3-20: realme has officially teased a new sub-brand Narzo; Samsung has temporarily closed all of its physical stores in the U.S.; etc.

Chipsets

According to IDC, there is nearly an 80% chance for significant contraction in worldwide semiconductor revenues in 2020, instead of a previously expected minor overall growth of 2%. There is still a one-in-five chance that a fast, strong bounce back from COVID-19 in 2020 is possible. On a global level, the COVID-19 crisis is just beginning, with too many variables to immediately craft a single forecast in response. (CN Beta, IDC, press)

Intel has announced the readiness of Pohoiki Springs, its latest and most powerful neuromorphic research system providing the computational capacity of 100 million neurons. Pohoiki Springs is a data center rack-mounted system integrating 768 Loihi neuromorphic research chips inside a chassis the size of five standard servers. (VentureBeat, Intel, CTOCIO)

The latest investigations by TrendForce show that the foundry industry benefitted from the previous quarter’s order fulfillment and client stock-up demands, with overall projected revenue undergoing a slight 2% dip QoQ but about 30% growth YoY in 1Q20 due to the comparatively lower 1Q19 base period. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic causes repercussions in global markets, and the economy enters a corresponding slowdown, the foundry industry now faces major uncertainties on the demand side, possibly slowing the industry’s future growth momentum. (Laoyaoba, TrendForce, TrendForce, press)

Touch Display

Lu Weibing, General Manager of Redmi brand and President of Xiaomi Group China says that the pop-up front-facing camera system will become rare in the 5G era. He says that the number of components in 5G smartphones have increased significantly, making it more difficult to use a mechanical arrangement. He also adds that the pop-up camera module also poses a huge challenge in terms of motherboard design. (Laoyaoba, Gizmo China, My Drivers)

AU Optronics (AUO) chairman Paul Peng expects demand for panels from the education and medical care sectors to rise significantly in 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. (Digitimes, press, China Times, UDN)

Camera

Xiaomi has invested in a company DEEPerceptron, which deals with camera hardware and focuses on 3D image mapping, via its Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Investment Fund. The group has also invested in Hypower Microelectronics which specialized in making fast charging chips. (Gizmo China, Sina, Laoyaoba)

Samsung’s sales of its Galaxy S20 series are not selling too well on account of a global economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19, along with reduced subsidies for telecom companies. The pre-orders of Samsung S20 Ultra have reportedly risen to over 50% of the total volume. Samsung has ordered more 108MP camera modules for S20 Ultra. (Phone Arena, The Elec, CN Beta)

Artificial intelligence (AI) company Sensetime has reportedly delayed its plan to go public in Hong Kong, and is instead seeking up to USD1B in private funding. According to SenseTime, it has 700 partners and clients in the areas of the internet, mobile phones, finance, remote sensing, and other sectors. (Capital Watch, Laoyaoba, TechNode)

Connectivity

According to Strategy Analytics’ assessment, leading infrastructure vendors including Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia contribute more to 5G standards than other companies studied. Strategy Analytics has evaluated the contributions of 13 leading companies to the 3GPP R15 and R16 5G standards. (IT Home, GizChina, CN Beta)

Nokia Bell Labs has announced that they have set the world record for the highest single carrier bit rate at 1.52Tbit/s over 80 km of standard single mode fiber — the equivalent of simultaneously streaming 1.5M YouTube videos – which is 4 times the market’s current state-of-the-art of approximately 400Gbit/s. (CN Beta, Nokia, Nokia Mob)

Phone

realme has officially teased a new sub-brand Narzo, which is reportedly a new smartphone product line for India market, competing with Xiaomi’s POCO and Redmi. Currently realme in India has X series, C series, U series and number series, in which the number series has sub-branches “i”, “s”, and “Pro”. In China, realme has 3 product lines X, Q and X Pro, etc. (Gizmo China, CN Beta, 91Mobiles)

Samsung has temporarily closed all of its physical stores in the U.S. as of 17 Mar 2020. YH Eom, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics America, has confirmed the nationwide closures. (Neowin, Samsung)

According to Loup Ventures’ analyst Gene Munster, the lead times of 4 key Apple products — 64GB iPhone 11, 64GB iPhone 11 Pro, AirPods Pro and the second-generation AirPods — as measured across 13 countries has significantly improved over the past 2 weeks. iPhone availability is now at an average of 2 days, down from a peak of 6.7 days recorded on 4 Mar 2020. AirPods ship times are down to an average of 7.4 days compared to 10.6 days on 4 Mar. (Apple Insider, CN Beta, Loup Ventures)

Xiaomi group’s president Wang Xiang has explained how the company managed to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. He has also stated that Xiaomi’s supply chain has resumed its work at above 80% of its total capacity as of 19 Mar 2020. (GizChina, IT Home)

Samsung Galaxy M21 is announced in India – 6.4” 1080×2340 FHD+ Super AMOLED, Samsung Exynos 9611, rear tri 48MP-8MP ultrawide-5MP depth + front 20MP, 4+64 / 6+128GB, Android 10.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 6000mAh 15W, INR12,999 (USD175). (Samsung, GSM Arena, Android Headlines)

Samsung Galaxy A41 is announced in Japan – 6.1” 1080×2400 FHD+ Super AMOLED, MediaTek Helio P65 MT6768, rear tri 48MP-8MP ultrawide-5MP depth + front 25MP, 4+64GB, Android 10.0, under display fingerprint, 3500mAh 15W, IP68, price not available (est. USD300). (Gizmo China, GSM Arena, Samsung)

Nokia 8.3 5G is announced – 6.81” 1080×2400 FHD+ IPS HiD, Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, rear quad 64MP-12MP ultrawide-2MP macro-2MP depth + front 24MP, 6+64 / 8+128GB, Android 10.0, side fingerprint scanner, 4500mAh 18W, from EUR599. (GSM Arena, HMD Global, Android Authority)

HMD Global has announced 2 mid-to-low Nokia phones: Nokia 5.3 – 6.55” 720×1600 HD+ IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, rear quad 13MP-5MP ultrawide-2MP macro-2MP depth + front 8MP, 3 / 4/ 6+64GB, Android 10.0, rear fingerprint, 4000mAh 10W, from EUR189.  Nokia 1.3 – 5.71” 720×1520 HD+ IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 215, rear 8MP + front 5MP, 1+16GB, Android 10.0 (Go Edition), no fingerprint, 3000mAh, EUR95. (Liliputing, GSM Arena, Android Authority)

PC Tablet

Apple has unveiled new iPad Pro (2020) – 11” 1668×2388 / 12.9” 2048×2732 IPS, Apple A12Z Bionic, rear tri 12MP-10MP ultrawide+3D ToF LiDAR + front 7MP, 128 / 256 / 512GB / 1TB, iPadOS 14, Face ID, 28.65Wh /  36.71Wh 18W,  from USD799 / from USD999. (GSM Arena, Apple Insider, Apple)

iReader is launching its first colour e-ink reader, iReader C6, which is equipped with 6” colour e-ink display that can display 4.096 colours. It is powered by quad-core processor and 16G storage. (My Drivers, IT Home, Sina)

iFlytek has released a color ebook reader. The product uses E Ink’s latest 6” high-resolution printed color electronic ink screen, which can display 4096 colors. Its appearance adopts flat design, shock-proof and anti-fall, and is equipped with 24 reading lights and box speakers. It weighs 150 grams. (My Drivers, JRJ, Inpai, CN Beta)

Wearables

Huawei Watch GT 2e is announced – 1.39” 454×454 AMOLED, HiSilicon Hi1132 processor, 16MB+4GB, sensors include barometers, accelerometers, gyroscopes, motion sensors, pedometers, and so on, can run continuously for 14 days on a single charge. (CN Beta, My Drivers, GizChina)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

According to IDC, the worldwide shipment of AR/VR headsets year-over-year decline of 10.5% is expected in 1Q20 followed by a 24.1% decline in 2Q20. However, assuming production ramps back up by mid-year, IDC believes a rebound in 2H20 will result in total shipments of nearly 7.1M units for 2020, up 23.6% from 2019. Long-term growth will be strong throughout the forecast period with shipments growing to 76.7M units in 2024, resulting in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 81.5%. (IDC, press)

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