet of Things

Waymo and Jaguar Land Rover have inked a deal that will add tens of thousands of all-electric I-Pace SUVs to the Alphabet unit’s growing lineup of self-driving taxis. The first prototype I-Pace with Waymo’s self-driving technology will hit the road for public testing at the end of 2018, and officially become part of Waymo’s commercial ride-hailing service starting in 2020.  (CN Beta, Engagdet, The Verge, CNET)

Xiaomi has announced a smaller version of its Mi AI Speaker—Mi AI Speaker mini, priced at CNY169 (USD27). It is powered by Xiaomi’s own AI assistant. (CN Beta, Sohu, CNMO, South CN, GSM Arena, NDTV)

Google has rolled out an update to the Google Home app that lets users connect Google Assistant-enabled speaker to any Bluetooth speaker. (Android Headlines, The Verge, CNET, Mashable, Google)

Amazon has partnered with original design manufacturers (ODMs) JUNLAM, Narui, and Adition to create the reference devices, and they include 2 speaker designs and 1 smart lamp. (Android Central, Amazon, SlashGear)

ZTE brings China Telecom and Baidu to complete test of 5G self-driving car on domestic road of He Bei city. (CN Beta, People, Sina, Fonow)

BMW and Daimler have announced plans to merge their respective urban mobility units, which cover on-demand services such as car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging, and multimodal transport. (VentureBeat, NY Times, Quartz, Caixin, CN Blogs)

Commerce

Amazon’s business in France is taking a big step forward after announcing a new deal today with retail giant Monoprix to deliver groceries through Prime Now. The service will begin serving Prime Now members in Paris this year and include products carried by Monoprix, including its own branded items and fresh produce. (TechCrunch, Groupe Casino, Monoprix, iFeng, Sina)

Amazon Alexa is coming to Wall Street thanks to a new partnership the e-commerce giant inked with JPMorgan Chase & Co. J.P. Morgan clients are now able to ask Alexa for the bank’s research reports. Alexa is able to send analysts’ reports and related queries, and the bank is testing other features, like providing prices on bonds or swaps. (Android Headlines, Bloomberg, CNBC, Investopedia, Tencent)

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