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01-23: Xiaomi showcasing first double-folding phone; New Android flagships in 2019 will see 10GB or more RAM; etc.

Chipsets

TSMC continues to make progress in the development of sub-7nm process technologies with plans to move a newer 5nm EUV process to volume production by 2020 well on track. TSMC CEO CC Wei has disclosed that the foundry is scheduled to start taping out 5nm chip designs later in 1H19. TSMC is on track to move its 5nm process incorporating EUV lithography technology to volume production in 1H20. (Digitimes, press, TechNews, NTDTV)

The next generation of mobile connectivity, 5G, is moving out of its testing stage and will take off in 2019, according to MediaTek chairman MK Tsai. (China Times, Digitimes, press, China Times)

Touch Display

Xiaomi President Lin Bin claims that it will be the world’s double folding mobile phone. The screen of the phone can be folded from right and left sides. Bin has stated that the device is an engineering unit. Xiaomi has overcome various technical difficulties to build a phone with double folding design. Some of the problems the company is able to overcome are related to flexible folding screen technology, four-wheel drive folding shaft technology, flexible cover technology, MIUI system adaptation and so on. (My Drivers, Sina, Leiphone, Gizmo China)

Samsung Display has announced that it has succeeded in developing a 15.6” UHD (3840×2160 pixels) OLED panel ― the world’s first UHD display for the notebook/laptop market. The display technology giant said it will begin mass producing the 15.6-inch UHD OLED panel in mid-Feb 2019. (Engadget, Sam Mobile, Business Wire, My Drivers)

Rapid expansion of AR/VR applications has spurred demand for microdisplay devices, now adopting 3 major display technologies LCoS, HTPS and AMOLED, but inorganic micro LED technology can rival the current mainstream technologies in mocrodisplay application over the long term, according to Digitimes. Of the 3 major microdisplay technologies, LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) commanded the highest market share at 59.7% in 2018, followed by 27.8% for AMOLED (active matrix organic LED), and 6.6% for HTPS (high temperature poly silicon), according to Fuji Chimera Research Institute. (Digitimes, press)

Memory

New Android-based smartphones rolled out for 2019 will have some core components upgraded, particularly the upgrade to 10GB or more RAM in flagship devices. Memory industry is sluggish in 1H19, DRAM prices will go down in 2H18, and 1Q19~2Q19 will continue to show double-digit declines. Samsung’s 2019 DRAM investment will fall to USD8B, SK Hynix’s DRAM investment will drop to USD5.5B, and Micron has also revised its capex to USD3B in 2019. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, press, Money Link)

Battery

According to forecasts by industry insiders and stock brokerages, Korea’s 3 battery manufacturers — LG Chem, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation — won a total of around KRW110T (USD97.6B) worth of orders for electric vehicle batteries from global customers in 2018. Combined with orders on hand from the previous year, the 3 firms’ order backlogs are estimated to reach KRW175T. (CN Beta, 52RD, YNA, Inside EVs, Korea Herald)

Phone

According to Deloitte, in 2018, smartphone ownership in China reaches 96%, an year-on-year increase of 7%, 6% higher than the global average ownership. Compared to global users, Chinese users replace their mobile phones more frequently. In the percentage of mobile phones bought after 2017, mobile phones of Chinese users take up nearly 80% while those of global users only account for 58%. 99% existing phones of Chinese users are new ones when purchasing while 10% global users still use second-hand mobile phones. (Deloitte, report, CN Beta)

Meizu Senior VP Li Nan has introduced the Meizu Zero smartphone with One Piece Unibody 3D ceramic design – 5.99” 1080×2340 FHD+ AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, rear dual 12MP-20MP + front 20MP, 4+64GB / 6+128GB, Android 9.0, in-display fingerprint scanner, mSound 2.0 sound  on display, eSIM, IP68, Bluetooth 5.0, 18W wireless charging. (Gizmo China, CN Beta, GSM Arena, Meizu)

vivo Y89 is launched in China – 6.26” 2280×1080 FHD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 626, rear dual 16MP-2MP + front 16MP, 4+64GB, Android 8.1, rear fingerprint scanner, 3260mAh, CNY1598. (Gizmo China, XDA-Developers, NDTV)

Automotive

Waymo and Magna plan to build thousands of self-driving cars at a factory in southeast Michigan, including autonomous versions of the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. (TechCrunch, The Verge, Detroit News, Sina)

German companies BMW and Daimler will name their combined ride-hailing and car-sharing firm “Jurbey”. Under the terms of their deal, which includes car-sharing units Car2Go and DriveNow as well as ride-hailing, parking and charging services, Daimler and BMW will each hold a 50% stake in the joint venture. (CN Beta, Reuters, The Drive)

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