11-01: Samsung has filed a trademark of “Infinity-V”; LG Electronics allegedly intends to introduce its first foldable smartphone early 2019 at CES; etc.

Chipset

Semiconductor silicon wafer fabs such as Global Wafers, Formosa Sumco and Wafer Works have revealed that the demand for silicon wafers released by fabs in mainland China has tripled. In addition to the stable growth of the memory factory, coupled with the increase in vehicle and IoT applications, semiconductor wafers are still in short supply in 2019. The contract price in 1Q19 will continue to rise. (UDN, CN Beta, HQEW, Sina, China AET)

Samsung Electro-Mechanics (SEMCO) under the Samsung group has been engaged in the development of fan-out panel-level packaging (FOPLP) technology for the production of application processors (AP) for use in wearable devices since 2018, according to Digitimes. SEMCO’s FOPLP technology is already involved in mass production for power management chips (PWM IC). The firm is looking to develop a new-generation FOPLP process that will be first adopted in the manufacture of APs for use in Samsung’s 2019 series of Galaxy Watch. (Digitimes, press, MEMS, Baijiahao, 52RD)

Touch Display

Worldwide production capacity for large-size (9” and above) TFT LCD panels is projected to rise over 9% annually through 2020 resulting from continued capacity expansions by China-based flat panel makers, according to Digitimes Research. However, the growth of the global capacity for large-size panels is expected to dip below 2% on year in 2022-2023, as the large-scale capacity ramps implemented in 2018-2020 are likely to result in oversupply and reduced earnings for makers consequently, and therefore forcing panel makers to become more conservative about new investments. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, Kuaibao)

AU Optronics (AUO) has announced a corporate restructuring plan as it aims to continue to drive its established value transformation strategy and enhance growth momentum. Under the plans, the company’s display business will be divided into three groups: Technology Group, Business Group, and Manufacturing Group, effective on 1 Nov 2018. (UDN, Digitimes, press, UDN, China Times)

LG Electronics allegedly intends to introduce its first foldable smartphone early 2019 at CES. LG has said that its goals are not to be the first to introduce a foldable device to the market as the firm instead wants to deliver a smartphone that would be unique and meaningful. (Android Headlines, Digital Trends, XDA-Developers, CN Beta)

Samsung has filed a trademark of “Infinity-V” with Korean Intellectual Property Office, which could apply to its foldable smartphone. (CN Beta, Hot Hardware, Tom’s Guide, LetsGoDigital)

Camera

Samsung Electronics has introduced two new 0.8μm pixel image sensors – the 48MP Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 and the 32MP ISOCELL Bright GD1. It will allow camera module makers to build smaller modules or pack more pixels into existing designs. (CN Beta, Herald Courier, ZDNet, Business Wire)

Storage

IC packager Siliconware Precision Industries’ (SPIL) production subsidiary in Fujian, China will obtain USD22.5M worth of investment from China’s Jinhua Integrated Circuit (JHICC), according to a company filing issued by ASE Technology. SPIL has struck a deal with DRAM maker JHICC under which JHICC will acquire a 20% stake in Siliconware Electronics (Fujian), a wholly-owned production subsidiary of SPIL. (Digitimes, press, Taipei Times, Yahoo, EE World)

Micron Technology will focus on technology transitions during fiscal year 2019, with the company’s DRAM fabs in Taiwan set to transition to more-advanced 1y/1znm process technologies, according to Manish Bhatia, executive VP of global operations for the US memory chip vendor. (Digitimes, press, 52RD)

Sensory

Himax Technologies and Kneron, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup company, have jointly announced a collaboration to accelerate the development and commercialization of a high precision and high performance 3D sensing and AI-enabled security and surveillance solution. The collaboration brings together Himax’s structured light imaging module (SLiMTM) and Kneron’s dedicated edge AI processor and facial recognition algorithm with deep learning technology.  (Digitimes, press, CPS)

Battery

Korean car manufacturer Hyundai will adopt solar panel charging technology for electric and hybrid vehicles from 2019, including cars released under the Kia brand. The transparent solar panels can be built into the roof of the vehicles and even provide additional electrical energy for fuel-driven cars. (Pocket-Lint, Electrek, Auto Car, Sohu, Auto Home)

Phone

Xiaomi opens India’s biggest Mi Home experience store in Bengaluru. The new retail store is spread across 6,000+ sq. feet flagship Mi Home store on 100 feet road, Indiranagar, Bangalore. (GizChina)

ZTE nubia X with dual display is launched – 6.26” 1080×2280 FHD+ LTPS IPS + 5.1” 720×1520 HD OLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, rear dual 16MP-24MP, 6+64GB / 8+128/256GB, Android 8.1, dual side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 3800mAh, from CNY3,299. (GSM Arena, nubia, CN Beta, My Drivers)

ZTE re-enters the US market with 2 new phones featuring 6.0” 1080×2160 FHD+ IPS, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 435: Blade Max 2s – rear 13MP + front 5MP, 2+32GB, Android 8.1,  4000mAh, USD179. Blade Max View – rear dual 16MP-2MP + front 8MP, 3+32GB, Android 7.1.1, 4000mAh, USD199.  (Business Wire, Android Headlines, Gizmo China, ZTE, ZTE)

Full display Huawei Honor Magic 2 equipped with slider design is announced – 6.39” 1080×2340 FHD+ AMOLED, HiSilicon Kirin 980, rear tri 23MP-16MP-16MP + front tri 16MP-ToF-ToF, under-display fingerprint scanner, voice assistant YOYO, 3400mAh, from CNY3799. (CN Beta, My Drivers, Sohu, 36Kr)

Royale launches the first foldable smartphone Royale FlexPai – 7.8” 1920×1440 QHD+ AMOLED foldable to 4.0” (200K times bendable), Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150, dual 16MP-20MP, 6/8 + 128/256/512GB, Android 9.0 (Water OS 1.0), 3800mAh, from CNY8,999 / USD1,290. (Android Headlines, CN Beta)

Lenovo Z5 Pro with slider design is announced – 6.39” 1080×2340 FHD+ AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 710AIE, rear dual 16MP-24MP + front slider 16MP-8MP, 6+64/128GB, Android 8.0 (ZUI 10), 3350mAh, CNY1,998 / CNY2,298. (CN Beta, Sina, GSM Arena)

PC / Tablet

Apple has touted over 400M iPads sold. Annual sales of the iPad were 44.2M, which were compared against notebook sales from HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, and others, the highest of which was HP which moved 36.9M. (Apple Insider, VentureBeat, CNBC, Baijiahao)

Apple has announced that it has an active installed base of over 100M Macs and MacBooks around the world. In particular, 51% of Mac buyers are “new to Mac” and noted that in China that figure is 76%, highlighting growth in the world’s most populous country. (Apple Insider, CNET, VentureBeat, Sina, CN Beta)

Apple is launching new 11” and 12.9” iPad Pro, powered by Apple A12X Bionic, equipped with rear 12MP PDAF + front 7MP, USB 3.1 Type-C, Face ID, 64 / 128 / 256 GB or 1TB, iOS 12: 11” iPad Pro – 11” 1668×2388 Liquid Retina Display, 29.37Wh, from USD799. 12.9” iPad Pro – 12.9” 2048×2732 Liquid Retina Display, 36.71Wh, from USD999. (Apple Insider, CN Beta)

Apple’s new MacBook Air is announced – 13.3” 2560×1600 Retina Display, 8th Gen Intel Core i5, 720p FaceTime HD, 8/16 + 128GB~1TB, Touch ID, 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, 12hrs battery life, from USD1,199. (Apple Insider, CNET, CN Beta, Telegraph, Wired)

Wearables

Honor Watch is announced – 1.2” 390×390 AMOLED, ARM M4, 16MB+128MB, 178mAh, Huawei Pay support, heart rate monitor, Trusleep 2.0 to support sleep detection, water resistant up to 5ATM, priced from CNY899 / USD128. (Neowin, GizChina, Vmall, Sina)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

HTC finally released the Vive Wave SDK to the rest of the world to enable developers to prepare for the North American and European releases of the Vive Focus headset. The Vive Wave platform consists of industry standards for software development and hardware support, universal distribution guidelines and a software developer resource hub.  (Android Headlines, Tom’s Hardware)

Sony has officially licensed its PlayStation VR headset design to Lenovo. The 2-year patent licensing agreement lets Lenovo use Sony’s design for its Mirage Solo headset. (The Verge, CN Beta, Engadget CN)

Home

360 is launching smart door-bell, priced at CNY299. It is equipped with 2.3MP, 160°wide-angle and IR camera. When the resident is not home, the user could check the visitor on her phone via APP. The door bell is equipped with AI that can 99% accurately recognize face. It is also equipped with 5000mAh battery. (My Drivers, Caijing, CNMO, CN Beta)

360 smart lock M1 is launched, which is a national-grade intelligent door lock with high quality and high cost performance. It adopts 5A 2.5D drilled glass panel to avoid fingerprint residue during use. It can store 200 sets of fingerprints, 50 sets of passwords, and the price is CNY699. (CN Beta, CNMO, Caijing, Sina)

iRobot and Google are teaming up to improve the functionality of Roomba vacuums to better fit into the overall smart home experience. The companies announced that they are working together to create new integrations between their platforms. (Digital Trends, Sina, The Verge, 9to5Google)

Robotics

DJI is targeting smaller businesses and emergency services with the compact Mavic 2 Enterprise. Besides its 12MP camera, the machine also boasts 2X and 3X digital zoom capability, enabling the Enterprise “to identify and inspect dangerous or difficult areas, as well as to help emergency services protect life and property”. It is priced at USD2000. (CN Beta, Digital Trends, DJI)

Fintech

Smart Dubai and IBM have announced the Dubai Blockchain Platform, the first government-endorsed blockchain platform as-a-service in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Delivered through an IBM Cloud environment and built in the UAE, the enterprise platform will be a stepping stone for UAE organizations to transition their blockchain testing and development into full production. (VentureBeat, Market Watch, Gulf Business, Wanlianzhijia)

According to University of Hawaii at Manoa, the ascent of bitcoin could boost global warming to 2ºC in 22 years. Bitcoins are “mined” in a process that is computationally demanding, with heavy hardware requirements, but the elusive nature of this process means that determining its carbon footprint can prove complicated. (My Drivers, Independent, Motherboard, Nature)

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