10-25: Google allegedly requires Android device makers to regularly install updates for any popular phone or tablet for at least 2 years; Facebook confirms that the company is building AR glasses; etc.

Chipsets

Shanghai-based AI and computer vision startup NextVPU has raised CNY200M (USD28.82M) in a Series A round from Cethik, a safety electronics subsidiary of Chinese state-owned firm China Electronics Technology Group. NextVPU, which means “next vision processing unit”, launched a vision processor system-on-a-chip (SoC) named N171 in late Aug 2018. (My Drivers, Leiphone, Deal Street Asia, China Money Network, Tencent)

Touch Display

Samsung has teased a new phone called the Galaxy A8s, and it looks like this will be Samsung’s first smartphone with a truly all-screen design. The Galaxy A8s will allegedly have a hole drilled into the display to accommodate the front camera. (Gizmo China, IT Home, Sam Mobile, Twitter)

Samsung’s patent describes a foldable tablet that would feature a bendable and foldable screen, and the tablet itself can be folded both ways, in and out. One would fold it out to shrink the screen, and the user interface would adapt to offer the best user experience. (GSM Arena, LetsGoDigital, Pocket Now, CCIDNet)

Onyx has shown off an eReader with a 10.7” color E Ink display, dubbed Onyx Youngy Boox, which is designed for classroom use. (Liliputing)

Liquavista, a display tech company Amazon has acquired 5 years ago, has shut down. Launched in 2006 as a spin off from Philips, Liquavista has been developing a unique type of display tech that is based on running an electric current through a liquid, called electrowetting technology. (Geek Wire, Digital Reader, Good Reader)

Phone

Bernstein analyst Toni Saccaonaghi forecasts an USD800 average selling price (ASP) for Apple’s iPhones as the prices keep rising. The ASP would be 29% above the 4Q18 figure. The new line of iPhones range from USD749 to USD1,099. Apple also used the launch to take some older, lower priced models off the shelves.  (24/7 Wall Street, Street Insider, Seeking Alpha, CNBC, CN Beta)

Huawei will open a new information security lab in Germany in Nov 2018 that will enable source code reviews, in a step aimed at winning regulators’ confidence before the country’s 5G mobile spectrum auction. (GizChina, Reuters, Channel News Asia, VOA Chinese, Sina)

Google allegedly requires Android device makers to regularly install updates for any popular phone or tablet for at least 2 years. Google’s contract with Android partners stipulates that they must provide “at least 4 security updates” within 1 year of the phone’s launch. Security updates are mandated within the 2nd year as well, though without a specified minimum number of releases. (Android Authority, The Verge, Phone Arena, IT Home, Baijiahao)

Google has released a new voice assistant app called Voice Action Services in order to comply with new European regulations. The app will not require Chrome and Google Search to work, giving devices that come without these apps preinstalled limited voice assistant functionality. (9to5Google, Android Authority, Android Police)

Counterpoint Research has released its 3-month report on smartphone shipments in India. Xiaomi is in the lead with 27% share, followed by Samsung and vivo with 23% and 10%, respectively. OPPO is taken down to fifth, while Micromax makes a surprising appearance at fourth with 9% shipments between Jul~Sept 2018. (GSM Arena, CN Beta)

Xiaomi has set a target to ship 100M smartphones in 2018. Maintaining a high growth rate, Xiaomi has crossed 100M shipments target, 2 months ahead of its schedule. In 2017, Xiaomi touched 90M sales, but growth was sluggish in comparison to 2018. (Gizmo China, My Drivers, CN Beta)

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun reveals that Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G version is expected to launch in 1Q19. Lei Jun said that on 3 Sept 2018, Xiaomi opened the connection of 5G signal and data link in the band sub-6GHz. On 23 Oct 2018, it opened the mmWave millimeter band connection, which has laid a solid foundation for 5G to enter the mobile phone. (My Drivers, CN Beta, GSM Arena, Xiaomi)

Samsung’s mobile business executives led by Executive Vice President Roh Tae-moon visited China’s Wingtech, Xiaomi’s original design manufacturing branch, to discuss the possibility of manufacturing Samsung phones at Wingtech’s factory. Samsung Galaxy A6s is believed to be the first ODM phone. (CN Beta, Korea Herald, The Verge)

Panasonic is launching 2 new phones in India, featuring 6.19” 1500×720 HD+, MediaTek Helio P22, rear dual 13MP-2MP + front 8MP, Android 8.1, 4000mAh: Eluga Z1 – 3+32GB, INR14,490.  Eluga Z1 Pro – 4+64GB, INR17,490. (Android Authority, NDTV, GSM Arena, Panasonic)

Samsung Galaxy A9s and A6s are launched in China, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 660: A9s – 6.3” 1080×2220 FHD+ Super AMOLED, rear quad 23MP-8MP UW-10MP 2xTele-8MP Depth + front 24MP, 6+128GB, Android 8.0, 3800mAh, CNY3500. A6s – 6.0” 1080×2160 FHD+ IPS, rear dual 12MP-12MP + front 5MP, 6+64/128GB, Android 8.0, 3300mAh, CNY1800. (Engadget CN, GSM Arena, Samsung, Sina)

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is launched with slider design – 6.39” 2340×1080 FHD+ AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, rear dual 12MP-12MP + front 24MP-2MP, 6+128GB / 10+256GB, Android 9.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 4000mAh, from CNY3,299 / CNY3,999. (The Verge, My Drivers, Android Authority)

Wearables

Mobvoi TicWatch 2 is unveiled, powered by Google Wear OS – 1.3” 360×360 AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100, IP68 rated, NFC to support Google Pay, 400mAh supports 36 hour battery life, USD200. (Android Central, Mobvoi, The Verge, Engadget)

Mobvoi TicPods Free is announced, which is compatible with Android and iOS supporting for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, IPX5 water resistance. They also include gesture-based controls. Battery life is estimated at 18 hours or 4 hours of listening time. It is priced at USD130 / GPB120. (TechCrunch, Mobvoi, CNET, eNet)

Misfit is launching Vapor 2 smartwatch – 1.2” / 1.4” AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100, 512MB+4GB, Google Wear OS, built-in optical heart rate sensor, GPS, NFC supporting Google Pay, 300mAh / 330mAh, from USD250. (CN Beta, Misfit, SlashGear, BGR)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Facebook’s head of augmented reality (AR) Ficus Kirkpatrick confirms that the company is building AR glasses. Facebook has filed a patent for AR glasses that detailed using “waveguide display with two-dimensional scanner” to project media onto the lenses.  (CN Beta, TechCrunch, USPTO)

Spatial is launching its augmented reality (AR) collaboration platform that enables a kind of holographic teleportation through AR. It turns any room into a 3D workspace, and it has enabled Spatial to raise USD8M in venture capital funding. With Spatial, users connect remotely and express ideas using lifelike avatars. (VentureBeat, Variety, TechCrunch, Sohu, VR Tuoluo)

Home

Vayyar Imaging is unveiling Walabot Home, a sensor that can penetrate walls and detect motion, such as when a senior citizen falls down and needs help. Vayyar Imaging can model a home in 3D, detect motion, sense a fall, and automatically place a call for help without requiring a wearable. (VentureBeat, Ubergizmo)

Artificial Intelligence

The San Francisco startup People.ai has announced a USD30M Series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Lightspeed Ventures, GGV Capital, and Y Combinator. People.ai’s toolset takes into account all customer contacts, activity, and engagement, which it delivers as actionable insights.  (VentureBeat, Business Insider, ZDNet)

EyeSight, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based artificial intelligence (AI) and hardware startup, promises to eradicate the distracted driving problem once and for all — at least in cars equipped with its hardware. To further that mission, it has announced a USD15M funding round led by Jebsen Capital, with participation from Arie Capital and Mizrahi Tefahot. (VentureBeat, CRI)

Baidu announce Simultaneous Translation with Anticipation and Controllable Latency (STACL), the first simultaneous machine translation system with anticipation capabilities and controllable latency.  It is an automated system that is able to conduct high quality translation concurrently between two languages.  (CN Beta, Inpai, Leiphone, Tencent, VentureBeat, Fortune, Medium)

Facebook said that company moderators during 3Q18 removed 8.7M user images of child nudity with the help of previously undisclosed software that automatically flags such photos. The machine learning tool rolled out over the last year identifies images that contain both nudity and a child, allowing increased enforcement of Facebook’s ban on photos that show minors in a sexualized context. (VentureBeat, Facebook, Gizmodo, SOOE)

Amazon announced a new initiative in 2017, Alexa for Business, designed to introduce its voice assistant technology and Echo devices into a corporate setting. It is giving the platform a big upgrade by opening it up to device makers who are building their own solutions that have Alexa built in. (VentureBeat, TechCrunch, Amazon, Amazon)

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