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05-25: Qualcomm and Intel’s series of AI announcements; Huawei and BOE are reportedly working on a foldable smartphone with an 8” display; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm reportedly plans to unveil a dedicated chip to power standalone VR and AR headsets as it seeks to break into new businesses beyond smartphones. The chip, to be called Snapdragon XR1, will be a system-on-a-chip with a main processing unit, a graphics processor, security functions and components to handle artificial intelligence tasks. The chip will also tackle voice control and head-tracking interaction with headsets. (CN Beta, CNET, Next Reality, Seeking Alpha, Bloomberg)

Qualcomm has introduced the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 Mobile Platform, built on 10nm process technology. The Snapdragon 710 is designed with highly efficient architectures for artificial intelligence, featuring a multi-core AI Engine and neural network processing capabilities. (Liliputing, Engadget, Qualcomm, Laoyaoba)

Qualcomm has announced the formation of Qualcomm AI Research, a cross-functional, cooperative effort that encompasses all of the cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) research taking place across the company.  (Laoyaoba, Qualcomm, Mobile ID World, Fierce Telecom)

Qualcomm and NetEase Youdao have announced they are working together to accelerate the implementation of Youdao’s real-scene augmented reality (AR) translation based on select Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platforms, utilizing the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine components. (Laoyaoba, Baidu, ESM China, Qualcomm)

Qualcomm and Baidu have announced they will work together to use the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine to drive conversion and application of Baidu PaddlePaddle open-source deep learning framework models on Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platforms through the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX) interchange format. (Laoyaoba, Qualcomm, TechNode)

Qualcomm and Thundercomm have announced their collaboration to support the large ecosystem of developers and manufacturers with their latest on-device artificial intelligence (AI) commercial technology. The effort is aimed at helping developers focused on creating the next-generation of AI-enabled products in China, such as factory controllers, car accessories, retail cameras, robots and more. (Laoyaoba, Qualcomm)

Spreadtrum has launched SC9863 processor equipped with eight Cortex A55 cores clocked a 1.6 GHz, and designed for LTE smartphones. The SoC also embeds an AI processing unit that increases AI tasks performance by 6 times, and allows for real-time intelligent context detection and recognition, AR photography, and face recognition. (Gizmo China, Spreadtrum, CNXSoft, Anzhuo, iFeng)

Intel has announced plans to release Nervana Neural Net L-1000, code named Spring Crest, to make it easier for developers to test and deploy AI models. Intel first introduced the Neural Network Processor (NNP) family of chips last fall. Spring Crest will be 3-4 times faster than Lake Crest, its first NNP chip. (CN Beta, VentureBeat, Tom’s Hardware)

The Intel AI Lab has open-sourced a library for natural language processing (NLP) to help researchers and developers give conversational agents like chatbots and virtual assistants the smarts necessary to function, such as name entity recognition, intent extraction, and semantic parsing to identify the action a person wants to take from their words. (VentureBeat, Intel)

Touch Display

Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn Technology Group) is considering producing small to midsized displays for Apple, automakers and others at its USD10B factory planned for the U.S. state of Wisconsin. (Apple Insider, Asia Nikkei, CN Beta)

Tianma is showcaising 6.21” AA Hole full display, resolution 2400×1080, 20:9 aspect ratio, using COG technology—bottom border is 3mm, side border is 0.5mm, top border is 0.6mm. (CN Beta, Laoyaoba)

Japan Display Inc (JDI) has reportedly begun producing Full Active display for Apple’s next-generation iPhone. Its Full Active display factory at Japan Hakusan has entered full capacity production. (Laoyaoba, TechNews)

Huawei and BOE are reportedly working on a foldable smartphone with an 8” display. BOE could be working on four foldable phones from two companies. Huawei allegedly plans to announce this foldable smartphone in Nov 2018. (Android Authority, ET News, PR Newswire, CN Beta)

BOE is showcasing a foldable all-screen WQHD AMOLED display that can achieve minimum dynamic bending with a radius of only 1mm. It can be bent more than 100,000 times and has an NTSC color gamut up to 118%, which helps to improve user experience considerably.  (PR Newswire, CN Beta)

Connectivity

Popular MVNO carrier FreedomPop is starting a new mobile carrier with a different setup. The new MVNO is called Unreal Mobile, and it is in a public beta. (Android Authority)

Phone

Huawei Honor’s President, Zhao Ming, has announced that the company managed to sell over 1M Honor 10 smartphones in China thus far.  (Android Headlines, Huanqiu)

Sony has unveiled its mid-term corporate strategy for 2018 to 2020, Sony has acknowledging concerns regarding its smartphone business. Sony has admitted that a key issue with its smartphone business has been a lack of fast improvements to its smartphone lineup. (Android Headlines, Mobile Syrup, Asia Nikkei, Xperia Blog, Yesky, Sina)

Google has now announced a new USD100M initiative to provide skills and economic opportunities through its Google.org division and nonprofit organizations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. (Android Headlines, Google.org, Axios)

Gionee CFO He Dabing has revealed that a company with a “state capital background” is planning to take over Gionee and that a restructuring is on the horizon. He has said the company’s total liabilities amount to CNY20B (USD3.1B). (CN Beta, OfWeek, 36Kr, DoNews, Caixin Global)

Essential has allegedly canceled plans to develop a second phone and is exploring selling off the entire company. Essential has considered remaining in the phone business, just not by designing devices itself. (Android Headlines, Bloomberg, CNET, The Verge, Sohu, TechWeb)

vivo Y83 is announced in China – 6.22” 1520×720 HD+, MediaTek Helio P22, rear 13MP + front 8MP, 4GB+64GB, Android 8.1, face unlock, no fingerprint scanner, 3260mAh, CNY1498. (GizChina, Gizmo China)

vivo Z1 is launched in China – 6.26” 2280×1080 FHD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, rear dual 13MP  – 2MP + front 24MP, 4GB+64GB, Android 8.1, rear fingerprint scanner, 3260mAh, CNY1798. (Gizmo China, CN Beta)

Meizu M8c is announced – 5.45” 1440×720 HD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, rear 13MP + front 8MP, 2GB+16/32GB, 3070mAh, no fingerprint scanner, from RUB9990 (roughly CNY1000). (CN Beta, GSM Arena, NDTV)

Samsung Galaxy Wide 3 is launched in South Korea with SK Telecom – 5.5” HD, 1.6GHz octa-core, rear 13MP + front 13MP, 2GB+32GB, Android 8.0, 3300mAh, KRW297,000. (GizChina, Android Authority, GSM Arena)

Wearables

According to Canalys, wearable band shipments grew 35% YoY to 20.5M units in 1Q18. Smartwatches accounted for 80% of wearable band revenue, up from 74% in 1Q17. In terms of shipped units, smartwatches accounted for 43% in 1Q18. Apple emerged as the top vendor, shipping 3.8M Apple Watches; Xiaomi, whose Mi Bands account for more than 90% of its shipments, was close behind, shipping 3.7M units. (Apple Insider, Canalys, press, Sina)

Future Samsung Gear devices rumored to run on Wear OS instead of Tizen. (GSM Arena, Twitter)

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro is announced, powered by Android Wear OS, equipped with heart rate sensor, NFC support and a second FSTN LCD display on top of the OLED screen, which is supposed to extend the battery life to 2 days of use. (Phone Arena, The Verge, Android Central, Sina, TechWeb, Sohu)

Automotive

Apple has reportedly inked a deal with Volkswagen to convert a number of T6 Transporter vans into self-driving shuttles for its Palo Alto to Infinite Loop (PAIL), which is a pilot program that is expected to shuttle Apple employees. (Apple Insider, NY Times, iFeng, STCN)

Lyft is committing USD100M to better support its drivers. The company is specifically putting this money toward cheaper oil changes, basic car maintenance, serviced car washes and more. Lyft will also almost double its operating hours at its driver hubs in 15 cities throughout the nation. (TechCrunch, Tencent, Sohu)

A California-based startup, Rivian is intent on launching an all-electric 5-passenger pickup truck in 2020 and a 7-passenger SUV after that. Rivian claims these vehicles will cost USD50K~USD100K, deliver 200~400 miles of range. (The Verge, Journal Star)

Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company backed by Google, Tencent and others, has officially announced plans to move into 4 new markets—Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Philippines. (TechCrunch, Huanqiu, iFeng)

Artificial Intelligence

Samsung’s consumer product chief Kim Hyun-suk sees every device made by Samsung, including washers, dryers, televisions and refrigerators, as a potential smart speaker. The company has a goal of equipping all of its devices with AI and internet connectivity by 2020. By then the company expects to have at least 1,000 AI-dedicated engineers and researchers. (Phone Arena, WSJ)

India secretary-defence production Ajay Kumar said the government had decided to introduce AI in all the three forces as it would be a “big area” considering the requirements of future warfare. A high-powered task force headed by Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran is finalising the specifics and framework of the project. (My Drivers, Live Mint, Times of India)

Owkin, a medical research machine learning startup, has announced a new investor in the form of GV (formerly Google Ventures), which has now joined as a late entrant to Owkin’s series A round. Founded in 2016, Owkin’s platform leverages deep learning to develop predictive models and expedite drug development throughout the whole process.  (VentureBeat, Sina, Tencent)

Fintech

After rolling out Mi Music and Mi Video earlier in 2018, Xiaomi is now wading into financial services with Mi Credit, a lending platform that makes it easier for MIUI users to get a line of credit. It is partnering with India’s KrazyBee. Called KreditBee, the credit product is a payday loan starting from INR1,000 up to INR100,000 for a period of 90 days.  (Android Central, The Mobile Indian)

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