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04-05: OPPO has announced the launch of its new research institute; Meituan Dianping has agreed to acquire a big stake in shared-bike startup Mobike; Alibaba is buying full control of the startup Ele.me; etc.

Chipsets

Intel is launching Core i9 processors for laptop. Intel’s new 8th Generation Core i9, i7, and i5 processors for laptops are based on the Coffee Lake platform and use the 14nm process technology. The company claims that the chip provides an up to 29% overall performance boost compared to the previous 7th Generation chips with a 41% improvement for gaming. (Ubergizmo, Intel, Liliputing, CN Beta, TechReport, CNET, Sina)

Intel will spin out its Wind River Systems software division to financial giant TPG for an undisclosed price. The chip maker bought Wind River Systems for USD884M in 2009. Wind River makes embedded operating systems and other software that keeps aircraft flying and industrial robots humming.  (VentureBeat, ZDNet, CN Beta)

Samsung has reportedly already commenced the development of its next-gen flagship SoC, which is said to be dubbed the Exynos 9820, which is expected to be manufactured using a 7nm EUV fabrication process. (GSM Arena, 91Mobiles, Linkedin, TechWeb, Baijiahao)

A Huawei insider has revealed that the company’s semiconductor subsidiary HiSilicon deems Qualcomm as it biggest rival. In 2017, HiSilicon generated approximately 1/4 of Qualcomm’s USD22.3B annual revenue and is expected to continue growing moving forward.  (Android Headlines, Asia Times, WCCFTech, The Information, Sohu)

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan, the “insourcing of chips could benefit Apple by not being dependent on Intel’s processor cycles, by lowering the Mac costed bill-of-materials by ~USD40-50, and by potentially streamlining and reducing R&D spend. The analyst estimates Apple may save USD500M a year if it uses its own chips for half of its Mac PCs.  (CNBC, Benzinga, Laoyaoba)

Touch Display

Apple is reportedly working on touchless gesture control and curved screens for future iPhone. The control feature would let iPhone users perform some tasks by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it. The technology likely will not be ready for consumers for at least 2 years. (Bloomberg, CN Beta)

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has revealed that users will be able to hide and black out the display area around the notch for a more traditional display appearance for its upcoming OnePlus 6. (Phone Arena, OnePlus, Sohu)

Toyota Corp’s subsidy Toyota Tsuho has planned to invest JPY20B in Japan Display Inc (JDI) and JOLED. Another subsidy Denso also has planned to invest JPY30B in JOLED. In total, Toyota has invested JPY50B in JOLED. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek, SEMI)

A fire broke out at a liquid-crystal display production facility of LG Display (LGD) located in northwestern Gyeonggi Province on 4 Apr 2018. The company said it has not yet determined the damage caused by the suspended production. (Korea Herald, Laoyaoba, Yonhap News)

AU Optronics (AUO) and Innolux both have announced that they will have Mini LED application products by end of 2018. (Laoyaoba, UDN)

Storage

Toshiba is sticking with its plans to sell its memory chip unit despite regulatory hurdles, said Nobuaki Kurumatani, who took over as the chief executive officer and chairman of the Japanese electronics maker in Apr 2018. It would take “substantial material” changes for the company to invoke its right to terminate its sale agreement with a group led by Bain Capital. (CN Beta, ABC News, Bloomberg, News Day)

Sensory

MIT Media Lab has developed a new imaging system that can gauge the distance of objects obscured by fog so thick that humans cannot see through it. The imaging-sensing system uses a time-of-flight camera, which fires short laser bursts toward an object. It then counts how long it takes for the light to bounce back. (CN Beta, SCMP, MIT, Technabob)

Phones

Xiaomi has officially confirmed investment in Black Shark gaming phone company. The phone will be manufactured by the Nanchang Black Shark Technology, which Xiaomi has vested interest. (My Drivers, Sohu, Gizmo China)

Taboola will partner with both mobile carriers and OEMs to power content discovery on Android mobile devices. Taboola has partnered with ZTE to roll out its offering that creates a new revenue stream for the OEM while simultaneously opening a new audience source for Taboola’s premium publisher partners. (Android Authority, Business Wire, China Byte)

OPPO has announced the launch of its new research institute. The new OPPO research institute is headquartered in Shenzhen and has research schools located in major Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen), Japan’s Yokohama, and the US Silicon Valley. (CN Beta, TechNode, iFeng)

According to Apple Music content director for France Steven Huon, Apple Music has just hit 40M paid subscribers. (CN Beta, Forbes, BGR)

Sharp allegedly has lined-up 5 Flagship to low-end smartphones tentatively scheduled for a Jun 2018 launch in Europe, with price tags of EUR249, EUR399, EUR499, EUR799, and €999 for the E-L1, E-M1, E-H1, E-P1, and E-F1 respectively. (GizChina, Pocket Now, Xuehua, IT Home)

BlackBerry has accused Snap of using its patented messaging technology in the Snapchat app, mirroring a similar complaint the Canadian software developer brought in Mar 2018 against Facebook. The complaint accuses Snap of infringing 6 patents issued in 2012 and 2014. (Android Headlines, Bloomberg, Gizmodo, The Verge, iFeng, People)

Samsung Electronics has announced the launch of the Samsung Design Innovation Center or SDIC, a design lab dedicated to the integration of disruptive user-experiences to product design, in San Francisco, California. (Android Headlines, Business Insider, Samsung)

First-tier China-based smartphone vendors including Huawei, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi are stepping up their deployments and investments in overseas markets, as they have set strategies to continue pursuing higher shipment volumes and market share in 2018, according to Digitimes. (Android Headlines, Digitimes, press, My Drivers)

Archos Saphir 50X rugged phone is launched – 5” HD LCD, MediaTek MT6737, rear 8MP + front 2MP, 2GB+16GB, Android 7.0, 4000mAh, EUR180. (GSM Arena, GizChina, Archos)

HiSense V+ is launched in China – 5.99” FHD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, rear dual 12MP-8MP + front 20MP, 6GB+128GB, rear fingerprint scanner, 3400mAh, CNY2599. (Gizmo China, JD.com)

Cubot P20 is announced – 6.18” FHD+ 19:9, MediaTek MT6750T, rear dual 20MP-2MP + front 8MP, 4GB+64GB, Android 8.0, 4000mAh. (GizChina, Gizmo China)

Wearables

Firefox maker Mozilla has announced the launch of Firefox Reality, a new browser for augmented and virtual reality headsets. The browser will make use of emerging mixed reality web standards to allow users to experience immersive games and experiences without the need to install apps custom-built for their specific headset. (CN Beta, Digital Trends, Variety, Mozilla)

According to Digi-Capital, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) startups raised over USD3.6B from venture capitalists and corporate in the last 12 months to the end of 1Q18, setting a new record. (VentureBeat, Digi-Capital, article, 199IT)

Common Sense Media is cautiously optimistic about the increasingly popular technology, noting that educators and parents are excited about VR’s potential, yet concerned about its “powerful effects”. The survey suggests that 70% of U.S. children are either extremely or fairly interested in experiencing VR. This enthusiasm from kids is expected to drive the market for VR, the report says, despite parental skepticism. (CN Beta, Geek Wire, VentureBeat, Common Sense Media, report)

Internet of Things

Waymo has been negotiating a partnership with Honda since late 2016. Now those talks are nearing completion, and the partnership with Honda will focus on delivering goods, according to Waymo CEO John Krafcik. (The Verge, Bloomberg, ZDNet, Tencent, Ebrun)

Meituan Dianping has agreed to acquire a big stake in shared-bike startup Mobike. Meituan will acquire Mobike for USD3.7B. (CN Beta, CN Beta, 163, Tencent, Caixin, China Money Network)

The executive leading Google’s search and artificial intelligence (AI) units, John Giannandrea, is stepping down after 2 years on the job. Giannandrea’s role will now be split between 2 executives: Jeff Dean, the cofounder of Google Brain, one of the company’s AI research arms, will lead all of its AI efforts. The move suggests that AI is now important enough to form its own business unit. (Phone Arena, CNBC, iFeng, TechWeb)

Microsoft plans to invest USD5B into various programs surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) over the next 4 years, as part of its bid to make the deployment and use of internet-connected hardware easier for its business customers. (Android Headlines, ZDNet, VentureBeat, Microsoft, Leiphone, CN Blogs)

According to Barclays analyst Brian Johnson, the escalating  trade tensions between the United States and China may dent production of German luxury SUVs made in the U.S. South and sent to China, with exports from electric vehicle maker Tesla and Ford Motor also vulnerable. The U.S. factories would feel the strongest effect because China imports nearly 270,000 U.S. vehicles, worth USD11B, and sends relatively few back. (CN Beta, CNBC, Reuters)

Commerce

SoftBank Group is investing USD400M in India’s Paytm E-Commerce in a funding round that will value the online retailer at roughly USD1.9B. Alibaba, an existing investor in Paytm E-Commerce, is also putting in USD45M in the round. (TechCrunch, CNBC, Economic Times, Reuters, Tencent, Baidu)

Alibaba Group Holding is buying full control of the startup Ele.me as it steps up efforts to expand in China’s fast-growing market for local delivery of food and other services. The deal implies an enterprise valuation of USD9.5B for Ele.me. Alibaba and affiliate Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group already owned about 43% of the startup.  (CN Beta, CNN, Bloomberg, Fortune)

President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Gary Shapiro has described the US tariffs and the likely Chinese response as a “poison pill” to production, the “innovation economy” and customers’ wallets.  (Engadget, CTA, Sina)

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