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04-17: Secretary of Commerce in US Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. issued a Denial Order against ZTE; etc.

Chipsets

Rotating and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Zhijun Xu has indicated that the company’s mobile phones will continue to adopt chipsets from multiple vendors, and will not restrict to only Kirin SoC. He also has revealed that Huawei has no plans to sell Kirin chips.  (STCN, NBD, GizChina)

Touch Display

A new patent document issued to the China Bureau of Intellectual Property shows that Samsung might now be working on a top notch device. The design also hints that the device would include an in-display fingerprint scanner. (GizChina, Trusted Reviews, Cult of Mac, SIPO, Android Authority, CN Beta, Laoyaoba)

Biometrics

OPPO has been awarded a patent for an in-display fingerprint patent. The technology might be different from Synaptics’ technology, which uses a sensor emitting light underneath an OLED panel and then reading the fingerprint crests. (Android Headlines, GSM Arena, LetsGoDigital, Apple Daily)

Battery

New crowd-sourced data from Tesla vehicles shows that the vehicle battery packs have roughly a 5% degradation in capacity after 30,000 miles (50,000 km). Although this is not official lab-generated data, it may in fact be more useful since it represents what real users would experience. Going further, the battery packs retain more than 90% of their initial capacity after more than 160,000 miles. (CN Beta, Techspot, Elektrek)

Connectivity

Huawei says it’s the first vendor to pass China’s 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) core network test, which constitutes an important part of China’s 5G R&D trials for operators that hope to deploy 5G commercial networks early and quickly. (CN Beta, Fierce Wireless, Telecom Asia)

China Unicom IoT business unit general manager Chen Xiaotian reveals that by May 2018, China Unicom’s NB-IoT base station numbers have reached 300,000 units, basically could cover the whole nation. Up to now, China Telecom has announced that its commercial use NB-IoT network has 310,000 units. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek, JRJ, RFID World, C114)

Phones

Due to the fact that humans speak in various languages, dialects, and manner, researchers are trying to get AI to understand us through natural language processing, where we can talk “naturally” to AI which will then understand what we want. In fact to demonstrate their progress on the topic, Google has launched what they are calling “Semantic Experiences”. (Ubergizmo, Google, CN Beta)

On 16 Apr 2018, Secretary of Commerce in US Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. issued a Denial Order against ZTE, stating may not, directly or indirectly, participate in any way in any transaction involving any commodity, software or technology exported or to be exported from the United States. ZTE is accused of illegally sending telecommunications equipment to North Korea and Iran. (Commerce, Android Central, Android Authority, Reuters, CN Beta)

Wall Street analysts were previously looking for a 15%~60% unit recovery in Apple’s fiscal 2018, but several obstacles are now in the way, said UBS’s Steven Milunovich. Apple’s primary iPhone market —the high end, above CNY4,000—is claimed to be “fairly saturated” in China, even though it consists of about 200M~300M people. In the past 2 years, with iPhone units down 8%~11%—and Apple is unlkely to bounce back. (Apple Insider, CN Beta)

The CEO of BlackBerry, John Chen, reveals that ‘somebody should make’ a new BlackBerry-like phone. He thinks there might be a need in this world for a phone that is very simple and just focused on secure email, secure texts and a basic browser. (Phone Arena, Recode, IT Home)

Samsung Electronics can continue manufacturing and selling smartphones in China while it battles Huawei Technologies over patent royalties, a U.S. judge ruled. The order by a federal judge in San Francisco blocks Huawei from enforcing a decision by a Chinese court, which ruled Samsung is infringing 2 Huawei patents. (Bloomberg, CN Beta)

Huawei’s rotating chairman Xu Zhijun said that until now, companies that actually use artificial intelligence are less than 1%. It is expected that they will not be widely available until 2025. Huawei predicts that by 2025, the global smartphone population will exceed 8B, there will be 6.5B mobile phone users, the number of personal smart terminals will reach 40B, and the penetration rate of personal AI assistants will reach 90%.  (My Drivers, iFeng, Asia Times, Fonow)

Apple’s latest Machine Learning Journal entry hints at future improvements for the feature. Apple explains how iOS devices now continuously listen for the prompt, and points to AI advances that could eliminate Siri’s need for initial training. In the future, Apple expects that Siri will not be trained up front — the user profile will start empty, then use the user’s permission to grow and update itself organically as additional requests come in.  (VentureBeat, Apple, HSW, Sohu)

Internet of Things

Lenovo has officially announced its entry into the smart home market with a new brand “Lecoo”, with 4 products under the brand. There is the Lecoo Smart Router S1, the Lecoo Baby Monitor A1, the LeCoo Smart Camera R1, and the Lecoo Smart Camera S1. (Gizmo China, CN Beta)

Volkswagen Group, which includes Porsche and Audi, is currently testing autonomous parking at the Hamburg Airport, with plans to put the technology into consumer vehicles beginning in 2020. Volkswagen has announced their intention to produce cars with fully-autonomous parking systems sometime in 2020. (CN Beta, TechRadar, Techspot, Auto Blog)

Microsoft has introduced Azure Sphere, a new solution designed to bring better security of Internet-of-Things (IoT) gadgets including smart cars, smart kitchen appliances, and just about anything connected to the internet that is not a traditional PC. Microsoft says the goal is to be able to offer “security protection for a 10-year lifetime of the device”. (Liliputing, Microsoft, Sohu, CN Beta)

Netflix’s 1Q18 shows that after notching its most subscriber additions in 4Q17 (8.33M) it barely slowed down. Over 1Q18, Netflix added another 7.4M subscribers (1.96M of them in the US), its second-biggest quarter ever and enough to hit 125M subscribers on the dot. (TechCrunch, Engadget, Netflix, TechNews, 163)

Lyft has announced that Lyft drivers have received more than USD500M in tips from their customers. Lyft took 4 years to reach the USD100M mark for tips, but only 4 months to collect the last USD100M. The average size of tips also increased by 8% in 2017 compared with the previous year, Lyft said, probably thanks to an app overhaul Jun 2017 that offered customers pre-set tip options. (CN Beta, CNET, TechCrunch, NY Post, Lyft)

SenseTime has signed a collaborative agreement with China Mobile Online Service to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) development. SenseTime and China Mobile Online Service will have deeper collaboration in computer vision technology, smart hardware development, smart surveillance and smart enterprise solutions. (Laoyaoba, STCN, China.com)

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