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07-02: Japan plans to tighten restrictions on the export of high-tech material used in smartphones and chips to South Korea; Tsinghua Unigroup has announced that it has decided to set up the DRAM business group; etc.

Chipsets

Hisense Electric has signed a contract with Qingdao Microelectronics Innovation Center to jointly invest CNY500M to establish Qingdao Xinxin Microelectronics Technology, which is engaged in the research and development of smart TV SoC chips and artificial intelligence (AI) chips. (CN Beta, Technology Info)

Xu Ziyang, CEO of ZTE, has revealed that the company’s 7nm process chip has been designed and mass-produced. Currently, 5nm 5G chips are being developed. At the equipment level, ZTE also realized the independent research and development of key databases and operating systems. (GizChina, My Drivers)

Touch Display

Japan plans to tighten restrictions on the export of high-tech material used in smartphones and chips to South Korea from 4 Jul 2019 in connection with a dispute over a South Korean ruling on war-time forced labor. The materials to be restricted are fluorinated polyimide which is used in smartphone displays, and resist and high-purity hydrogen fluoride (HF), which is used as an etching gas in the making of semiconductors. (Apple Insider, Reuters, CN Beta)

Kang Yun-Je, head of Samsung Electronics’ design team has indicated that smartphone design has hit a limit, that is why they have designed a folding phone. They are also focusing on other devices that are beginning to make a wider impact on the market, like smart earphones and smartwatches. In 5 years or so, people will not even realise they are wearing screens. It will be seamless. (CN Beta, MS Poweruser, The Independent)

Samsung CEO DJ Koh admits that Galaxy Fold launch is ‘embarrassing’. He says he pushed for the release of the foldable Galaxy Fold phone “before it was ready”. Koh now says that Samsung has “defined all of the issues and all of the problems” with the Fold and has “2,000 devices being tested”. (CNET, The Verge, Tom’s Guide, The Independent, Apple Insider, Sina, Sohu)

Memory

Tsinghua Unigroup has announced that it has decided to set up the DRAM business group to accelerate the development of domestic memory. At this stage, Tsinghua’s mainstream memory products are still DDR3, but the company has previously disclosed that its DDR4 DRAM memory chips have achieved the world’s mainstream design level, currently under development, is expected to be completed before the end of 2019 and launch in the market. However the production capacity cannot be guaranteed, thus the product sales would stays small. (CN Beta, My Drivers, Sohu)

Biometrics

Apple allegedly intends to launch a new iPhone for the budget-conscious Chinese market that features an under-display fingerprint sensor instead of expensive Face ID technology. (Mac Rumors, Global Times, Phone Arena, Sohu)

Battery

Samsung is showcasing 45W fast charging PD charger design. The 45W fast charge USB PD charger is equipped with Power Integrations (PI), and Samsung’s own chip is responsible for the USB PD protocol handshake. The reference chip model of the reference design is SE8A. (CN Beta, GizChina)

Connectivity

Google appears to have a working replacement for Android Beam that is almost ready for launch, namely Fast Share. System seems to be 1-to-1 transfer only at the moment, but looks compatible with Android phones, Chromebooks, iPhones, and even Smartwatches. (Android Central, 9to5Google, Zing Gadget)

Phone

Samsung CEO, DJ Koh expects consumers to turn to 5G in next 2~3 years, once their current contract comes up for renewal, networks improve coverage, and mid-range 5G devices become available. He explains that smartphone lifespan is 2.5~3 years. Samsung expects the S10 5G to still provide a solid experience for those interested in getting a 5G device in 2020. That means the pressure could be off Samsung to produce affordable or cheap 5G phones in the next 12-18 months. (TechRadar, Digital Trends)

According to survey (polled 2,000 U.S.-based smartphone owners of all ages 18+) results published by refurbished products site Decluttr, many smartphone users based in the United States do not know very much about their own phones. (Android Authority, Decluttr, 199ITCN Beta)

Canalys expects 5G-enabled handsets will reach nearly 800M units in 2023, accounting for 51.4% of all smartphone shipments, passing 4G smartphones 5 years after 5G’s global commercial launch. The CAGR between 2019 and 2023 will be 179.9%, while vendors will ship nearly 1.9B devices to market by the end of 2023. (GSM Arena, Canalys, press)

LG G8s ThinQ is announced – 6.21” 1080×2240 FHD+ P-OLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, rear tri 12MP OIS-12MP OIS tele-13MP ultrawide + front 8MP-3D ToF, 6+64/128GB, Android 9.0, rear fingerprint scanner, Hand ID, 3550mAh 18W fast charging, wireless charging. (Android Authority, Android Central, GSM Arena, LG)

Artificial Intelligence

Samsung has launched the Bixby Marketplace with capsules such as Google Maps, Spotify, iHeartRadio, NPR, Yelp, and more. The marketplace can be accessed by pressing the Bixby button on Samsung phone and swiping left. (Android Central, Samsung, CN Beta)

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