04-26: HMD Global has announced that the company’s India operation has already become profitable; Xiaomi has announced that it will permanently limit the net profit margin earned from hardware sales to a maximum of 5% after tax; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm has announced its fiscal year 2Q18 (till 25 Mar 2018) financial report. Based on GAAP, compared with the year-ago quarter, Qualcomm revenue fell by about 13%, from USD6B to USD5.2B, due in part to litigation and expenses associated with an ongoing patent dispute with Apple and others. (CN Beta, TechCrunch, Qualcomm, Financial Times, CNBC)

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has revealed that the company has invested in 5 semiconductor firms in the last 4 years. The company’s acquisition of the local design house Hangzhou C-Sky Microsystems, he said he was motivated in part by a desire to make chips “inclusive” – cheap, efficient and available to all. (Laoyaoba, AWTMT, Tencent, Wall Street CN, Telegraph, SCMP, Financial Express)

According to IC Insights, in 2017, the top 8 major foundry leaders (i.e., sales of ≥USD1B) held 88% of the USD62.3B worldwide foundry market. TSMC, by far, was the leader with USD32.2B in sales in 2017.  In fact, TSMC’s 2017 sales were over 5x that of second-ranked GlobalFoundries and more than 10x the sales of the 5th-ranked foundry SMIC. (Laoyaoba, IC Insights, press)

Apple is reportedly expecting Intel to supply 70% of the modem chips inside the new iPhone models which will debut 2018 fall, with Qualcomm picking up the remaining 30%. Apple will continue to draw down its reliance on Qualcomm and completely wean itself off the chipmaker in 2019. (Apple Insider, Fast Company, CN Beta)

Taiwan-based graphics card makers including Gigabyte Technology, Micro-Star International (MSI) and TUL are expected to see their shipments for Apr 2018 plunge over 40% on month, as many clients have suspended taking shipments in response to drastic slowdown in demand for cryptocurrency mining machines, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Digital Trends, CN Beta, Techspot)

Camera

Sony is expanding its self-driving image sensor product lines. Sony has already begun supplying image sensor to Mobileye. The “IMX324”, which works well with NVIDIA image processor will begin shipment before Sept 2018. The current product is 20M resolution, and new product can achieve 742MP resolution, which is the highest resolution for the automotive image sensor. (CN Beta, CN Nikkei)

Storage

Samsung Electronics has announced that it has begun mass producing 10nm class 16-gigabit (Gb) LPDDR4X DRAM for automobiles. The latest LPDDR4X features high performance and energy efficiency while significantly raising the thermal endurance level for automotive applications that often need to operate in extreme environments.  (My Drivers, Business Wire, Samsung)

Phones

Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang makes reference to the three upcoming iPhone models that Apple is expected to launch in 2018—codenamed “Jaguar” referring to 6.1” LCD iPhone; “Porsche” is the 5.8” OLED model; and, “Rolls-Royce” is the 6.5” OLED. According to Zhang, apart from the larger display, the “Rolls-Royce” is also rumored to support the “iPen”.  (Ubergizmo, Phone Arena, Apple Insider, BGR, CN Blogs, Sohu)

Guggenheim analyst Robert Cihra thinks Apple may use upcoming cycle to formally change its iPhone naming / branding pattern—mid-market LCD-based iPhone simply called “iPhone” without any numbering; high-end iPhone for the generation will apparently keep the “X” suffix to denote its increased specifications.  (Apple Insider, CN Beta)

Smartphone sales and production amounted to USD3.6T of the global economy in 2017, the IMF said in its April World Economic Outlook. The industry represented 5.7% of Chinese exports, and in Ireland —where Apple’s European operations are headquartered —iPhone exports alone are said to have amounted to 1/4 of the country’s economic growth, in value-added terms. (IMF, report, Apple Insider, Laoyaoba, Computer World)

ZTE has blasted the US government decision to impose a 7-year ban on its purchases of crucial American components, calling the move “extremely unfair” and “unacceptable”. ZTE has vowed to protect its rights by “legal means”. It also said it will continue to resolve the issue through negotiations with the US government. (Android Headlines, Pocket Now, Tech Central, CN Beta, Sohu)

The licensee of the Nokia brand for phones, HMD Global Business Head (North and East), Amit Goyal indicates that the company’s India operation has already become profitable. The company is focusing on ramping up smartphone ranges along with feature phones and also working on design and software aspects as a part of its strategies to achieve the goal. (NDTV, Gizmo China)

According to Canalys, Samsung shipped just over 8M of its newly launched flagship devices, the Galaxy S9 and S9+, in the first 4 weeks after launch. The launch performance of the S9 series closely matched that of the S8 series in Apr 2017, but failed to surpass the 9M achieved by the S7 series in Mar 2016. (Phone Arena, Canalys, press, iFeng, Sohu)

Global smartphone demand fell 2% to 347M units in 1Q18. Demand was especially sluggish in China (down 6% year-on-year) and North America (down 5% year-on-year). However, global smartphone average sales price (ASP) growth accelerated further to 21% year-on-year in 1Q18. As a result, revenue grew 18% year-on-year to USD129.8B despite the fall in demand.  (GfK, press, Apple Insider, Phone Arena, IT Home)

The Justice Department of US is allegedly investigating whether Huawei Technologies violated U.S. sanctions related to Iran, a move that opens a new avenue of scrutiny of Huawei on national security grounds. Huawei indicates that the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including the applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU. (CN Beta, WSJ, TechCrunch, Japan Times)

Xiaomi has announced that it will permanently limit the net profit margin earned from hardware sales to a maximum of 5% after tax. If it makes more money than planned over a calendar year, it plans to “distribute the excess amount by reasonable means to its users.” (Android Authority, TechCrunch, FT Chinese, ESM China, Sohu)

Xiaomi and Wuhan University has jointly formed an artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory. Xiaomi will provide CNY10M investment for AI-related new theory, new solutions and new technologies R&D. (CN Beta, Fonow)

Xiaomi 6X is announced – 5.99” HD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, rear dual 12MP-20MP + front 20MP, 4 / 6GB + 64 / 128GB, rear fingerprint scanner, 3010mAh, USB Type-C, from CNY1599. (CN Beta, GSM Arena, Xiaomi)

PCs / Tablets

Alcatel A3 (2018) is announced – 10.1” 1280×800 HD IPS, MediaTek MT8127, rear 8MP+front 5MP, 3GB+16GB, Android 7.0, 4G LTE optional, 4600mAh, INR9,999 on Flipkart. (GizChina, Digit, Gizbot)

Wearables

Lenovo has announced its plans to further expand its market share in the Indian smart wearables space by manufacturing them locally. As a result of this step, Lenovo expects its share to soar by 3 times to touch 20% by the end of 2018.  (Android Headlines, GizChina, Tencent)

Lenovo has announced a pair of smart fitness bands – HX03 Cardio and HX03F Spectra – in the Indian market at a price of INR1,999 (USD30) and INR2,299 (USD34), respectively, via Flipkart in India. Both of them include an optical heart rate monitor and are water resistant with IP68 rating.  (Android Headlines, GizChina)

Automotive

In 2017, Volvo announced that it was going “all electric“ by 2019, but it was actually only adding electric motors to each model. Now, the company is clarifying its electrification plans with an announcement that they aim for 50% of sales to be ‘fully electric’ by 2025. (Engadget, Electrek, TechWeb)

Robotics

Adidas’ Speedfactory in Atlanta is open, producing shoes like the new AM4NYC limited collection. The factory is completely automated, and designed to be able to speedily produce limited runs of customizable product or replenish the hottest product selling quickly during the same season. (CN Beta, Business Insider)

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