10-24: Samsung has revealed that the next wave of UFS products will launch in 1H19; Samsung and SK Hynix have already kicked off their respective DRAM EUV technology R&D; etc.

Chipsets

MediaTek has announced Helio P70, which is a 12nm processor with a dedicated AI processing unit and upgraded graphics that MediaTek says brings a 13% graphics improvement over the Helio P60 that is released earlier in 2018. (Liliputing, Android Authority, Android Central, MediaTek, CN Beta)

Touch Display

Apple’s patent with the title ‘Electronic device displays with holes to accommodate components’ Apple described how holes can be made in the display. The space that this hole provides could then be used to place a camera or other part. (My Drivers, GizChina)

Haptic Touch is a marketing name for a long press combined with haptic feedback from the Taptic Engine. It is a substitute for 3D Touch for Apple iPhone XR. Apple indicates that it is working to bring it to more places in iOS over time, but that it is going slow to make sure the implementation is right. (CN Beta, BGR, Mac Rumors)

Flat panel makers are expected to see their operating results vary widely in 2019 as they adopt different approaches in strategy, market and product development to address the challenge of oversupply which is likely to become a normal for the industry beginning 2019, according to Paul Peng, chairman of AU Optronics (AUO). For all of 2018, the supply-demand ratio of flat panels is to stand at around 106%~107%, which is considered to be relatively stable, Peng said, but the supply and demand situations will change starting 2019 and onwards due to the availability of new production capacities. (Digitimes, press, China Times)

Shipments of chip solutions for all-screen smartphones, such as TDDI solutions, optical fingerprint identification chips and touch controller chips, have started growing fast as chipmakers gear up for the upcoming rollouts of new full-screen models, according to Digitimes. The sources estimated the total number of smartphones adopting TDDI (touch and display driver integration) chips will reach 350M units worldwide in 2018, and the figure is expected to challenge the level of 500M in 2019. (Digitimes, press, China Times, Yahoo)

Storage

Samsung’s head of mobile memory product planning Jay Oh has revealed that the next wave of Unified File Storage (UFS) products will launch in 1H19. UFS 3.0 will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage variants. Samsung and Micron are also set to roll out LPDDR5 in 2020. Samsung says it will commence mass production in 2020, with LPDDR5 delivering much higher bandwidth — ranging from 44GB/s to 51.2GB/s — while reducing power consumption by 20%. (Android Central, Sam Mobile, Phone Arena, JEDEC, My Drivers)

Crucial has announced the availability of the Crucial P1 SSD, a PC storage device that leverages the NVMe PCIe interface and Micron’s leading-edge QLC technology.  With sequential read/write speeds up to 2,000/1,7000 MB/s, the P1 provides performance via hybrid-dynamic write acceleration, a unique SLC cache implementation.  (CN Beta, CTimes, PC World)

Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have already kicked off their respective DRAM EUV technology R&D, with Samsung likely to soon move the process to commercial production. (Digitimes, press, Expreview, China Flash Market, HQEW)

NAND flash prices have declined by 50% so far in 2018 due mainly to capacity expansions among major suppliers worldwide, and the prices are expected to drop further in 2019, when more capacities are available, with more than half of upstream NAND makers likely to face increasing pressure to stay profitable, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, China Flash Market)

Biometrics

Amazon has met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as part of a sustained attempt to sell the company’s facial recognition technology, Rekognition as well as more general machine learning capabilities within Amazon Web Services.  (The Verge, The Daily Beast, Sina)

Phone

According to Ajey Mehta, vice president and country head – India, HMD Global, the company is exploring the possibility of launching a 4G feature phone at affordable prices. The company’s main focus is on feature phones, where they have opportunities in terms of volume. The segment is growing rapidly for HMD Global. (Phone Arena, DNA India, Nokia Poweruser)

Citi Research has created that shows waning interest every year in Apple’s latest iPhone models. The chart uses the number of Google Search requests from consumers about certain iPhones just before and after their respective “launch event” to gauge the interest in each one. Despite the declining trend, Citi Research still believes that the device can sustain single-digit annual unit growth for Apple, but the firm says that it is not looking for the beginning of a new super cycle. The analysts cited a slowdown in innovation and the saturation of the iPhone in main markets for the declining interest. (CN Beta, Phone Arena, Business Insider, Mashable)

Motorola has partnered with iFixit for OEM repair kits. Under the iFixit #righttorepair campaign, Lenovo owned Motorola has made a stand to offer its customers OEM repair kits to fix their Motorola devices. iFixit is a company which provides repair parts for various consumer electronic products. (TechCrunch, Gizmo China, iFixit, CN Beta)

Apple has signed a major lease for nearly 314,000ft2 of industrial manufacturing space at McCarthy Creekside, a brand-new, multiphase development in Milpitas. (Mac Rumors, Bizjournals, IT Times, Sohu)

Black Shark Helo is announced in China – 6.01” 1080×2160 FHD+ AMOLED HDR10-compliant, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, rear dual 12MP-20MP + front 20MP, 6/8+128GB or 10+256GB, Android 8.0, rear fingerprint scanner, vapor chamber for cooling, 4000mAh, from CNY3,199. (CN Beta, CN Beta, GSM Arena, Black Shark)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Lyft is working to take the development of self-driving vehicles to the next level with the acquisition of an augmented reality (AR) startup called Blue Vision Labs. Blue Vision will work closely with Lyft’s Level 5autonomous car division. (CN Beta, CNET, TechCrunch)

According to SuperData, mobile AR is on pace to double year-over-year, leading to an expected USD2B in revenue by the end of 2018, while location-based VR entertainment will double in revenue within the next 3 years, hitting USD854M by 2021. 2019 will be a defining moment for the XR space, potentially becoming the year of VR. (CN Beta, 199IT, SuperData, blog)

Automotive

Apple’s patent titled “Peloton” explains ways that a collection of self-driving vehicles could travel along a road close together in a convoy. On a long journey and at high speeds, a peloton offers potential cost savings to passengers and drivers, both in terms of fuel cost and time.  (Apple Insider, USPTO)

Electric scooter startup Lime is reportedly opening a new ‘lifestyle brand store’ in Santa Monica. Lime plans to open physical stores in the US and abroad in the coming year as it seeks to elevate its electric bike and scooter business from just a cheap way to get around to more of a lifestyle brand. (CN Beta, Exsoft, The Verge, TechCrunch)

Uber will increase the cost of taking a ride in London by 15p per mile to create a GBP200M (USD260M). Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that the plan is a “a long-term investment in the future of London aimed at going all electric in the capital in 2025”. (CN Beta, Caijing, BBC, Bloomberg)

Artificial Intelligence

According to Deloitte’s survey of more than 1,100 IT workers and executives from U.S.-based companies that was conducted in 3Q18, a full 82% report a positive return on their investment, and the median return is 17%. AI penetration is pervasive and growing amongst early adopters, with the most complex technologies having the highest adoption levels – machine learning (63%), natural language processing (62%), computer vision (57%), and deep learning neural networks (50%).  (Deloitte, report, Mar Tech Series, VentureBeat, Sina)

Fintech

Y-Combinator grad Synthetic Minds, which aims to build safer blockchain code, has raised USD5.5M in a new round of funding from Khosla Ventures and Pantera Capital (a cryptocurrency-focused fund). Synthetic Minds’ core technology is called program synthesis. This falls under the umbrella of a computer science discipline called formal methods.  (VentureBeat, Forbes, Crowdfund Raiser, Block.cc)

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