06-08: U.S. has struck a deal with ZTE to end crippling American sanctions; OPPO has announced that 3D structured light technology will be commercialized within 6 months; etc.

Chipsets

Bitmain has re-adjusted its foundry manufacture strategy to adopt multiple suppliers. Samsung is expected to win some foundry orders from Bitmain in 2H18. Samsung has been working aggressively in bitcoin mining business, working with Taiwan UMC subsidy Faraday Technology to win more orders for bitcoin mining. (China Times, Laoyaoba, LTN, Bitcoin Exchange Guide)

MediaTek Helio P60 has attracted orders from a number of China-based vendors including OPPO and vivo. MediaTek is gearing up to roll out an enhanced version of the processor with improvement in both performance and power consumption in 2H18, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba, Yahoo)

With the rising demand of Europe and US markets, shipment value of the Taiwanese semiconductor industry is estimated to reach nearly NTD2.4T (USD82.2B) and grow lower than the global average at 5.8% in 2018 compared to 2017, according to Taiwan-based Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC). In 2018, the increasing demand for DRAM and NAND flash is to bolster the global semiconductor market, with an estimated market value of USD440.6B. (Laoyaoba, MIC, MIC, Epoch Times, UDN, Money DJ)

Qualcomm is allegedly working on a Snapdragon 1000 chip set to be unveiled later 2018. The new chip is said to have a 12 watt TDP, which is nearly twice the 6.5 watt max TDP for the Snapdragon 850. (Liliputing, Win Future, Sohu, My Drivers)

Touch Display

Intel has created prototype devices with both dual displays and electronic paper displays (EPD), dubbed Tiger Rapids. The prototype device has a hinge in the middle for the 2 screens to close flat. (The Verge, PC World, Engadget CN, CN Beta)

LED driver IC vendor Macroblock will begin mass produce Mini LED BLU driver IC in 4Q18. Macroblock has reportedly entered the supply chain of mobile phone vendors, and expects to gain orders from Chinese phone vendors in 2019. Huawei, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi have allegedly will launch new models with Mini LED technology. (LED Inside, Laoyaoba, Elecfans, UDN)

Hon Hai Precision has continued to strengthen its smart factory portfolio. In addition to collaborating with SK Group of South Korea, US leading industrial automation company Rockwell, as well as Siemens and Schneider, the company is also promoting its solutions to the global market. In particular, the company is working with TCL Corp’s TCL Display for its smart factory design service. (Sigmaintell, UDN)

Biometrics

Hanwang Technology (Hanvon) has revealed that the company’s facial and biometrics business unit is working with ZTE, Apple and other companies on some projects. (JRJ, Laoyaoba, Sina)

OPPO and Ant Financial have announced a strategic collaboration. OPPO and the payment team will complete the 3D facial recognition support for payment. OPPO has announced that 3D structured light technology will be commercialized within 6 months.  (My Drivers, CN Beta, Tencent)

Phone

As global smartphone shipments reached 345.5M units in 1Q18, Apple iPhone X was the leading model, with 12.7M units shipped. According to IHS Markit, iPhone 8 is ranked second, shipping 8.5 M units, followed by the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy S9 Plus. (IHS Markit, press, CN Beta)

HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said the company is looking to invest in technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of the Things (IoT) and 5G. The company is also eyeing Blockchain, which is a platform for digital transaction records, she said. (Android Authority, Phone Arena, The Standard, CNYES, UDN)

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the U.S. has struck a deal with ZTE to end crippling American sanctions. The department says the deal includes a USD1B penalty against ZTE and a U.S.-chosen compliance team to be embedded at the company. The deal also requires ZTE to change its board of directors and executive team within 30 days. (CNBC, Android Authority, VOA Chinese, Sohu, BBC)

Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who is vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is pressing Twitter and Google parent company Alphabet over whether they’ve struck up data-sharing arrangements with Chinese telecom companies. (CN Beta, Bloomberg, Politico)

Huawei Technologies has announced that it plans to invest USD81M under a drive to boost the development of the digital economy in countries across Southeast Asia in the coming years. Huawei will also open an OpenLab in Delhi in August. Like the facility in Bangkok, it will serve as an open innovation platform where Huawei joins forces with local partners to create industry products for the region. (Laoyaoba, Sina, Xinhuanet, Telecom Paper, The Nation)

According to Counterpoint, the share of the online smartphone channels grew to 12% share of the total US smartphone sales in 1Q18. Despite US consumers being massive online consumers, brick and mortar establishments remain king when it comes to purchasing smartphones. (Counterpoint Research, CN Beta)

Moto Z3 Play is announced in Brazil – 6.01” 2160×1080 FHD+ AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, rear dual 12MP-5MP + front 8MP, 4GB+32 / 64GB, Android 8.1, side-mounted fingerprint scanner, USB-C, 3000mAh, BRL2,299 / USD499. (Android Central, Android Headlines, CN Beta)

HTC Desire 12 and Desire 12 Plus are announced in India: Desire 12 – 5.5” 720×1440 HD+ IPS, MediaTek MT6739, rear 13MP + front 5MP, 3GB+32GB, Android 8.1, 2730mAh, INR15,800. Desire 12 Plus – 6” 720×1440 HD+ IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, rear dual 13MP-2MP + front 8MP, 3GB+32GB, Android 8.1, 2965mAh, INR19,790. (Android Authority, NDTV)

LG Q Stylus series is announced, featuring 6.2” 2160×1080 FHD+, 1.5GHz / 1.8GHz octa-core, Android 8.1, rear fingerprint scanner, IP68 rated, 3300mAh: Q Stylus+ – rear 16MP + front 8MP / 5MP, 4GB+64GB. Q Stylus – rear 16MP + front 8MP / 5MP, 3GB+32GB. Q Stylusα – rear 13MP + front 5MP, 3GB+32GB. (Android Central, Engadget, LG, GSM Arena)

BlackBerry KEY2 is announced – 4.5” 1620×1080 IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, rear dual 12MP-12MP + front 8MP, 6GB + 64 / 128GB, Android 8.1, USB-C, 3500mAh, USD649. (Android Central, Android AuthorityVentureBeat)

Xiaomi Redmi Y2 is announced – 5.99” 1440×720 HD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, rear dual 12MP-5MP + front 16MP, 3GB+32GB / 4GB+64GB, Android 8.0 (MIUI 9.5), 3080mAh, INR9,999 / INR12,999. (Android Authority, TechRadar, Economic Times)

Huawei Honor 9i is launched – 5.84” 1080×2280 FHD+, Huawei Kirin 659, rear dual 13MP-2MP + front 16MP, 4GB+64 / 128GB, Android 8.0 (EMUI 8.0), face unlock, rear fingerprint scanner, 3000mAh, CNY1400 / CNY1700. (Android Headlines, NDTV, iFeng, Vmall)

Huawei Honor Play is launched with ‘GPU Turbo’ technology – 6.3” 1080×2340 FHD+, Huawei Kirin 970, rear dual 16MP-2MP + front 16MP, 4 / 6GB+64GB, Android 8.1 (EMUI 8.2), 3750mAh, CNY1999 / CNY2399. (GSM Arena, Vmall, XDA Developers, Engadget CN, Sohu)

Sharp AQUOS S3 High-End Edition is announced in Taiwan – 6” 2160×1080 FHD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, rear dual 12MP-13MP + front 16MP, 6GB+128GB, 3200mAh, NTD13,990. (GizChina, CN Beta)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

A startup DreamWorld has launched the USD399 DreamGlass AR headset. It offers a 90º field of view and a resolution of 2.5K. It has USB and HDMI ports for hooking up to a smartphone or computer to handle the processing of AR content, making it a cross-platform headset. (Android Headlines, Gear Bin, Tom’s Hardware, Wearable, AR in China, 87870)

Magic Leap is showing off Lightwear, Lightpack, and Controller, the three key pieces of its One Creator Edition bundle. Each Creator Edition includes 3 key items: a Lightwear headset in one of two different sizes, a Lightpack portable computer, and a wireless controller, plus separate chargers. (CN Beta, TechRadar, VentureBeat)

Business opportunities generated by smart manufacturing in Greater China will be more tremendous than in the US and Europe, as almost all the products requiring the use of electricity are manufactured in the area, now the world’s largest production base, according to Zhang Yongli, vice president of Microsoft Greater China. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

Home

Amazon unveils Fire TV Cube, acts as a 4K Ultra HD streaming media player that gives access to a variety of services, including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and others. It is also powered by Amazon’s virtual personal assistant Alexa. (VentureBeat, TechCrunch, The Verge, CNBC, Wired, CN Beta)

Amazon has launched Echo Look allowing the AI to help you create a ‘personal lookbook’ and design shareable photos. Before now, the device, which takes full-length photos and short videos of outfit from every angle, was only available by invitation. (CN Beta, The Verge, Digital Trends, Daily Mail)

Sonos has unveiled a new soundbar speaker Beam, in an industry first, will be compatible with Amazon Alexa smart assistant, Apple Siri and Google Assistant. It is priced at USD399. (Engadget, SMH, CNET, The Verge, 163, Tencent)

Artificial Intelligence

Google has pledged not to use its powerful artificial intelligence for weapons, illegal surveillance and technologies that cause “overall harm”. But the company said it will keep working with the military in other areas, giving its cloud business the chance to pursue future lucrative government deals. (CN Beta, The Verge, Bloomberg, Financial Times)

Business opportunities generated by smart manufacturing in Greater China will be more tremendous than in the US and Europe, as almost all the products requiring the use of electricity are manufactured in the area, now the world’s largest production base, according to Zhang Yongli, vice president of Microsoft Greater China. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

Samsung NEXT, a multifaceted innovation group within Samsung, is actively seeking investment targets in the fields of AI, IoT, AR/VR, blockchain, smart healthcare data analysis and information security with decentralized applications and business models, according to company vice president Raymond Liao. (Digitimes, press, Apple Daily, UDN)

Fintech

Altr has announced that it has raised USD15M to build software that uses blockchain technology to provide cybersecurity. The company has built its platform on Altrchain, currently the only high-performance, enterprise-grade blockchain technology for ultra-secure data access and storage. (VentureBeat, Business Journal)

Palo Alto and Singapore-based blockchain gaming company EON Foundation has now raised USD5M in seed funding to start up an initiative it calls the EON Protocol. That will effectively center around the development of new ways for game makers operating on the blockchain to find new players to enjoy their games.  (Android Headlines, VentureBeat, Forbes, PR Newswire)

Once a video-sharing network, Xunlei pivoted to blockchain after introducing a virtual token — the Link Token — in Oct 2017. (CN Beta, Financial Times)

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