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01-30: Samsung has announced an 8K display driver IC (DDI); Samsung has begun mass producing the industry’s first 1TB UFS 2.1; etc.

Chipsets

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has confirmed that yield rates were affected by certain substandard chemical used in the manufacturing process, following media reports that said over 10,000 wafers of defective chips were produced during a temporary shutdown at the foundry house on the morning of 28 Jan 2019. (Digitimes, press, China Times, China Times)

TSMC is striving to cut its operating costs in 2019, and has been in talks with its equipment and materials suppliers about lowering prices by as much as 10%, according to Digitimes. TSMC has seen its customers slow down their pace of orders indicating a weak 1H19.  Taiwan-based suppliers specializing in equipment materials, such as Chunghwa Precision Test Tech (CHPT), Gudeng Precision Industrial and Marketech International, are being demanded to cut prices by 8%~10%. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, press)

According to SWS Research, from the perspective of different process, for TSMC, revenues from 7nm process is increasing rapidly, and contributes 23% of revenues for 4Q18. The 6% of revenue comes from 10nm, and 21% comes from combined of 16nm / 20nm. The biggest revenue is from 28nm or below, which is about 67%. (SWS Research report)

According SWS Research, in the suppliers for TSMC, semiconductor or equipment vendors have the highest capex, especially Applied Materials, ASML, Lam Research. It is worth noting that, compared with the 2Q17 structure, ASML entered the top 3 suppliers of TSMC with its absolute monopoly advantage in EUV. (SWS Research report)

The downstream customers of TSMC are mainly chip design manufacturers, mainly Apple, Huawei, MediaTek and Qualcomm. It is worth noting that in 4Q18, Huawei’s contribution to TSMC has already ranked second. At the same time, the top 4 manufacturers are mobile phone chip manufacturers, and their impact on the TSMC advanced process is huge. In addition, other TSMC customers are relatively varies, covering power semiconductors, CPUs, GPUs, automotive electronics, etc. (SWS Research report)

ASML indicates that it has planned to ship 30 extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanners in 2019, up significantly from 2018. The plan is not surprising, as demand for EUV lithography tools is rising and semiconductors manufacturers are building new fabs. In addition, ASML indicated plans to introduce a new EUV scanner that will offer a higher production throughput, the NXE: 3400C. (CN Beta, AnandTechASML, Seeking Alpha)

Touch Display

Samsung has announced an 8K display driver IC (DDI) that helps deliver true-to-life 8K resolution in sleek TV designs with industry-leading intra-panel data transfer speed at up to 4Gbps. Samsung’s new DDI (S6CT93P) adopts the company’s Unified Standard Interface for TV (USI-T) 2.0 that doubles the previous USI-T 1.0’s intra-panel speed of 2Gbps.  (Digital Trends, Samsung, Sina, CN Beta)

Samsung has filed a patent application for a VR headset with a field of view of at least 180º. The headset is described as using a curved OLED display. The patent describes attaining the wide field of view while maintaining reasonable size and weight as a crucial design consideration. To achieve this, the design uses two lenses per eye. One pair of standard fresnel lenses with a field of view of 120º, combined with a second set of wide angle strip lenses positioned at an angle. (Digital Trends, USPTO, PC Pop, Yivian)

LG has been granted a patent for a smartphone with Water drop Notch display by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The patent shows a water drop notch to house the front camera inside the frame of the device. (Phone Arena, Tiger Mobiles, PC Pop)

Xiaomi reportedly has been using flexible AMOLED panels from China’s flat panel maker Visionox to develop its foldable smartphones. In addition to planning to kick off volume production of its first 6G flexible AMOLED line in Hebei soon, Visionox held a groundbreaking ceremony for its second 6G flexible OLED line to be built in Hefei at the end of 2018. (Digitimes, press, GizChina, Gizmo China, IT Home, My Drivers)

Camera

Credit Suisse’s new estimates estimate penetration of multi-cameras within Samsung-branded smartphones to rise from ~23% in 2018 (just 4% in 2017) to ~60% by 2020. And that is just at the headline level; if it does continue to adopt a triple (and even quadruple) camera strategy then these multi-cameras would not just be dual-cameras. (Credit Suisse report)

Credit Suisse believes that almost 65% of all Chinese branded phones will sport a multi-camera by 2020. While they have not accounted for it, they also believe that several brands may also start to use multi-camera in the front facing imaging module in 2019 and 2020. They also believe that Apple is working on more than one rear-facing 3D solution and it is likely that several of its models sport such a solution by 2020. (Credit Suisse report)

Credit Suisse expects multi-cam penetration to accelerate in the handset camera module (HCM) market. Credit Suisse forecasts multi-cam penetration to increase to 56% in 2019 from 40% in 2018; triple-cam adoption could reach 11% (rear cam) from less than 1% in 2018 driven by both iOS and Android smartphones. (Credit Suisse report)

Memory

Samsung has begun mass producing the industry’s first 1TB embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) 2.1. Within the same package size (11.5×13.0mm), the 1TB eUFS solution doubles the capacity of the previous 512GB version by combining 16 stacked layers of Samsung’s most advanced 512Gb V-NAND flash memory and a newly developed proprietary controller.  (GSM Arena, Samsung, Neowin, My Drivers)

Phone

Going into 2019, Credit Suisse believes that while Apple units are likely to continue to exhibit large YoY declines until anniversary out the 2018 models in Sept 2019, the aggregate global smartphone units might actually show signs of stabilization, largely driven by a stabilization in the unit market size in China. Credit Suisse believes that with an installed base of 1.2B~1.4B smartphone users, the steady state smartphone unit market should be somewhere around ~400M annual units, against the likely annual units of ~391M in 2018. (Credit Suisse report)

Credit Suisse believes, Apple is likely to see poor YoY traction until its 2019 models are launched and in the absence of any pricing details, they are assuming that Apple continues with its current premium pricing strategy and that 2019 models, in total, sell only as much as the 2018 models at launch. Thus, they expect iPhone units to fall another 10% in 2019, with the bulk of the YoY decline being registered in 1H19. (Credit Suisse report)

According to Credit Suisse, Samsung Galaxy F is probably being added to stabilize the volume decline of high-end products and to counter falling blended ASP. Credit Suisse believes that the product could be available for purchase by 2Q19. However, they expect a consumer test year in 2019 with a production of only 1 M units (Samsung produces ~300M smartphones in total annually), but that could rise up to 10M units in 2021, adding 8% / 15% to Samsung’s handset revenue / OP. (Credit Suisse report)

Strategy Analytics estimates Apple shipped 65.9M iPhones worldwide in 4Q18, tumbling -15% YoY from 77.3M in 4Q17. Global iPhone shipments fell sharply, due to high retail pricing, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, intense competition from rivals like Huawei, battery replacement programs driving longer ownership cycles, diminished carrier subsidies in some developed markets, and flagging demand in some emerging markets. (Phone Arena, Strategy Analytics)

Wearables

Apple has collaborated with the health insurance provider Aetna to launch a new app, called Attain, that uses Apple Watch data to provide a window into users’ health. (TechCrunch, PR Newswire, CNBC, Leiphone)

Samsung has applied for a patent at the WIPO for an ‘Electronic apparatus and method of controlling the same’.  The patent describes a smart shirt with sensors, which are able to diagnose your physical condition. The smart shirt is equipped with different sensors that can detect the lung sounds of a user. The age, gender and length of the user are also taken into account.  (My Drivers, TechRadar, TechGenYZ)

Home

Huawei and Honor are reportedly about to launch televisions under both brands. More specifically, Honor might launch 2 affordable TVs under its sub-brand Honor in Apr / May 2019, with a higher-end Huawei TV to follow in 2H19. (Pocket-Lint, CN Beta)

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