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03-31: SK Hynix will start production in Wuxi with a total investment of USD8.6B in DRAM memory in April 2019; Sony smartphone workforce will be reduced to half of the 4,000 people that are employed there now; etc.

Chipsets

CPU shortages continued driving down global PC shipments in 1Q19 and even blurring order visibility for 2Q19. This, in turn, is seen to dim business prospects for Taiwan design houses, making them conservative about placing orders with upstream foundry houses and downstream backend service providers, according to Digitmes. CPU shortages have disrupted shipment schedules for mid-range and high-end PCs since 2H18 while also starting to affect shipments of low-end models in 1Q19, causing demand for related chips to fluctuate sharply. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, LTN)

Intel Japan’s President Kunimasa Suzuki has suggested that it will take until Dec 2019 for Intel’s 14nm CPU shortage problems to be fixed, with a healthy supply of processors coming back to the market for the holidays. There were hopes from within the industry that the 14nm shortages would be dealt with in the first few months of 2019, but every time those timings get pushed further back. (CN Beta, My Drivers, PC Games, EXP review)

Touch Display

Samsung has patented a new foldable smartphone design. It folds in two places, and both of those sides fold to the back of the device. There seems to be some sort of a protrusion in the center of the back of this phone, next to which two sides of the display sit, probably to keep them firmly in place when the phone is folded. (Android Headlines, LetsGoDigital)

AU Optronics (AUO) is developing an in-folding display. According to CLSA, AUO is developing its foldable OLEDs in collaboration with Lenovo. AUO aims to produce these OLEDs in its 4.5-Gen AMOLED AFPD fab in Singapore – which commenced low-volume AMOLED production in 2013. AUO is currently producing mostly wearable glass-based OLEDs in its AFPD fab. (OLED-Info, Taipei Times, Digitimes, press, Yahoo)

Universal Display (UDC) has announced that it has signed an OLED evaluation agreement with Wuhan China Star Optoelectronics Semiconductor Display Technology (CSOT). UDC will supply CSOT with proprietary UniversalPHOLED phosphorescent OLED materials for display applications. CSOT’s  T7 fab, which has a total cost of around CNY42.7B (USD6.15B), will produce both LCD and OLED displays on IGZO backplanes. (OLED-Info, AP News, Elecfans, Sina)

Huawei P30’s panel reportedly is supplied by Samsung Display, while the panel for the P30 Pro is supplied by BOE and LG Display (LGD). (Digitimes, press, Sohu)

Camera

OPPO has been granted a patent for another slider design smartphone. The new design envisages a slider smartphone with dual rear cameras vertically aligned to the next in a conventional manner – always exposed, while the dual front camera will be concealed in the slider behind the display. (GSM Arena, Europa, TigerMobiles)

Memory

For memory manufacturers, it is not easy to raise prices in 2019, because SK Hynix will start production in Wuxi with a total investment of USD8.6B in DRAM memory in April 2019. Since then, SK Hynix’s memory capacity in Wuxi will increase by 180K wafers per month, and thus the oversupply of the market will only be more serious. (CN Beta, EXP Review)

Biometrics

Apple’s filing for a “Wearable Electronic Device Having a Light Field Camera Usable to Perform Bio-authentication from a Dorsal Side of a Forearm Near a Wrist” offers a suggestion of using imaging at the rear of the Apple Watch to confirm the wearer’s identity. (Apple Insider, USPTO)

Connectivity

Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun has hinted that Xiaomi strongly aims to be the number one provider of 5G mobile phones. He has also stated that the company must stay prepared to deal with the 5G phone demand for 2020. (Gizmo China, My Drivers)

Phone

Sony smartphone workforce will be reduced to half of the 4,000 people that are employed there now, and it will all happen by Mar 2020. Sony will also scale down the mobile division by focusing on Europe and East Asia, and limiting operations to Southeast Asia. (GizChina, GSM Arena, Asia Nikkei, My Drivers)

Half a decade ago Xiaomi has started manufacturing smartphones in Brazil but eventually left the market in 2016 due to the poor economic environment. The Twitter account of Xiaomi Brazil suddenly got active again in the past week, with its most recent tweet asking if Mi fans are ready to see innovation to happen in Brazil again. (GSM Arena, Sina)

According to IDC, due to weakening channel demand, worldwide smartphone ODM/EMS assembly shipment volumes dropped 6.2% year over year during 4Q18 with total shipments of 356.7M. Worldwide smartphone ODM / EMS assembly shipment volumes showed a year-over-year decrease of 6.2% and only a slight quarter-over-quarter growth of 0.3%. (IDC, press, My Drivers)

Huawei Y6 Prime (2019) is announced in Pakistan – 6.09” 720×1560 HD+ IPS, MediaTek MT6761 Helio A22, rear 13MP + front 8MP, 3+32GB, Android 9.0, 3020mAh, rear fingerprint scanner PKR21,499 (USD153.4). (Gizmo China, NDTV, Huawei, GSM Arena)

PC / Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.0 (2019) with S-Pen is announced – 8” 1920×1200 IPS, Samsung Exynos 7904, rear 8MP + front 5MP, 3+32GB, 4200mAh, LTE optional. (GizChina, Samsung, GSM Arena)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Worldwide shipments of augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets are forecast to reach 8.9M units in 2019, up 54.1% from the prior year according to IDC. Strong growth is expected to continue as global shipments climb to 68.6M in 2023 with a CAGR of 66.7% over the 2019-2023 forecast period. (IDC, press)

Home

360 AI Speaker Max M1 is announced. It is a smart speaker and a powerful sound bar with Hi-Fi grade sound quality. The speaker has built-in DSP audio processor and supports advanced audio processing. It also comes with Smart EQ support automatically changes the sound effect based on the song blasting from the speakers. It is priced at CNY199. (Gizmo China, CN Beta)

Artificial Intelligence

More than half of business executives plan to implement some form of artificial intelligence within the next 12 months, according to the 2019 State of Intelligent Automation report released by KPMG International in collaboration with HFS Research. (CN Beta, VentureBeat, KPMG report)

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