05-16: Samsung is in talks with several smartphone makers including ZTE to supply mobile processor chips; HTC has announced that it will be making a Blockchain smartphone; etc.

Chipsets

According to CE Weekly report, driven by the development of older to youngest generation of corps, China’s AI chipset production is booming. In 2H17, more than 30 corps’ AI chipsets are waiting to tape out at TSMC’s production lines. DeePhi Tech, Unisound, and Novumind’s AI chipsets will finish tape out in 2018. In other words, 2018 would be a very happening year for China’s AI chipsets. (CE Weekly, article, Laoyaoba)

Samsung Electronics is in talks with several smartphone makers including ZTE to supply mobile processor chips, according to Inyup Kang, head of Samsung System LSI. He expects to announce a new client for its Exynos chipsets in 1H19. (Android Headlines, Reuters, Sam Mobile, CNBC, CN Beta)

Qualcomm is embracing the Wi-Fi Alliance’s new Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA3) standard, the third generation of connectivity security solutions meant to strengthen both public and private networks against attacks. (Android Headlines, Android Central, Qualcomm)

Touch Display

E Ink Holdings (EIH) has agreed to invest EUR26M (USD30.89M) into digital label solution provider SES-imagotag as the two companies are strengthening their collaborative efforts to expand and accelerate the retail IoT market. BOE Smart Retail (Hong Kong) currently holds a 79.94% stake in the France-listed SES-imagotag. (Laoyaoba, SEMI Insights, Digitimes, press, UDN)

Camera

The US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to user interfaces of electronic devices, particularly devices having dual built-in cameras that could simultaneously record and display two different viewfinders for creating videos. (Laoyaoba, Cult of Mac, USPTO, Digital Trends, Patently Apple)

OmniVision Technologies collaborates with Smart Eye to integrate its latest 2MP image sensor with Smart Eye’s sensing algorithm library in a turnkey driver and cabin monitoring solution that targets automotive OEMs. OV2311 is said to be the industry’s first 2MP sensor with global shutter and an ASIL B rating in a small package, critical features for automotive applications that require high-precision gaze and eye tracking. (Laoyaoba, PR Newswire, Embedded Computing, EDN China)

Memory

Wuhan based Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC), and following the installation of memory chipset production equipment on 11 Apr 2018, China’s first 32-layer 3D NAND memory chipset is expected to enter mass production in Optics Valley of China within 2018. (Laoyaoba, CSIA, EE World, CJN)

Gigabyte presents its UD PRO series SATA Interface SSDs with built-in DDR3 RAM, adhering to GIGABYTE standards for high quality, ultra durable products and providing users with a superior product experience. (My Drivers, Tweak Town, Gigabyte)

NAND Flash controllers and modules supplier Phison Electronics indicates that demand for NAND flash memory is likely to gradually recover in 2Q18 after a sluggish 1Q18 due to seasonal factors, while prices are expected to pick up from a downward spiral that started in the middle of 2017. The chairman Pua Khein-seng also reveals that supply might become tight again in 3Q18. He has also predicted that a supply glut could materialize in 2020, adding that it is his long-term fear. (Laoyaoba, UDN, HQEW, Taipei Times)

Applied Material’s Sean Kang, expects future 3D NAND technologies to achieve 140 layers (up from today’s leading 64-layer tech) by 2021. Before 2021 and its 140-layer NAND comes (which will require new fabrication materials), 90-layer solutions are expected to be launched in 2018, with a 20% decrease in layer height, down from its current 60 nm to 55 nm, which will allow for relatively stable stack heights, even as the number of layers increases significantly (by around 40% compared to 64-layer tech). (CN Beta, Computer Base, EDN China, Tech Power Up, IT Home)

TrendForce reports that the global DRAM revenue for 1Q18 rose by 5.4% QoQ to a new record high. Prices of graphics DRAM products rose significantly by 15% QoQ in 1Q18, given the relatively low base and the surge of demand from the cryptocurrency mining market. Prices of DRAM products for other application markets also increased by 3%~6% QoQ. (TrendForce[cn], TrendForce, press, Laoyaoba)

Biometrics

Samsung and Apple are allegedly developing FOD (Finger-On-Display), which will allow the sensor to capture details of a user’s finger using ultrasonic recognition placed directly on the display. Apple is likely to introduce virtual fingerprint sensing on the iPhone in 2019 or 2020. (WCCF Tech, Pocket-Lint, Chosun, Laoyaoba)

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent “Vein imaging using detection of pulsed radiation” granted to Apple. The patent describes the use of an infrared emitter and a receiver that can detect blood vessel patterns below the surface of the skin.  (Ubergizmo, Apple Insider, USPTO, Baijiahao)

Phone

According to IDC, the India smartphone market saw a shipment of 30M units in 1Q18, making it the strongest start to a year and maintaining a healthy year on year growth of 11%. However, the market remained almost flat compared to 4Q17. (IDC, press, Gizmo China, Tencent)

According to Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster, Apple iPhone will remain a “stable business for the next few years”. Based on the size of the active iPhone install base (~805M), along with a stable replacement cycle and iPhone retention rates above 90%, the iPhone business can continue to grow units and revenue in a predictable (0%~5%) range over the next several years. The combination of stable iPhone and >15% Services growth can generate USD40B~USD50B annually that they can return to investors. (Loup Ventures, Loup Ventures, Apple Insider)

Samsung North America CEO Tim Baxter criticized President Trump’s recently imposed tariffs on imported goods, having equaled them to taxes and concluded they are  hurting consumers. (Android Headlines, Fortune)

OPPO sub-brand Realme 1 is launched in India exclusively with Amazon India – 6” 2160×1080 FHD+, MediaTek Helio P60, rear 13MP + front 8MP, 3 / 4/ 6GB + 32 / 64 / 128GB,Android 8.1, sans fingerprint scanner, 3410mAh, from INR8,990.  (Android Central, GSM Arena, Android Headlines)

vivo X21i is announced in China –  6.28” 1080×2280 Super AMOLED, MediaTek Helio P60,  rear dual 12MP-12MP + front 24MP, 6GB+64GB / 4GB+128GB, Android 8.1, rear fingerprint scanner, 3425mAh, CNY2698. (GizChina, GSM Arena, NDTV)

Smartisan R1 is announced – 6.17” 2242×1080, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, rear dual 12MP-20MP + front 24MP, 6 / 8GB + 64GB / 128GB / 1TB, fingerprint scanner, face unlock, 3600mAh, from CNY3499. (Gizmo China, GizChina, Sohu, CNMO)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Amazon has announced that Sumerian, a web-based tool leveraging Amazon services to create 3D, AR, and VR applications. Sumerian enables developers to construct “scenes” featuring interactive characters and environments that can be accessed across multiple platforms.  (VentureBeat, Amazon, 87870)

Home

Juniper Research has found that increasing smart security adoption will drive home automation and monitoring revenues from an estimated USD12B in 2018 to over USD45B by 2023, representing a growth of over 260%. The research found that smart security is a driving force behind this market growth, with manufacturers such as Nest, Hive and Netgear producing compelling mass market products.  (Android Headlines, Juniper Research)

Automotive

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Apple now has 55 vehicles and 83 drives under its permit to test autonomous vehicles. (Apple Insider, Mac Reports, CN Beta)

Tesla has registered a new electric car firm in Shanghai, as China prepares to scrap rules on capping foreign ownership of new-energy vehicle (NEV) ventures. Tesla has registered a new company in Shanghai’s Free-Trade Zone – seemingly in preparation for this new manufacturing project. (CN Beta, CN Beta, Electrek, Reuters, WSJ)

Even though Tesla remains one of the most shorted stocks, Nomura Instinet analyst Romit Shah believes the company could rally to USD500 per share. He believes that over the next 3~6 months the narrative on the company will shift from insolvency risk and cash burn to market opportunity and growth. They have created a chart that sets out a path to an approximately “USD100B valuation within 2 years” from the automaker. (CN Beta, CNBC)

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has issued an autonomous vehicle testing permit to Didi Chuxing’s American research wing, clearing it to operate self-driving cars as long as there is a safety driver. The move comes slightly over 1 year after Didi Chuxing opened its US research lab. (Engadget, TechCrunch, DMV, Sina)

General Motors (GM) is investigating how to make future autonomous vehicles more aerodynamic, especially when there’s no-one or very few people on-board. A patent filing for “Method and Systems for Reconfiguring a Vehicle Geometry” details how vehicles, most likely autonomous, could reconfigure themselves to handle various use cases. (Laoyaoba, Car Advice, GM Inside News)

Fintech

HTC has announced that it will be making a Blockchain smartphone, named the HTC Exodus. This would be the second Blockchain smartphone, behind Sirin Labs Finney smartphone that is priced at USD1000. (Android Headlines, CNET, The Verge, CN Beta)

IBM is joining forces with Hong Kong’s Veridium Labs to use blockchain, the distributed ledger technology, to increase the efficiency in the carbon-credit market and make the process of offsetting carbon credits easier. Stellar acts as the digital ledger for the transactions and IBM will handle the nuts and bolts of the trade activity of buying, selling and managing the tokens. (TechCrunch, Coin Telegraph, Market Watch, 8BTC, Tencent)

Payment

Huawei and Ant Financial form a joint innovation lab. In particular, both companies will launch a smartphone built-in “mobile shield” product, which is based on Huawei Kirin inSE functionality and trust execution environment (TEE), to solve the payment security issues. (Laoyaoba, iFeng, Tom.com)

E-Commerce

Alibaba Group North America general manager Steve Wang has revealed that Alibaba is seeking to lease real estate for a Vancouver office that within “2~3 years” will employ at least 30 people. (CN Beta, BIV)

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