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11-24: ZTE has announced the company’s first 5G network deal with JT Global in Channel Islands; OPPO R&D investment would amount to CNY4B in 2019; etc.

Chipsets

As worldwide smartphone vendors are expected to further lower prices for new models to stimulate replacement demand in 2019, global chipmakers including Qualcomm, MediaTek and UNISOC (Spreadtrum & RDA) may see their gross margins and earning capabilities undermined by the device vendors’ new marketing practice, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Kejilie, CN Blogs)

Touch Display

LG has filed for 3 brand names at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on 21 Nov 2018. The 3 names filed by LG are Flex, Foldi and Duplex. All the three trademark applications are categorized under class 9 which is for smartphones. (CN Beta, MS Poweruser, LetsGoDigital)

Memory

Prices for low-capacity NAND flash devices have started bouncing back recently though the memory contract prices will continue their downward trend in the next couple of quarters, according to Digitimes. NAND flash contract prices, which fell 10%~15% sequentially in 3Q18, are expected to slip another 15% in both 4q18 and 1Q19 due to the ongoing market oversupply. However, prices for low-capacity applications such as 8/16GB memory cards and flash drives started to bounce back recently. (Digitimes, press, My Drivers)

DRAM chip sales accounted for as high as 71% of the combined memory chip revenues generated by the top-3 vendors, Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and Micron Technology in 3Q18, Digitimes Research indicated. The top-3 memory chip vendors saw their combined DRAM memory sales reach USD26.4B in 3Q18, up 10% sequentially. (Digitimes, press, Yahoo, iFeng)

Biometrics

Samsung Galaxy A series reportedly will feature optical sensors for under-display fingerprint scanner, which are supplied by Egis Technology. The more advanced ultrasonic under-display sensors from Qualcomm will only be adopted by high-end Galaxy S10 series. (GizChina, Money DJ, TechNews)

Battery

Japanese manufacturer TDK has developed a new solid-state battery that is as small as a chipset. The solid-state battery developed by TDK is only a few millimeters in size. It can be placed on the finger and can be recharged 1,000 times. It has been trial-produced and is ready for mass production. (TechNews, Money DJ, Asia Nikkei)

Material

Apple’s new patent “Surface Finishing” indicates future iPhone models could feature gradient finish on the back of the device. The patent envisions the use of numerical controlled (CNC) milling to create grooves in the surface of the device. These grooves can change the way light reflects off of the product. Instead of going with a sandblasting solution, Apple would use ceramic beads to change the grooves to produce a controlled color shift that would appear even with the slighter move. (GizChina, CN Beta, My Smart Price, Huanqiu, Sohu)

Connectivity

ZTE, the China-based telecom network maker, has announced the company’s first 5G network deal – with JT Global in Channel Islands. JT engineers will begin work with ZTE on 5G network aiming to launch a test service during 2019, subject to CICRA licensing spectrum. (CN Beta, Telecom Lead)

NTT DoCoMo and Mitsubishi Electric said they achieved peak data speeds of more than 20Gb/s over short distances in proof-of-concept 5G trials using a single mobile terminal and 500MHz of spectrum in the 28GHz band. The outdoor field trials in Japan reached downlink data rates of 27Gb/s and 25Gb/s over distances of 10m and 100m, respectively. (Engadget, NTT DoCoMo, ZDNet, Mobile World Live)

Phone

HTC has dismissed recent speculation claiming it would quit the smartphone market with its latest U12+ being the last of its models. HTC maintained it will continue strengthening its smartphone business with new models to be released at year-end 2018 and in early 2019. (Digitimes, press, GSM Arena, GizChina, Baijiahao)

Smartisan has received a lawsuit from Coolpad over money owed. The lawsuit was filed by Dongguan Yulong Communication Technology, a subsidiary of Coolpad against Beijing Hammer Digital Technology (Smartisan). The plaintiff claims it signed a contract with Smartisan to supply mobile phone parts worth over CNY10M. (Gizmo China, CN Beta)

According to Counterpoint Research, global smartphone shipments declined 5% annually reaching 380M units in 3Q18. Emerging markets growth could not offset the decline in developed markets. All the regions declined amidst the global slowdown. Latin America declined most at 7% YoY. (Counterpoint Research, GizChina, My Drivers)

Huawei engineer has reportedly revealed that the company has been working on making Google’s in-development operating system for all types of devices, Fuchsia, run on devices based on their Kirin 970 processor, starting with the Honor Play.  The engineer is able to boot the device into Zircon, Fuchsia’s kernel. (My Drivers, 9to5Google, Sina)

OPPO’s global SVP and China business chairman Shen Yiren indicates that in 2019 OPPO R&D investment would amount to CNY4B, and if there are good R&D project identified, the number could increase. (CN Beta, My Drivers)

Coolpad M3 is launched in China – 5.83” 1512×720 HD+ IPS, MediaTek MT6750, rear 13MP + front 5MP, 4+32GB, Android 8.1, rear fingerprint scanner, face unlock, 2800mAh, CNY799. (GizChina, Gizmo China, JD.com)

PC / Tablet

Logitech International, a Swiss manufacturer of keyboards and webcams, is in discussions to acquire Plantronics, a U.S. maker of Bluetooth earpieces and gaming headsets. Logitech has reportedly offered more than USD2.2B to acquire Plantronics. (CN Beta, Reuters, CNET)

Automotive

Electric vehicle sales are likely to jump over the next 2~3 years as prices fall and more options are made available to customers, according to Evy Hambro, BlackRock’s global head of thematic and sector investing. The International Energy Agency predicted that electric vehicle ownership will jump to about 125M by 2030, spurred by policies that encourage the purchase of clean-running cars. (CN Beta, JRJ, CNBC)

Fintech

LINE has officially released the blockchain technology platform “LINK Chain”. Line has already applied artificial intelligence (AI) technology in services. In the opening speech, LINE technical director Park Geun-bong has used the 2 keywords “Connect” and “Mutually Beneficial Ecosystem” to deliver the specific value (Next LINE). The technology is betting efforts in the 2 areas of AI and blockchain that allow LINE’s services to continue to evolve.  (TechNews, PR Times, China Times)

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