08-09: Qualcomm announcing Snapdragon 670; Xiaomi officially announcing POCO sub-brand; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm is updating its Snapdragon 600 platform for mid-range smartphones. Snapdragon 670 is an octa-core processor that the company says offers up to a 15% boost in general performance and 180% improvement in certain artificial intelligence (AI) tasks comparing to Snapdragon 660. (Android Headlines, Qualcomm, ZDNet, Liliputing, Sohu, AnandTech, CN Beta)

Intel has sold more than 220M Xeon processors over the past 20 years, generating USD130B in revenues. Intel has said it sold USD1B of artificial intelligence (AI) processor chips in 2017, the first time Intel has disclosed revenue from the fast-growing computing segment that has fuelled sales expansions at rivals such as Nvidia. (VentureBeat, Channel News Asia, NASDAQ, ESM China, Sina)

As 8” wafer foundry capacity supply is expected to fall short of demand through at least 2020, Taiwan foundry houses including United Microelectronics (UMC) and Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) are actively moving to expand capacities at their 8” fabs seeking to cash in on ever-increasing demand for fabricating diverse niche chips. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, Moore)

Touch Display

Samsung is reportedly aiming at an early 2019 launch of a foldable phone, hoping to beat Huawei as the first company with foldable smartphone on the market.  (Phone Arena, WSJ)

Storage

Toshiba has announced that it is developing 3D XL-Flash, which is a high-performance variant of existing flash that purportedly provides a 10X reduction in read latency compared to the TLC flash found in most consumer SSDs. As a result, XL-Flash provides program times of a mere 7µs, which is much faster than QLC’s 30µs program time. (AnandTech, Tom’s Hardware, CN Beta, My Drivers)

Battery

Built by German-based start-up Sono Motors, the Sion EV has solar panels integrated into its body.The roof, bonnet, side panels and rear are festooned with 330 lightweight solar cells. Sono Motors rates the panels’ efficiency at 24 per cent which is better than most rooftop solar systems. (CN Beta, Laoyaoba, Drive, Reuters)

Phone

Xiaomi Poco brand is now official in India. The Pocophone F1 will likely be the first phone under the new sub-brand. It is believed to be the most affordable Snapdragon 845-powered handset. (GizChina, GSM Arena, 10JQKA, Sohu)

Meizu 16th and 16th Plus are announced in China, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, featuring rear dual 12MP-20MP + front 20MP, in-display fingerprint scanner, Android 8.1: 16th – 6” 2160×1080 FHD+ Super AMOLED, 6GB+64/128GB / 8GB+128GB, 3010mAh,  from CNY2,698. 16th Plus – 6.5” 2160×1080 FHD+ Super AMOLED, 6GB+128GB / 8GB+128/256GB, 3570mAh, from CNY3,198. (CN Beta, GizChina, GSM Arena, Meizu, Meizu)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Magic Leap has announced that the Creator Edition is officially available for developers to order. The price is USD2,295, with “limited quantities” currently available in 6 U.S. cities. (VentureBeat, TechCrunch, Liliputing, Sohu)

Automotive

Morgan Stanley says Waymo, Google’s self-driving car unit, could be worth USD175B, its highest valuation yet. That number is up USD100B from the bank’s first estimate of USD75B, thanks to taxis, logistics, and licensing.  (Android Headlines, Business Insider, Tencent)

Artificial Intelligence

SB China Venture Capital (SBCVC) and Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) company SenseTime have co-lead a CNY1.36B (USD199M) series D round in video technology start-up Beijing Moviebook Technology. (TechCrunch, Deal Street Asia, China Money Network, Baijiahao, iFeng, Sohu)

Baidu has announced a major milestone, as the install base of DuerOS, the company’s conversational AI assistant, has reached 100M devices, doubling over the past 6 months. This milestone further cements DuerOS’s leading position as a major conversational AI platform in China. (Laoyaoba, CN Beta, VentureBeat, NASDAQ)

Quanta Computer is spending heavily on the development of AI technology and will “double and then double again” its investments in the field in order to seize the profound business opportunities to be created, according to company chairman Barry Lam. The company vice chairman CC Leung has also revealed that Quanta has been developing AR/VR devices for a while and is likely to officially launch its AR devices in 2H19. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba, UDN, China Times)

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