04-25: Apple is requiring Samsung Display to lower the unit price of its OLED panels to USD100; Apple’s 2019 iPhone models will add a film sensor to the cover glass sensor; etc.

Touch Display

Apple is requiring Samsung Display to lower the unit price of its OLED panels to USD100, down from the USD110 in 2017, according to Digitimes. Apple is likely to purchase up to 100M OLED panels from Samsung Display in 2018, with 25M to be used by the current iPhone X and the remaining 75M for the next-generation OLED models to be launched in 2018 – 5.8” and 6.5”. (Digitimes, press, Apple Insider, CN Beta)

With demand growing for active matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) TV panels, shipments of overall AMOLED panels by area is forecast to more than quadruple to 22.4Mm2 by 2024 from 5.0Mm2 in 2017, according to IHS Markit.  (IHS Markit, press, Laoyaoba)

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts Apple‘s 2019 iPhone models will add a film sensor to the cover glass sensor (CGS), which will increase lamination process complexity and boost CGS ASPs by 15%~25% to USD23~26. This potentially boosts the growth of CGS module suppliers GIS and TPK and film makers Nissha and O-Film in 2H19. This is seen offsetting the possible removal of the 3D Touch module in 2019 OLED models. (CN Beta, Street Insider)

Camera

Altek is planning a funding of NTD1.8B, and will be using the funding for digital imaging related equipment and technologies, expanding the markets and enriching the working capital, and repay debts to strengthening financial structure. (Laoyaoba, UDN, UDN)

Altek Corporation, a Taiwan intelligent vision solution provider, has announced it will be the first original design manufacturer (ODM) to offer reference designs based on the recently announced Qualcomm Vision Intelligence Platform. The QCS605 and QCS603 SoCs are engineered to support powerful computing for on-device camera processing and machine learning. (PR Newswire, CNYES, UDN)

Storage

According to TrendForce, China has entered the semiconductor sector and focused on the development of domestic memory industry. The three key players are YMTC, Innotron (Hefei Chang Xin) and JHICC, which work on NAND Flash, mobile DRAM and specialty DRAM respectively. All three companies have arranged trial production to begin in 2H18 and mass production to begin in 1H19. This will make 2019 the first year of China’s domestic memory chip production. (TrendForce[cn], TrendForce, press)

Wayne Allan, a senior vice president of Micron’s global manufacturing, the demand from 6 segments, yet the supply is limited, in 2018 the storage market is healthy and stable,  in particular DRAM cost will be stable till year end. He indicates that DRAM production volume in 2018 will increase 20%, and NAND Flash production volume will increase about 45%. (Asia Nikkei, CNA, UDN, Laoyaoba, Taipei Times)

President of Nanya Technology, Pei-ing Lee indicates that the ASP of DRAM has increased 6.1% in 1Q18 on quarter. He forecasts DRAM will be under-supply until 3Q18, and for 4Q18 it depends on the production volume increase from main vendors. Samsung and SK Hynix are still observing the market demand. He expects the DRAM market is healthy in 2018. (China Times, Money DJ, Laoyaoba)

Sensory

Apple, which analysts estimate is responsible for half of AMS revenue, is winding down production of its iPhone X line before gearing up for new products in the autumn. Although that transition was widely expected, the impact on AMS is magnified by Apple’s delays in finalizing parts specifications. AMS is widely expected to win follow-on contracts for the next iPhone and iPad. (Apple Insider, Reuters, Tencent)

Phones

Google Play Music allegedly will be replaced as Google’s go-to music service with YouTube Remix.  (Phone Arena, Android Headlines, Droid-Life)

According to MIDiA Research, the record industry grew 8.5% in 2017, hitting USD17.4B in revenues —much if not all of that being attributable to on-demand streaming services such as Apple Music. The streaming sector grew 39%—about USD2.1B—year-over-year to USD7.4B, accounting for 43% of all industry revenues. (Music Industry Blog, Media Research, Apple Insider, CN Beta)

Samsung Electronics is determined to further expand production in Vietnam, according to co-CEO Koh Dong-jin told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Samsung has invested USD17.3B in 8 factories and one research and development center in Vietnam, turning the country into its largest smart phone production base, the government said. Exports from Samsung’s factories in Vietnam totaled USD54B in 2017. (Laoyaoba, Reuters, NY Times)

Orders at 6 leading Japanese manufacturers of components grew just 8% for 1Q18, marking the slowest growth in five quarters amid lackluster demand for Apple iPhone X and other high-end smartphones. Murata Manufacturing, TDK, Kyocera, NidecAlps Electric and Nitto Denko landed JPY1.43T (USD13.1B) worth of orders during 1Q18, according to data collected by Nikkei. This translates to the first single-digit growth since 4Q16. (Asia Nikkei, Money DJ, TechNews)

AR / VR

Snapchat is rolling out a new ‘shoppable’ augmented reality (AR) Lens feature for advertisers around the world. Now advertisers will be able to include a button on their sponsored Lens that can carry out a number of actions, such as letting users visit a website, watch a promotional video, or install an app. (TechNews, VentureBeat, Digital Trends)

Home

According to Deutsche Bank, Apple HomePod smart speaker has “missed the mark” because it is too limited and expensive compared to Google and Amazon’s competitors. The analysts estimated that Apple has cut speaker production to 200K~300K units per month, meaning Apple would ship around 3M~4M speakers in 2018.  (CN Beta, BGR, Business Insider)

Automotive

Ford’s previously unveiled electric bicycle service GoBike has officially launched in San Francisco. Through it, Ford is offering the public access to 250 electric bicycles as part of an exclusively deal it has in the Bay Area. The e-bike system launchd on Tuesday with 123 bicycle docks located throughout the city. Each bike features an electric motor, battery, and a top speed of 18mph. (CN Beta, TechCrunch, Mashable, SlashGear)

Trial rides of Baidu’s self-driving bus Apolong is open to the public. In the future, the bus will be used in tourist spots, airports, etc. Apolong equips Baidu’s Apollo self-driving solution, based on highly accurate map and smart sensing technologies. (CN Beta, Gas Goo)

Robotics

Emerging robotics startup Marble has raised USD10M in a series A round of funding from Tencent, Lemnos, CrunchFund, and Maven. The San Francisco-based company debuted its autonomous food-delivery robots Apr 2018 in partnership with Yelp and later announced a partnership with DoorDash.  (VentureBeat, Tencent)

Noel Sharkey of the Foundation of Responsible Robotics warned that the ‘sex robots’ could ‘change humanity completely’. Sharkey says that the robots will have negative consequences for society. His theory is based on the fact that the robots will make sex easier to engage in. According to Havas, Havas, 27% of 18-34 years old would form a relationship with a robot. (CN Beta, Metro, Daily Mail, Daily Mail, Havas)

Payment

PayPal has officially launched its partnership with Samsung Pay, which will enable consumers to use PayPal within Samsung Pay and make purchases at the millions of retailers that accept Samsung Pay. (Android Headlines, Pocket-Lint, Sohu)

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