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05-11: TSMC is on track to move 5nm process technology to volume production in 2020; Samsung has introduced two new 0.8μm pixel image sensors; etc.

Chipsets

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has started production of a new chip for Apple’s next line of iPhones launching later 2019. The processor, dubbed A13, went into early test production in Apr and mass-production is planned for as early as May 2019. (CN Beta, Sina, GSM Arena, Bloomberg)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is on track to move 5nm process technology to volume production in 2020, and reportedly has plans to roll out an enhanced version of the process a year later. Dubbed N5+, namely 5nm Plus, the process node will feature both performance and power consumption advances. (Digitimes, press, CN Beta)

Intel is on track to produce server-class products using its 10nm manufacturing technology already in 1H20. The node is set to use extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) with laser wavelength of 13.5nm for select layers, so it will not heavily rely on multi-patterning, a major source of problems with Intel’s 10nm process. The first product to use Intel’s 7nm process technology will be Intel’s Xe-architecture-based GP-GPU in 2021. (CN Beta, AnandTech)

Touch Display

According to Joshua D. Newman, Intel’s general manager of mobile innovation and vice president of the company’s Client Computing Group, foldable laptops are at least 2 years away. He has indicated that the company is “trying to understand the capability and the limitation of the [foldable] technology”. (CN Beta, Asia Nikkei, Extremetech, TechRadar)

Camera

Samsung has introduced two new 0.8μm pixel image sensors – the 64MP ISOCELL Bright GW1 and 48MP ISOCELL Bright GM2. With the addition, Samsung expands its 0.8μm image sensor lineup, the smallest pixel size currently available in the market, from existing 20MP to ultra-high 64MP resolutions. GW1 and GM2 are currently sampling and are expected to be in mass production in 2H19. (Android Authority, Samsung, AnandTech, CN Beta)

Memory

SK Hynix has delivered samples of new 1Tb quadruple-level cell (QLC) memory to major SSD controller companies, according to the company. SK Hynix applies its own QLC technology to 96-layer charge-trap-flash-based 4D NAND flash, said the company, adding that its 96-layer-based 1Tb QLC products will be “in time for the QLC market opening”. (CN Beta, Digitimes, press, SK Hynix)

According to TrendForce, the NAND flash industry this year is clearly exhibiting signs of oversupply, and SSD suppliers have gotten themselves into a price war, causing SSD prices for PC OEMs to take a dive. Average contract prices for 512GB and 1TB SSDs have a chance to plunge below USD0.1 per GB by the end of 2019, hitting an all-time low. This change will cause 512GB SSDs to replace their 128GB counterparts and become market mainstream, second only to 256GB SSDs. (CN Beta, TrendForce[cn], TrendForce, press)

Biometrics

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimates the shipment of under-display fingerprint phones will increase by 900%–1000% in 2019 reaching 280M units. Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that the shipment of optical under display fingerprint from Goodix in 2019 is 170M~180M, which is better than the market consensus (150M~160M). The key is strong demand and exclusive lens supplier Newmax Technology has expanded from 3Q19 (In 2Q19, the capacity of New Giant is unable to meet the demand), it is expected that 2H19 revenue and profit will be significantly increased compared with 1H19. (TF Securities, CN Beta)

Material

Unitech Printed Circuit Board has been ramping up rigid-flex PCB shipments for Apple AirPods 2, the order visibility for which has extended through early 2020 at least, according to Digitimes. This is despite market speculation that AirPods 3—reportedly to hit the market by the end of 2019 – may feature a brand-new internal design adopting SiP (system in package) technology instead of rigid-flex board combination. (Phone Arena, Digitimes, press, Apple Insider, China Times, HK01)

Connectivity

Japanese telco SoftBank Corp has announced that it would spend USD4B to up its stake in Yahoo Japan Corp and turn the internet company into a subsidiary. The telco said it would buy JPY456.5B (USD4.2B) worth of new shares to be issued by Yahoo Japan, increasing SoftBank Corp’s stake to 45% from 12%. (CN Beta, Reuters)

According to Ericsson, on average, smartphone users globally state that they are willing to pay a premium of 20% over and above what they pay today for the benefits of 5G. However, half of all early adopters who are familiar with 5G’s promises could pay as much as 32% more than they do today. These potential 5G early adopters constitute 25% of all smartphone users globally. (VentureBeat, Ericsson, report, CNET, TechRadar)

Phone

OPPO is reportedly planning to reduce its reliance on the celebrity endorsements and will instead shift its marketing focus towards large-scale sporting events. This seems to be the company strategy for increasing its brand recall value. (Gizmo China, IT Home)

Chao Bin Yang President of 5G Product Line, Huawei Technologies, believes that 5G phones with CNY1,000 price tag would emerge near end of 2020 at the earliest, or early 2021 at the earliest. (CN Beta, My Drivers, IT Home)

China Unicom is rolling 5G plan in first tier cities. The devices that are available include Huawei Mate 20X 5G (CNY12,800), ZTE AXON 10 5G (CNY10,800), OPPO Reno 5G (CNY11,800), vivo NEX 5G (CNY11,800), Xiaomi MIX 3 5G (CNY11,800), and nubia mini 5G (CNY10,800). (CN Beta, Huawei Central)

Google has announced Project Mainline allowing core Android components to be updated via Google Play. Core Android components previously had to be updated via a full OTA update from a manufacturer. Project Mainline is a way to update 12 core components in Android. (CN Beta, Android Central, Android Authority, SlashGear)

Huawei has confirmed that it will be releasing a 5G compliant smartphone handset to the Canadian market, by late 2019. Additionally, Huawei has also committed to provide Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training to over 1,000 Canadians, helping to train and develop the next generation of telecoms engineers in the country. (CN Beta, CTV News, Financial Post, Total Tele)

HTC has officially announced that due to the consideration of HTC China’s long-term business strategy, they will temporarily close the HTC mobile phone Jingdong flagship store and Tmall flagship store. HTC smartphones and accessories can still be purchased through HTC Official Mall and HTC VIVE Flagship Store. (My Drivers, Android Central)

India’s antitrust watchdog has ordered an investigation into Alphabet’s Google for allegedly abusing the dominant position of its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has started looking into the complaint in 2018. (My Drivers, Business Line, CN Beta, Reuters)

Honor 20 Lite is unveiled in Malaysia – 6.21” 1080×2340 FHD+ IPS, HiSilicon Kirin 710, rear tri 24MP-8MP-2MP + front 32MP, 4+128GB, Android 9.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 3400mAh, MYR949 (USD228). (Gizmo China, XDA Developers, MySpartPrice, Honor)

Sharp AQUOS R3 is announced – 6.2” 3120×1440 QHD+ IGZO, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, rear dual 12.2MP 78º-20MP 125º + front 16.3MP, 6+128GB, Android 9.0, front fingerprint scanner, 3200mAh 11W Qi wireless charging. (Android Headlines, GSM Arena, Sharp)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Google announced that the augmented reality (AR) feature in Google Maps it demoed nearly 1 year ago — a heads-up mode that provides directions from phones’ cameras in real time — is available in preview for the Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, and older Pixel smartphones. (Engadget, Twitter, VentureBeat, CN Beta)

The typical virtual reality (VR) headset owner spends only about 6 hours a month using their device, according to IDC. The installed base of “high-performance” headsets grew 60% from 2017 to 3.9M in 2018, and there is now a group of “hardcore” VR users, though the market still has non-trivial challenges to overcome. Overall, respondents reported the same average level of satisfaction with their high-end VR headsets as a separate survey group reported with smartwatches: 7.5 out of 10. (VentureBeat, Variety, Sohu, Yivian)

Home

Amazon has announced that Amazon Alexa now works with 60,000 different devices from over 7,400 brands. Amazon is saying it took about 5 months to add 8,000 devices and then about eight months to add 40,000. (CN Beta, Android Police, Voicebot.ai, Android Authority, Amazon)

Automotive

Japan’s Toyota Motor and Panasonic has announced that they plan to establish a joint company to develop “connected” services to be used in homes and urban development. (CN Beta, Asia Nikkei, Reuters, CNN)

According to a survey of more than 5,000 people by the Capgemini Research Institute, China has shown more positivity about self-driving cars. Those from the U.S. and the U.K. are the least excited about the prospect of leaving the driver seat for robotic technology to take up the chauffeur’s duties. (Gizmo China, Bloomberg)

Volkswagen is preparing its Zwickau manufacturing plant in Germany to produce solely electric cars (MEB based) by the end of 2020 at an ultimate level of 330,000 per year (up to 1,500 per day). Volkswagen plans on offering 20 new electric models by 2025 and hopes to sell around 1M EVs by that time as well. (CN Beta, CNET, Inside EVs)

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