1-4: Imagination Technologies announces that it has replaced the multi-year, multi-use license agreement with Apple; HiSilicon has launched 4G communication chips on the open market; etc.

Chipsets

Imagination Technologies announces that it has replaced the multi-year, multi-use license agreement with Apple, first announced on 6 Feb 2014, with a new multi-year license agreement under which Apple has access to a wider range of Imagination’s intellectual property in exchange for license fees. (Apple Insider, Imagination, Leiphone, CN Beta)

HiSilicon has launched 4G communication chips on the open market. Huawei and HiSilicon are aligned in their vision of building “a world where all things are perceived, and all things are connected.” The core of “Everything Connected” is the chip and key components. Shanghai HiSilicon wants to provide core chips and components to enable the terminals that are the industrial, digital, and intelligent industrial cornerstones in a range of industries. (Android Central, EE Times, Sina)

HiSilicon Kirin 820 will reportedly use Samsung’s 6nm manufacturing process, using more EUV layers than TSMC’s 7nm process, which can provide an additional 18% density improvement. In addition, the Kirin 820 is likely to integrate 5G baseband and support dual-mode 5G networks; a better technology as opposed to NSA-only 5G support. (GizChina, My Drivers)

TSMC will remain the sole foundry partner of Apple for the chips for its 2020 iPhone series, and volume production using 5nm EUV process will kick off by the end of 2Q20. TSMC has already moved 5nm process technology to risk production. HiSilicon is reportedly the other initial customer of TSMC’s 5nm process. (CN Beta, GSM Arena, Digitimes, press)

Touch Display

Samsung Display has reportedly started foldable OLED panels development for Huawei’s new foldable smartphone. Huawei will release the upgraded version of the foldable phone in 2H20. Huawei’s first foldable smartphone Mate X uses panels produced by LG Display and BOE, and Xiaomi is also considering using Samsung display panels for its foldable phones in 2021. (CN Beta, OLED-Info, The Elec, Huawei Update)

LG Innotek quit LED production in Dec 2019, earlier than the originally planned Apr 2020, resulting in tight supply of UV-A and UV-C chips and devices in the market, according to Digitimes. LG Display has been shifting production focus from TFT-LCD to OLED and therefore its demand for LED backlighting is decreasing, impacting LG Innotek’s LED business. (Digitimes, press, Yahoo)

TCL Communication has applied for a design patent for a smartphone in Europe, which can be pulled out horizontally. The patented phone uses a left and right retractable design, fully unfolded like a tablet. (Laoyaoba, LetsGoDigital)

Camera

OPPO has filed a patent at CNIPA (China National Intellectual Property Administration) that illustrates a phone with a side-mounted pop-up camera. The patent sketches reveal the motorized camera module is placed on the right-hand side of the phone. (GSM Arena, CNIPA, Tiger Mobiles, IT Home, Sina)

Memory

NAND flash contract prices are forecast to rise by up to 40% in 2020, according to Digitimes. This will include hardware such as memory cards, USB flash drives, and solid-state drives. (Digitimes, Neowin, Laoyaoba)

The general manager of Nanya Technology has emphasized that the market conditions continue to improve with the trends of 5G and AI. Additionally the original inventory of several major manufacturers in 4Q19 are gradually returning to normal levels, and the capital expenditure plan for 2020 is also synchronized and conservative. It is expected that supply and demand will stabilize, and the earliest 1Q20 price may rebound. (Laoyaoba, Sohu)

Connectivity

Xiaomi, vivo, and OPPO have announced their own peer-to-peer sharing feature for Android with the creation of the “Peer-to-Peer Transmission Alliance”. The alliance will let users of devices of those three brands quickly share files with each other’s phones. It makes use of Bluetooth for fast pairing, and Wi-Fi direct for the actual file sharing process. (Android Central, OfWeek, Engadget CN)

Xiaomi is in advanced stages of negotiations with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the development of chipsets supporting Navigation with Indian Constellation (NaviC). NaviC is India’s very own Global Positioning System (GPS) initiative. The NavIC-friendly chipset, being manufactured by Qualcomm, is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500km from its boundary. (Gizmo China, Economic Times, NDTV)

Wi-Fi Alliance is introducing new terminology to distinguish forthcoming Wi-Fi 6 devices that are capable of 6 GHz operation, an important portion of unlicensed spectrum that may soon be made available by regulators around the world. Wi-Fi 6E brings a common industry name for Wi-Fi users to identify devices that will offer the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6 – including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates – extended into the 6 GHz band. (My Drivers, Fierce Wireless, Globe Newswire)

Phone

Samsung has revealed that it shipped over 6.7M 5G Galaxy smartphones during 2019. Samsung says that it now owns 53.9% of the global 5G smartphone market thanks to the 2 5G phones namely Galaxy S10 5G and Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. (Android Central, Samsung, CN Beta)

According to a Goldman Sachs, the conservative estimate for the global 5G smartphone market will reach more than 200M units. This value is about 20 times more than the sales figure of 2019. According to estimates, there will be about 1M new 5G base stations in China this year. This is higher than the original 600K prediction by Goldman Sachs. (GizChina, IT Home, GSM Arena)

Xiaomi Corp founder Lei Jun has announced that the company will invest more than CNY50B (USD7.18B) in artificial intelligence (AI) and fifth generation (5G) internet technologies over the next 5 years  in an “All in AIoT” strategy. (Reuters, ZDNet, CNA, Mi Community, 36Kr)

Samsung has filed trademarks in South Korea for a series of new Galaxy phones, namely A12, A22, A32, A42, A52, A62, A72, A82 and A92, which are expected to launch in 2021. (GizChina, NDTV, TechRadar, ePrice)

Apple is likely to launch as many as 6 iPhone in 2020 – 4 OLED models and 2 LCD ones. This new member will be an upgraded version of the widely speculated ‌iPhone‌ SE2 featuring a 5.5” or 6.1” LCD display and available at the end of 2020 or in earlier 2021. (Digitimes, CN Beta, RPRNA)

TF Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo has expected that BYD to replace Quanta as the exclusive assembly supplier for Apple iPod Touch and obtain at least 10% -20% of iPad assembly orders in 2020, although the annual shipment of iPod Touch is only about 6M-8M units. (TF Securities, CN Beta, Mac Rumors, Phone Arena)

Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite and Note10 Lite are announced, features 6.7” 2400×1080 FHD+ Infinity-O Super AMOLED, 6/8+128GB, Android 10, under display fingerprint, 4500mAh: S10 Lite – Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, rear tri 48MP OIS-12MP ultrawide-5MP macro + front 32MP, should be EUR650. Note10 Lite – Samsung Exynos 9810, rear tri 12MP OIS-12MP ultrawide-12MP telephoto OIS + front 32MP, should be about EUR600. (The Verge, Samsung, Forbes)

Home

Google has temporarily disabled Xiaomi’s access to Home and Assistant devices after a Mi Home camera user gained a view of still images from other homes’ cameras. Google says it is currently working with Xiaomi on a fix. (Neowin, Android Police, CN Beta)

[CES2020] Samsung has unveiled a new lineup of home appliances for an “innovative lifestyle”. These appliances include: (1) new BESPOKE Refrigerator that customize the functions of the refrigerator with Flex Zone, a compartment that can be used as either a fridge or a freezer; (2) Portable Slim Double Induction makes it easier to prepare meals anywhere in the kitchen—or even in another room in the home; (3) Cube Refrigerator series with a special cooling technology; and (4) Samsung Shoe Care System represents a first-of-its-kind innovation in home shoe care. (Samsung, Neowin, Sohu)

[CES2020] Kohler continues to expand its line of smart home kitchen and bath products with the introduction of a Alexa-enabled smart showerhead speaker, home water purification system, touchless kitchen faucet, touchless toilet and smart shower system. (VentureBeat, The Verge, Daily Mail, Yahoo, CN Beta)

Automotive

Tesla Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, China, aims to ramp up its current production by increasing the number of shifts per day. Tesla says it delivered 367,500 electric vehicles in 2019 — 50% more than the previous year. Tesla has already reached a production rate of 1,500 Model 3s at Gigafactory 3 during a six-day workweek, though more recent reports from China reveal that the massive Shanghai-based facility has reached a run-rate of 3,000 vehicles a week. (CN Beta, Teslarati, TechCrunch, IB Times)

Segway (owned by Chinese company Segway-Ninebot since 2015) has unveiled the Segway S-Pod, a smart transporting pod for enclosed campuses such as airports, theme parks, and malls. Segway says it is a safe, self-balancing vehicle that is operated by an intuitive assistive navigation panel. (VentureBeat, The Verge, Business Insider, CN Beta)

Robotics

Worldwide spending on robotics systems and drones will be USD128.7B in 2020, an increase of 17.1% over 2019, according to IDC. By 2023, IDC expects this spending will reach USD241.4B with a CAGR of 19.8%. Robotics systems will be the larger of the two categories throughout the 5-year forecast period with worldwide robotics spending forecast to be USD112.4B in 2020. Spending on drones will total USD16.3B in 2020 but is forecast to grow at a faster rate (33.3% CAGR) than robotics systems (17.8% CAGR). (CN Beta, Neowin, IDC, press)

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