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04-10: Xiaomi is opening 3 more smartphone plants in India; Leap Motion has announced an augmented reality (AR) platform “Project North Star”; etc.

Chipsets

Strong demand for Internet of Things (IoT) related chips is filling China- and Taiwan-based pure-play foundries’ 8” fab capacities, according to Digitimes. Lead times at these foundries for 8” wafer processes have already extended to 12 or even 15 weeks from the previous 8 weeks. With major foundries reluctant to expand their 8” fab capacities, the 8” foundry supply is expected to stay tight until the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019 amid rampant IoT applications. (Digitimes, press, China Times)

Touch Display

LG Display (LGD) said that it aimed to produce 10M organic light-emitting diode (OLED) television panels in 2021, an increase of 6 times from 1.7M in 2016, as it bets all its resources on the new technology which is changing the landscape of the premium TV industry. (OLED-Info, Asia Nikkei, iFeng)

Samsung Display (SDC) has failed to finalize the production plans for its new OLED plant amid lukewarm sales of Apple’s iPhone X and slowing demand in China. SDC has transformed LCD production lines into those for OLED, tentatively called the A4 plant, while adding related facilities to an existing A2 plant. SDC is now poised to produce an additional 60,000 units of Gen-6 OLED panels per month. However, the plant’s operations could be delayed for up to 6 months. (OLED-Info, The Investor)

ZTE’s product codename ZTE Iceberg allegedly features two notches on the top and bottom, and glass adornment to the chasis. (Android Central, Winfuture, The Verge, TechRadar, iF Design, IT Home)

RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani suggests that Apple will come out with 2 OLED-based phones later this year along with a less expensive LCD-based iPhone. That latter phone looks like it could be called the iPhone 9. Daryanani believes that Apple to build 80M~90M units of new models iPhone in 2H18. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, Tom’s Guide, WCCFtech, Investors)

According to Sigmaintell, in 2017 automotive display panel shipment reached 150M units (not including after-sale market), a 12% YoY. It expects in 2018 the shipment would reach 170M units, a 13% YoY. In 2017, JDI leads the market, follows by Innolux. Mainland China vendors shipment has reached 58% YoY growth. (Sigma Intell, press, Laoyaoba)

Camera

LG Innotek said it has sold approximately 287M units of camera modules in 2017 alone, taking up an 18.2% share of the global camera module market. It is up 3.7% compared to a 14.5% market share in 2016. The biggest contributor was its booming sales to Apple. (iTer News, Patently Apple, 51Touch)

TMT Post has classified current AI photography into 3 types: using chipset; only based on camera; and, only using app. (TMT Post, Laoyaoba)

In addition to launching a new lower-cost model, Yuanta Investment Consulting expects Apple might launch new iPhone with 3-lens camera incorporating a 5x optical zoom and 6P lens system. If it is true, Hon Hai, Largan would be beneficial from this. (Apple Insider, UDN)

Storage

Micron Technology is set to expand its Singapore presence with the addition of a new cleanroom space. The new semiconductor production facility represents the third phase of Micron’s Fab 10 expansion and will be located adjacent to the existing complexes. The new plant will be built on a 165,000m2 land plot at North Coast Drive. The new Fab is expected to be completed sometimes in the middle of 2019, Micron plans to get the first wafers from the new fab sometimes in 4Q19.  (TechNews, iFeng, Channel News Asia, AnandTech)

Battery

A major byproduct in the papermaking industry is lignosulfonate, a sulfonated carbon waste material, which is typically combusted on site, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere after sulfur has been captured for reuse. Now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has developed a method to use this cheap and abundant paper biomass to build a rechargeable lithium-sulfur battery.  (TechNews, RPI)

SofBank Group has announced a definitive agreement under which SoftBank will invest in the Canadian lithium company, Nemaska Lithium. Under the agreement, SoftBank will acquire a stake of up to 9.9% in Nemaska. (TechNews, SoftBank)

Apple has announced its global facilities are powered with 100% clean energy. This achievement includes retail stores, offices, data centers and co-located facilities in 43 countries — including the United States, the United Kingdom, China and India.  (Engadget, Apple, Apple, Apple Insider, Sina)

Connectivity

CCS Insight has released the latest 5G forecast with the US and China expected to lead the way in these markets as Europe is projected to languish behind. Projected figures reveal there will be 280M 5G connections by 2021, with it expected to grow to 2.7B by 2025. CCS Insight expects a 1B connections to be reached by 2023. It is estimated by 2020 total global connections will be at almost 60M with a 25% increase by 2021 according to CCS Insight. (Android Headlines, Digital TV Europe, Telecoms, Caixin, 163)

Phones

According to the “China Mobile Phone Market Operation Analysis Report for March 2018” released by the China Institute of Information and Communications, China’s smartphone shipments reached 28.083M units in Mar 2018 which is a year-on-year drop of 28.6%, accounting for 93.0 of domestic mobile phone shipments in the same period. In 1Q18, cumulative shipments totaled 81.87M units, down 27.0% year-on-year, and 93.7% of domestic mobile phone shipments during the same period. (CAICT, report, Giz China)

Xiaomi has announced a major expansion of its “Make in India” plans, with the opening of 3 more smartphone plants in India. Xiaomi has also started manufacturing smartphones at its power bank plant in Noida, resulting in a total of 6 smartphone manufacturing plants in India across 3 different campuses in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. Xiaomi is also setting up a new PCB (printed circuit board) assembly unit in Sriperumbudur in partnership with Foxconn.  (Android Central, CN Beta, CNN, The Hindu, NDTV)

Huawei and Samsung’s intellectual property rights case ended in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, and Samsung is ordered to immediately stop the infringement of Huawei’s patent rights through manufacturing, sales, and promised sales. After the Beijing Intellectual Property Court made a judgment, Samsung and Huawei were dissatisfied and appealed to the Beijing Higher People’s Court. (Sohu, Sohu, CIP Lawyer, Feng, Sina, 52RD, iam-media)

LeTV expects to make a loss of CNY307.2418M~312.2418M in 1Q18, compared to the profit of CNY124.792M in the same period of last year. The company stated that during the reporting period, the company’s reputation and credibility were still trapped in the more serious negative public opinion turbulence due to the continued influence of related parties’ funding and liquidity controversy. (Laoyaoba, CN Beta, West Dollar)

BLUBOO D5 Pro is officially launched – 5.5” 1280×640 JDI, MediaTek MT6737, 13MP + 8MP, 3GB+32GB, Android 7.0, 2700mAh, USD100. (GizChina, Android Headlines)

Smartisan Nut 3 is announced in China – 5.99” FHD+ 2160×1080, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, rear dual 13MP-13MP + front 8MP, 4GB + 32 /64 / 128GB, AI-enabled smart noise cancellation, 4000mAh, from CNY1299. (Gizmo China, GizChina, CN Beta)

Wearables

Leap Motion has announced an augmented reality (AR) platform based on its hand tracking system, called Project North Star. It includes a design for a headset that Leap Motion claims costs less than USD100 at large-scale production. The company is releasing the necessary hardware specifications and software under an open source license. (Digital Trends, The Verge, TechRadar, Road to VR, CN Beta, TechNode)

Samsung has filed a patent regarding a wearable device that comes with an extended curved display. Samsung has filed the patent at the USPTO that has been published under the patent number US D813,864 S “Wearable Electronics Device”. According to the patent sketches, it looks like a smartwatch with a rectangular display, which can extend along the width to almost twice its size. (Android Headlines, NDTV)

Internet of Things

Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has publicly launched in Mexico with a website advertising its service to drivers and passengers. The company will launch first in Toluca, an urban hub located around 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the country’s capital.  (The Verge, Reuters, Engadget, People.com, Sina)

Chinese facial recognition firm SenseTime said it has closed a USD600M funding round led by Alibaba Group, extending the billion-dollar valuation of the artificial intelligence (AI) startup. SenseTime closed the series-C fundraising which also attracted investors including Singapore state fund Temasek Holdings and Chinese e-commerce company Suning.com. (Laoyaoba, Caijing, Donews, Bloomberg, Reuters)

Swedish furniture company Ikea has announced its first pair of Bluetooth speakers. The ENEBY speakers are available in three colours and are priced at GBP45 for the smaller model, or GBP80 for the large version.  (Android Headlines, Wired, Trusted Reviews)

Uber has announced that it is acquiring Jump Bikes, the New York City-based e-bike startup that has been working with Uber for 2 months on a pilot to integrate bike-sharing options into Uber’s app.  (The Verge, TechCrunch, 10JQKA, Tencent)

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