06-27: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2500, 632, 439 and 429 announced; vivo has revealed its Time of Flight (TOF) 3D Sensing Technology; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2500 platform builds on the Snapdragon Wear 2100, which itself is based on the aging Snapdragon 400 from 2013, by integrating a number of Cortex-A7 cores, a built-in LTE modem for phone calls, always-listening voice activation for Google Assistant, a sensor hub for gestures and activity tracking, NFC for payments at school, GPS and geofencing for location, and a 5MP camera for video calls. It is aimed at ‘kid’s watch’ market. (Android Authority, Android Central, Android Headlines, CN Beta)

Qualcomm has announced the new Snapdragon 632, 439 and 429 — upgrades from the current 626, 430 and 425, respectively, expanding its low-to-mid tier. All of the new chips use the same supporting chips for functions like RF and audio, all support dual SIM with dual VoLTE connections, and each has some level of native artificial intelligence processing built in. (Android Headlines, Android Central, AnandTech, CN Beta, The Verge)

GlobalWafers has enjoyed robust 12” and 8” silicon wafer demand, while having its supply of 6” wafers fall far short of demand, according to company chairperson Doris Hsu. GlobalWafers has seen its production lines run at full capacity utilization, which will persist through 2020. The silicon wafer company is also in talks with several customers eager to secure steady supply from 2021 to 2025, Hsu indicated.  (Digitimes, press, China Times, CNYES)

Touch Display

According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is going to release 3 new iPhone in 2018 – 6.5” OLED, 5.8” OLED and 6.1” TFT-LCD, and he expects the shipments of LCD-based models to outpace models with OLED displays. He believes 2019 iPhones will have “marked innovations”, but notes it could take until Sept or Oct 2018 at the earliest until the exact designs and features become clearer. (9to5Mac, Mac Rumors, Cult of Mac)

Camera

The upcoming LG V40 allegedly to have a total of 5 cameras, with 3 on the back of the phone and 2 on the front. The 2 front cameras may be used to create a 3D map of the face for face unlock. (Ubergizmo, Liliputing, Android Police, 163, Tencent)

Lucid, the maker of the first VR180 3D camera, LucidCam, announces it is scaling its core 3D software technology into more mobile and smart devices featuring dual or multi-cameras. Lucid’s proprietary real-time 3D Fusion technology, which mimics how the brain processes and learns from what humans see with 2 eyes, will enable device manufacturers to leverage dual and multi cameras to capture 3D and depth. (VentureBeat, NASDAQ)

Samsung has introduced its new ‘ISOCELL Plus’ technology, which allows CMOS image sensors to capture more light, significantly increasing light sensitivity and color fidelity. The technology also enables image sensors to equip 0.8µm and smaller-sized pixels without any loss in performance, making it an optimal solution for developing super-resolution cameras with over 20MP. (CN Beta, Engadget, Samsung)

Memory

Samsung has noted that even if the company doubles the HBM2 (High Bandwidth Memory) production, they will not be able to fulfill the market demands. This has resulted in HBM2 being too expensive and a product with a high-profit margin for Samsung and SK Hynix. Samsung has developed HBM2, which is known as Aquabolt is the fastest spec’d memory solution to date with a capacity of 8GB per stack and up to 307 GB/s of bandwidth per stack. (CN Beta, Segment Next, WCCFTech)

Micron Technology has announced volume production on its 8Gb GDDR6 memory, which is optimized for a variety of applications that require high performance memory including artificial intelligence (AI), networking, automotive and graphics processing units (GPU). (Digitimes, Extreme Tech, ZDNet, HQEW, Sohu, My Drivers)

Sensory

vivo has revealed its Time of Flight (TOF) 3D Sensing Technology. The company’s TOF 3D Sensing tech detects the time it takes emitted pulse light to return to the sensor in order to accurately map objects at up to 3m in from of it. vivo says this technology could make strides in facial, gesture, and motion recognition, while the same goes for 3D photography and AR. (Android Headlines, CN Beta, GizChina)

Biometrics

Microsoft has announced that it has updated its facial recognition technology with significant improvements in the system’s ability to recognize gender across skin tones. That improvement addresses recent concerns that commercially available facial recognition technologies more accurately recognized gender of people with lighter skin tones than darker skin tones, and that they performed best on males with lighter skin and worst on females with darker skin. (TechCrunch, Microsoft, iFeng, CN Beta)

Connectivity

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the nonprofit organization that certifies Wi-Fi networking standards, introduced a certification program for the 2 forthcoming flavors of WPA3 — WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise — alongside Wi-Fi Easy Connect, a new program that simplifies the process of pairing Wi-Fi devices without displays. (Apple Insider, CN Beta, VentureBeat)

STMicroelectronics is accelerating progress towards a more convenient and secure connected world as the first embedded SIM (eSIM) manufacturer to be accredited by the GSMA for loading eSIM chips with connection credentials such as certificates and operator profiles before shipping. (Laoyaoba, Globe Newswire, Telecom Paper)

Telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson says the first smartphones supporting 5G will become available during early 2019. By the end of 2023, there will be 1B 5G subscriptions, accounting for around 20% of mobile data traffic. A massive increase in 5G subscriptions is expected to be fueled by third-generation chipsets, which will be available from 2020 on a variety of frequency bands. (CN Beta, Ericsson, report, Radio Mag Online)

Phone

Samsung India is set to launch a new online exclusive smartphone under its ‘Galaxy On’ brand with Infinity Display in the first week of Jul 2018. The new ‘Galaxy On’ will come with Super AMOLED display technology and will sport 4GB RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. (GizChina, Economic Times, GSM Arena)

Apple has started commercial production of the iPhone 6s in India since mid-Jun 2018 at the Bengaluru facility of its Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Wistron that has set up a new line for the handsets. This move will help Apple avoid import duties for the second India-produced model.  (Apple Insider, Economic Times, Phone Arena, CN Beta)

South Korea ranks No. 1 worldwide in terms of smartphone ownership and internet usage, as 9 in 10 Korean adults use the internet and own a smartphone, according to a new report released in Jun 2018 by Pew Research Center. The research center conducted a survey on 40,448 respondents in 37 countries from Feb. 16 to May 8, 2017, on their internet and social media usage patterns as well as smartphone ownership.  (Korea Herald, Pew Internet, report, Laoyaoba, Inquirer)

HiSense H20 is announced in China – 5.84” 1080×2280 FHD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, rear 12MP – 5MP + front 20MP, 6GB+128GB,  Android 8.1, 3020mAh, CNY2599. (Gizmo China, GizChina, Phone Arena)

Home

WitsView estimates that the major branded TV makers will reduce their panel purchases by 4% quarterly in 2Q18. WitsView estimates that the major TV brands’ panel purchases will increase by 10%~15% quarter-on-quarter. The TV industry will enter the traditional peak season in the third quarter, so TV makers will be more active in panel purchase in order to achieve the annual shipment goals. (Laoyaoba, TrendForce[cn], TrendForce)

Artificial Intelligence

Amazon has announced that its Alexa iOS app will finally support voice control, so users can interact with Echo devices and other smart home products through an iPhone or iPad by issuing spoken commands.  (Digital Trends, The Verge, TechCrunch, CN Beta)

San Francisco-based enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) startup Noodle.ai has announced a USD35M round led by Dell Technologies Capital and TPG Growth. It provides AI-as-a-service. Noodle.ai was founded in May 2016 and has raised USD51M to date. (VentureBeat, Business Wire, From Geek, Lie Yun Wang)

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