05-02: Qualcomm has broadened its use of a lower-cost licensing model for the next generation of mobile data networks; etc.

Chipsets

Taiwan-based suppliers of smartphone solutions, LCD driver ICs, analog and power management (PWM) chips, are expected to post double-digit sequential revenue growth in 2Q18 thanks to a significant pick-up in orders from China’s smartphone vendors, according to Digitimes. The Taiwan supply chain of OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi include MediaTek, Novatek Microelectronics, Himax Technologies, Sitronix Technology, Ilitek, FocalTech Systems, On-Bright Electronics, Global Mixed-mode Technology (GMT) and Leadtrend Technology are going to benefit from this. (Digitimes, press, UDN, Laoyaoba)

Qualcomm has broadened its use of a lower-cost licensing model for the next generation of mobile data networks, i.e., 5G, a move that could help in contentious talks with two customers including Apple and Huawei. (GizChina, TechNews, Apple Insider, CNBC, Phone Arena, Reuters)

Camera

RED has announced they need more time before they can launch Hydrogen One in the market. Initially slated for a 1Q18 release, RED now says their holographic smartphone should hit the shelves in Aug 2018. The smartphone will equip dual cameras rear and front. (Phone Arena, CNET, RED)

Storage

After Western Digital (WD) launching WD Purple microSD for surveillance application, Samsung is launching its Samsung Pro Endurance microSD series in China and Japan, with volume of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. (CN Beta, Samsung)

Toshiba has improved its cash position. Toshiba repaid more than 40% of the debt owed to banks in a single quarter. At the end of 2017, Toshiba owed more than JPY900B (USD8.23B) to 6 principal lenders. That figure shrunk to around JPY500B as of the end of Mar 2018. The money owed to main lenders Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and Mizuho Bank stood at JPY80B each in Mar 2018, plunging by 60% over the 3 months. The amount owed to the other 4 banks dropped as well. (TechNews, Money DJ, Asia Nikkei, Sohu)

Biometrics

According to Sigmaintell, at the high-end segment, with the increasing adoption and maturity of Face ID (3D structured light), under-glass fingerprint (optical or ultrasonic), the demand for sapphire and ceramic capacitive fingerprint is decreasing. At the mid-range segment, with the 18:9 display going mass, the demand for glass cover fingerprint sensor is also decreasing, thus the cost is going down. (Sigmaintell)

Connectivity

Huawei and China Unicom have recently announced a deal that will focus on the development of 5G network slicing ecosystem. As part of this agreement, the two companies will together develop network slicing equipment, which includes terminals, chips, and network infrastructure. (Android Headlines, Huawei)

Phones

OPPO has announced an exclusive e-commerce sub-brand in India, Realme, that aims to offer affordable devices manufactured by OPPO production line. Under the new brand, the company will offer a range of devices that will be ‘Made for and in India’ and priced in the range of INR10,000-20,000 (USD150-300). The company has also announced a strategic association with Amazon India for the exclusive launch of its first product, Realme 1. (Android Authority, Android Headlines, TechRadar, Gadgets Now, Sohu, iFeng)

Facebook will add features around dating and building long-term relationships on its social platform. The dating service functionality will reportedly go into testing later in 2018.(CN Beta, Android Authority, Reuters, Digital Trends)

Apple has revealed its fiscal year 2Q18 results, earning USD61.1B in revenue, with the average selling price of the iPhone staying high above USD700. During the Mar quarter, Apple shipped 52.2M iPhones, up 3% year-on-year from the 50.8M units shipped in the same period in 2017. (Apple Insider, Apple, CN Beta)

Apple’s service revenue topped USD9B in fiscal year 2Q18, the Mar quarter. The segment includes results from its services division, a catch-all category which includes the App Store, Apple Care, Apple Pay, iTunes, cloud services and more. (Apple Insider, Apple, CNBC, Bloomberg, Mac Rumors, CN Beta)

Avechi, an online shop which has a presence in Kenya and East Africa, has just announced the availability of a number of new smartphones, including the OnePlus 5T, Cubot X18 Plus, and Xiaomi Mi A1. Most other online shops only carry Samsung, Huawei and HTC in Kenya and East Africa. (Android Headlines, Gizmo China)

According to Strategy Analytics, , global smartphone shipments fell 2%  annually to reach 345M units in 1Q18. Samsung recaptured first position with 23% global smartphone market share, while Apple grew slightly to 15% share. Huawei and Xiaomi performed best among the major players and both hit record market share levels. (CN Beta, Strategy Analytics, press)

Coolpad Note 6 is launched in India – 5.5” FHD, Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, rear 13MP + front dual 8MP-5MP, 4GB + 32 / 64GB, Android 7.1, front-facing fingerprint scanner, 4070mAh, INR8999 / INR9999. (GizChina, Gizmo China, India Times, NDTV)

Samsung Galaxy A6 and A6+ are launched: A6 – 5.6” 720×1480 HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display, Samsung Exynos 7870 Octa, rear 16MP + front 16MP, 3 / 4GB + 32 / 64GB, Android 8.0, rear fingerprint scanner, IP68 certified, 3000mAh. A6+ – 6” 1080×2220 FHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, rear dual 16MP – 5MP + front 24MP, 3GB+32GB / 4GB+64GB, Android 8.0, rear fingerprint scanner, IP68 rated, 3500mAh. (GSM Arena, NDTV, Android Police)

PC / Tablet

Global shipments of tablets hit a new quarterly low of 33M units in 1Q18, falling 28.2% sequentially and 14.9% on year, due partly to insufficient stimulation from the non-Apple during the traditional off season and partly to white-box makers’ clients adjusting inventory. Shipments are expected to fall further to a new low of 31.06M units in 2Q18, according to Digitimes Research. (Digitimes, press, GizChina, TechNews)

Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality

Facebook has formally announced the Oculus Go, a standalone VR headset. The unit is equipped with a 538ppi display panel with a resolution 2560×1440 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, comes with a wireless controller, access to thousands of games and applications, and starts at USD199. (Facebook, Android Authority, CN Beta)

Led by Generation Z and Millennials, 77% of respondents who own a VR headset say they are interested in interacting socially with other people in VR, according to a new survey of 4,217 consumers conducted by Greenlight Insights. (Android Headlines, Forbes, VR Room, 913VR)

Facebook Messenger is adding augmented reality (AR) effects for businesses, which let advertisers prompt users to open their camera, which they can pre-populate with filters and AR effects. (Android Headlines, Engadget, Variety, The Verge, Facebook, Sohu, Sina)

Facebook has announced a new partnership with RED Digital Cinema, a high-end digital film camera company, to create a VR camera based on Facebook’s Surround360 technology. (Engadget, Oculus, CNET, Road to VR, Upload VR, The Verge, Variety)

Facebook has unveiled a new version of AR Studio, software that lets people build experiences that overlay digital graphics on top of what you see through your phone’s camera lens. Part of the update is a partnership with Sketchfab, which makes ready-to-use 3D, AR and virtual reality animation. That means people can sift through Sketchfab’s library and add their animations in apps.  (CN Beta, CNET, AdWeek)

Home

Facebook is allegedly considering launching its smart speakers internationally first to avoid U.S. public scrutiny of data privacy issues. The two speakers will include a voice assistant based on the same underlying technology that powered its “M” chatbot, which was discontinued in Jan 2018. (CNBC, Liliputing, Tencent)

Automotive

Foxconn Technology Group could potentially run autonomous trucks along Interstate 94 as early as 2021 under technology the manufacturer is exploring with state officials. Those trucks would run Foxconn’s products between its Mount Pleasant LCD screen manufacturing plant and General Mitchell International Airport. They would link to a communications system in the road itself, receiving information on traffic speed, for example. (CN Beta, Biz Journal)

Artificial Intelligence

Cisco has announced an agreement to acquire Accompany, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to build databases of people and relationships at companies.  The company provides an AI-driven relationship intelligence platform for finding new prospects, navigating the selling process, and strengthening relationships.  (CN Beta, TechCrunch, Cisco, ZDNet)

Fintech

The Bank of Korea (BOK) has been working with overseas banking institutes to explore the possibility of applying blockchain technology and password security to payment systems. The BOK would initiate research on the impact of cryptocurrency on the financial system through implementing digital money and the possibility of issuing a central bank password. (CN Beta, Coin Telegraph, News BTC, Korea Times, Token Post)

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