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05-04: AUO reportedly plans to build a 6G line for the production of OLED panels; Qualcomm has revealed that it expects to receive USD4.5B~4.7B from its royalty settlement with Apple; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm has revealed that it expects to receive USD4.5B~4.7B from its royalty settlement with Apple. The agreement included a one-time payment from Apple to Qualcomm, a 6-year licensing deal between the two companies, and an agreement from Apple to buy Qualcomm chips. (CNBC, WSJ, Apple, My Drivers, Engadget CN, Axios)

TSMC has revealed that the company expects most of its 7nm “N7” process customers to eventually transition to its forthcoming 6nm “N6” manufacturing node. TSMC’s N6 process technologies adopts extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) to lower manufacturing complexity by reducing the number of exposures required for multi-patterning (which is needed as TSMC’s N7 uses solely DUV lithography). While TSMC’s N7+ uses up to four EUVL layers, its N6 expands it up to five layers, whereas N5 expands usage of EUVL all the way to 14 layers. (AnandTech, CN Beta, TSMC, Cadence, Wallstreet CN)

Huawei is planning to build a 400-person chip research and development factory outside Cambridge. In the village of Sawston, about 7 miles from Cambridge, Huawei plans to develop chips for use in broadband networks. (My Drivers, Financial Times)

Touch Display

Samsung has filed a patent at USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) showcasing the first smartphone with a wraparound display. The patent shows a display that completely wraps the entire phone. (Gizmo China, LetsGoDigital, GizChina, IT Home)

Corning expects display glass price declines to continue improving in 2019, with the company’s 1Q19 revenues and net profit from the segment recording double-digit growths—10% and 12% respectively—from year-ago levels. (Digitimes, press)

AU Optronics (AUO) reportedly plans to build a 6G line for the production of OLED panels based on inkjet printing technology before the end of 2019, having set up a 3.5G testing line in 1H19, according to Digitimes. AUO currently has a 4.5G OLED line which volume produces panels using technology other than inkjet printing process. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, LTN, China Times, Yahoo, UDN)

China-based Sanan Optoelectronics will invest CNY12B (USD1.78B) to construct production lines for mini and micro LED epitaxial wafers and chips in central China, according to LEDinside. Sanan reportedly set up a micro LED trial production line in 1Q19 and has developed micro LED chips with a diameter of 20 microns, and plans to produce 4-micron micro LED chips and 10-micron micro LED flip-chips. (Digitimes, press, China Times, Sohu, China Times)

Huawei has demanded more supplies from Taiwan-based chip-on-film (COF) substrate manufacturers including JMC Electronics and Chipbond Technology (formerly Simpal Electronics), and has already reserved the majority of production capacities at both COF substrate suppliers, according to Digitimes. Both JMC and Chipbond have also been requested to improve their COF substrate production yields to enable consistent and reliable supplies. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, press)

Camera

Samsung is reportedly developing a  new display technology aims to achieve a ‘perfect full-screen’ without any punch-hole or notch. All the sensors will be embedded into the display without hindering the viewing experience. It would help Samsung to achieve 100% display without any openings. (Gizmo China, My Drivers, Slash Gear, YNA)

Phone

Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 310.8M units in 1Q19, which marked the 6th consecutive quarter of decline. In 2018, smartphone shipments dropped 4.1% over 2017, which was inclusive of a 1st quarter that was down 3.5% – just half of what the market experienced in 1Q19. Samsung saw volumes drop 8.1% in 1Q19 with shipments of 71.9M. (IDC, press)

According to Counterpoint Research, the global smartphone market declined for the 6th consecutive quarter to 345M units as consumers held onto their devices longer, especially higher-end phones. Only Chinese brands Huawei, OPPO and vivo were able to register growth in 1Q19. (Counterpoint Research, press)

Meizu has officially confirmed to us that it has indeed received new funding from the Zhuhai Municipal Fund. Jack Wong, founder, and CEO of Meizu will remain the largest shareholder and controller of the company. Zhuhai Fund will get a seat on the company’s board after this investment. (Gizmo China, Sohu, CN Beta, NBD, 36Kr)

Wearables

Global smartwatch shipments grew a healthy rate of 48% year-on-year (YoY) in 1Q19 driven by Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Huawei, according to Counterpoint Research. Samsung grew exponentially at 127% YoY as Samsung’s market share jumped to 11% in 1Q19. Its success was due to the latest Galaxy watch series which came with better battery life as well as a very traditional round clockface design. (Counterpoint Research, press)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Microsoft has announced the HoloLens 2 Development Edition. The Development Edition is a bundle that includes the headset, USD500 in Azure credits, and 3-month trials of Unity Pro and Unity PiXYZ. The HoloLens 2 has a diagonal field-of-view stands of 52º, with maintaining the holographic density of 47 pixels per degree of sight. (Neowin, Liliputing, The Verge, Unity, CN Beta)

Valve reveals Valve Index VR headset. The whole set would cost USD1000, and the VR HMD alone costs about USD500. The whole set includes a VR HMD (featuring 1440×1600 dual LCD display, 120Hz fresh rate), Index controllers, and two StreamVR 2.0 trackers.  (The Verge, Sohu, CN Beta, eSport Talk, Techspot)

Automotive

Toyota AI Ventures (TAIV) announced its second USD100M investment commitment – Toyota AI Ventures Fund II – dedicated to supporting early-stage autonomous mobility and robotics startups. Following the Toyota corporate’s venture capital firm’s initial USD100M in 2017, the group’s total asset investments now total USD200M. (Digital Trends, Toyota, CN Beta)

Chinese automaker Zotye Automobile plans to begin importing the T600 small crossover in 2020 or 2021, and has already begun signing up dealers to sell the car. Zotye’s first planned U.S. model is the T600. (Digital Trends, CNET, Sohu, iFeng)

Google is opening its Android Automotive operating system up to third-party developers to bring music and other entertainment apps into vehicle infotainment systems, starting with the Polestar 2, an all-electric vehicle developed by Volvo’s standalone electric performance brand. (TechCrunch, Business Insider, Extremetech)

Chinese electric vehicle startup NIO has laid off 70 employees in 2 California offices, including in the company’s North American headquarters. (The Verge, My Drivers, Electek, EDD)

Robotics

Invert Robotics raises USD8.8M for inspection robots that cling to non-metallic surfaces. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, Invert Robotics builds wall-crawling robots that can inspect the insides of confined or difficult-to-reach spaces like storage tanks at food and beverage processing facilities. (VentureBeat, The Spoon)

Fintech

Microsoft has announced its fully managed Azure Blockchain Service. The new blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform will purportedly allow users to build blockchain applications on preconfigured network. It is a fully managed service that allows for the formation, management and governance of consortium blockchain networks. (TechCrunch, Coin Telegraph, Microsoft, Forbes, Azure, Inpai)

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