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08-10: Huawei has revealed a custom operating system called ‘Harmony OS’; UNISOC plans to make its 5G Tiger mobile platform available in 2H20; etc.

Chipsets

UNISOC plans to make its 5G Tiger mobile platform — an integrated solution that combines its processor and 5G modem into a system on chip — available in 2H20. UNISOC, the mobile chip unit of state-backed tech conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup, has invested around USD200M to improve its processes and quality. (CN Beta, Asia Nikkei, Electronics Weekly, China Knowledge, Nikkei)

Japan has approved the export of a hi-tech material to South Korea for the first time since imposing tighter curbs in Jul 2019, but also doubled down on political pressure and warned it could broaden restrictions on shipments to South Korea. The approval is for the material known as EUV photoresists, crucial for Samsung’s advanced contract chip making production. (CN Beta, Channel News Asia, Reuters)

Broadcom has reached an agreement with Symantec to buy its enterprise security business for USD10.7B, with the deal expected to close in 1Q20. Broadcom said that the acquisition of Symantec’s enterprise security portfolio will “significantly” expand its infrastructure software footprint as it attempts to become one of the leading firms in the sector. (Neowin, PR Newswire, CN Beta)

Touch Display

Apple’s patent proposes the use of an “Ultrasonic Polarizer” to act as a touch-sensing system that can filter out fake touches from water, leaving only the user’s own to be interpreted by the device. The core of the idea focuses on an acoustic touch sensing system using one or more transducers coupled to the device’s surface, such as piezoelectric transducers, which can transmit ultrasonic waves along the surface to another set of transducers. (Apple Insider, USPTO, CN Beta)

Apple is steadily working on the technology and UBS believes a folding product could come in 2020, although it said “2021 is more likely.” UBS thinks the first folding Apple product is more likely to be an iPad than an iPhone. About 35% of consumers surveyed by UBS that already have an iPhone would be interested in purchasing a folding model. Price remains primary, though, with only about a USD600 premium attached to the folding functionality by the polled users. (Apple Insider, CNET, CNBC, Sohu)

Japan Display Inc (JDI) has announced that it has signed an agreement to receive JPY80B (USD756M) in assistance from China’s Harvest Tech Investment Management and other investors. It will also borrow JPY20B from its top shareholder, the state-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan. (CN Beta, Electronics Weekly, Asia Nikkei)

Storage

According to TrendForce, quote trends for various products, including commodity DRAM, server DRAM and consumer DRAM, fell by nearly 30%, with the exception of discrete mobile DRAM/ eMCP products, whose declines fell within the 10%-20% range. Server DRAM prices suffered the steepest fall, registering a near 35% decline. Observing the market, they see that although 2Q19 sales bit grew over the previous quarter, quotes kept on falling, causing total DRAM revenue to fall by 9.1% QoQ in 2Q19. (TrendForce, TrendForce, press)

EMS provider Lite-On Technology reportedly plans to sell its storage business consisting of SSD products, with Toshiba Memory being identified as a potential buyer. Toshiba Memory could strengthen its SSD design and production capability to meet large potential demand for SSDs from data centers if it acquired Lite-On Tech’s subsidiary, currently sourcing NAND flash mainly from the Japan vendor. (CN Beta, HQEW, Digitimes, press)

Toshiba has announced XL-FLASH, a specialized low-latency SLC 3D NAND flash memory. The first XL-FLASH parts will use a 128Gb die, divided into 16 planes to support a much higher degree of parallelism than existing capacity-oriented 3D NAND parts. The page size will be 4kB, significantly smaller than what most 3D NAND uses. (CN Beta, AnandTech)

Following Japan’s decision to delist South Korea from its whitelist of trusted trade partners, domestic companies importing 857 items including hi-tech materials will come under tighter rules for export approval. South Korea has announced plans to invest about KRW7.8T (USD6.48B) in research and development for local materials, parts and equipment over the next seven years in an effort to cut the reliance on Japanese imports. South Korea plans to raise “self-sufficiency” for 100 key components, materials and equipment items used to make chips, displays, batteries, automobiles and other products, with a goal to stabilize supply over the next 5 years. (CN Beta, SCMP, Korea Joongang Daily, Reuters, Korea Herald)

SK Hynix is outlining a roadmap to 800+ layers in 2030. It has already announced work on 128-layer (128L) flash. It calls this technology version 6 of its 4D NAND but all other manufacturers refer to this as 3D NAND. The 128L die is 1Tbit in size. A 15TB SSD made using SK hynix’s 128L 1Tbit die could become a 93.75TB drive using 800L technology. (CN Beta, Block & Files)

Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are operating an emergency management system. Some materials can be replaced by Japanese companies that have production lines overseas. As for general equipment and components, some can be replaced by other companies from Europe, the U.S. and China. In the meantime, Chinese and Taiwanese industries seem to be trying to take advantage of the situation. (The Investor, Arirang)

Camera

From July 4, 2019, Japanese companies are exporting fluoride polyimide and photoresist and etching gas, they are required to apply for a separate license for each batch, and the approval process is up to 90 days. Due to the sharp increase of the cost of upstream raw materials, the production capacity of some camera chip models have become tight. Due to the influence of supply chain, the price of camera module manufacturers may have fluctuated. (Shoujibao, China CMOS)

According to Bloomberg, companies that provide sensors for cameras and facial recognition systems are preparing for a small climax in the context of stagnant sales of smartphones. Both Sony and STMicroelectronics’ sensor divisions are their fastest-growing businesses in the most recent quarter, and the two companies have increased productivity in order to handle the coming large wave of new smartphones launch in 3Q19. ams AG also uncharacteristically predicts that the growth of the remaining time in 2019 will exceed expectations. (Bloomberg, CN Beta)

Battery

Nissan and EVgo has announced they will install another 200 DC fast chargers in the United States. The 100 kilowatt DC fast-charging stations will have both CHAdeMO and CCS connectors, making them accessible to more EV drivers. (CN Beta, EVgo, TechCrunch)

Phone

Smartphone shipments declined to 331.2M units in 2Q19, down 3.6% from the same period last year, according to IHS Markit. This continued the long losing streak for smartphone shipments, which have not increased on a year-over-year basis since 3Q17. The decline in shipments in 2Q19 was widespread, with only 4 brands among the top-10—Samsung Electronics, Huawei, OPPO and TCL Alcatel—attaining year-over-year growth during the quarter. (GSM Arena, IHS Markit, press, CN Beta)

Samsung and Microsoft have announced a new step in their strategic partnership to boost consumers’ productivity. With the new Galaxy Note10 series and Galaxy Book S, the two firms are offering users “seamless productivity experiences across devices, applications, and services”. (Neowin, Samsung, CN Beta)

DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung’s IT & mobile communications division, has revealed that Japan’s export curbs would not affect launches of Galaxy Note 10 and Fold. He has further elaborated that the company has secured 3~4 months stockpiles of (smartphone) parts in the run up to Japan’s whitelist decision. However, If the trade tension is prolonged, it would inevitably affect their business. (CN Beta, Japan Times, YNA)

Huawei has sent a lawsuit letter to Flextronics and demanded compensation of several hundred million yuan. The cause of the incident is also from the fact that Huawei was listed in the “Entity List” by the US Department of Commerce in May 2019. After the ban was issued, Flextronics has “turned its face”. The company has even seized Huawei’s equipment and materials. (CN Beta, Reuters, Global Times)

Huawei has revealed a custom operating system called ‘Harmony OS’. The company CEO Richard Yu says this allows for flexible deployment across a wide range of categories including smart speakers, automobiles, computers, smartwatches, tablets, and, of course, smartphones. Harmony OS is a microkernel-based operating system which means it will use as few resources as possible, ensuring fast operating speeds and minimum latency levels.pps built for the HTML5, Linux, and Android platforms “will all be able to run” on Harmony OS in the future. (Phone Arena, GSM Arena, Neowin, The Verge, CN Beta, CN Beta, CN Beta)

After China said it was halting purchases of U.S. farming goods earlier Aug 2019, the White House retaliated by postponing a decision about licenses for U.S. companies to restart business with Huawei. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says that he has yet to make a decision about granting special licenses to 50 American companies. These outfits seek to resume doing business with Huawei. (Bloomberg, Fox Business, Phone Arena, VOA Chinese)

Coolpad has announced that it is ready to launch 5G smartphone in India. Coolpad claims that it has already filed over 800 patents related to 5G technology. It further adds that the company has also been granted 120 device-to-device 5G patents. (Gizmo China, Sina, IT Home)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series is announced, powered by Samsung Exynos 9825 / Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (US), under display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, supports S Pen, IP68, Android 9.0: Note 10 Plus – 6.8” 3040×1440 QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O, rear quad 16MP  ultrawide-12MP wide OIS-12MP OIS-VGA depth + front 10MP, 12+256/512GB, 4300mAh 25W, 15W wireless charging, USD1100 / USD1200 / USD1300 (5G). Note 10 – 6.3” 2280×1080 FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O, rear tri 16MP ultrawide-12MP wide OIS-12MP OIS + front 10MP, 8+256GB, 3500mAh 25W, 12W wireless charging, USD950. (Android Authority, GSM Arena, Gizmo China, Phone Arena)

ZTE nubia Z20 is announced – Dual 6.42” 1080×2340 FHD+ AMOLED + 5.1” 1080×2340 FHD+ AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+, tri 48MP-8MP telephoto 3x optical zoom-16MP ultrawide, 6+128GB or 6+128/512GB, Android 9.0, dual side fingerprint scanner, 4000mAh 27W fast charging, CNY3,499~4,199. (CN Beta, GSM Arena, Weibo)

PC Tablet

According to TrendForce, concerns over the US-China trade dispute and the Intel CPU shortage originally casted a conservative cloud over the overall outlook for the market in 2Q19. Yet 3 factors played a role in pushing 2Q19 shipments to 41.5M units to give an expectation-exceeding QoQ growth of 12.1%: (1) AMD CPUs are being substituted for Intel CPUs; (2) Chromebooks find increased demand in the form of tenders; and (3) worries arising from the trade dispute moved brands to stock up anticipatorily. (CN Beta, TrendForce, TrendForce, press)

Samsung is launching Galaxy Book S notebook powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx – 13” FHD TFT touch display, 720P HD camera, AKG speakers, fingerprint scanner, 8+256/512GB, Windows 10 Home / Pro, LTE, 42Wh battery, from USD999. (CN Beta, Neowin, Samsung)

Home

CIRP’s data shows that the smart speaker installed base in the US has hit 76M units. That marks a gain of 6M smart speakers during the Jun 2019 quarter. As for smart speaker market share in the US, CIRP’s numbers put Amazon Echo devices in a commanding lead with 70% and Google Home devices at 25% percent share, leaving Apple HomePod with a 5% installed base of the US total. (CN Beta, 9to5Mac, 199IT)

Automotive

In Jul 2019, more than 100M people took Ubers or used the company’s services. That is the first time it hit that monthly milestone. Trips rose 35% in 2Q19 compared with the previous year, up to 1.67B. (Engadget, Uber, Teller China)

Robotics

Toyota Motor and Preferred Networks have agreed to engage in joint research and development on Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) robotics platform. The two companies aim to develop service robots that cater to market needs at the earliest opportunity. (Preferred Networks, TechCrunch, Atyun)

Artificial Intelligence

Nike has announced that it is acquiring Celect, a retail analytics company, to build out its data science skills for its Consumer Direct Offense plan. Nike’s Consumer Direct Offense strategy aims to develop products faster with personalization at scale. (TechCrunch, CNBC, ZDNet, Nike, Sina, Sohu)

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