3-27: Qualcomm has announced its next generation of ultra-low-power Bluetooth SoCs; Facebook is reportedly in talks to buy a multi-billion dollar stake in Reliance Industries telecom unit; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm has announced its next generation of ultra-low-power Bluetooth SoCs, supporting Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring technology. Optimized for use in true wireless earbuds and hearables, the QCC514X (premium tier) and QCC304X (entry/mid-tier) SoCs are designed to enable improved robustness and connectivity, increased battery life  and comfort, integrated dedicated hardware for Hybrid Qualcomm  Active Noise Cancellation (Hybrid ANC), Voice Assistant support and premium wireless sound and voice quality. (Gizmo China, The Verge, Qualcomm, My Drivers)

Touch Display

Huawei’s patent shows a smartphone equipped with a circular quad-camera module featuring a touch-sensitive “halo” ring display around it. The touch-enabled ring will allow users to do things like control the volume, accept or reject phone calls, flip pages, and more. (Android Central, LetsGoDigital, CN Beta)

According to Xu Qi, the Vice President and President of Global Marketing of realme, every company’s flagship smartphone model being released in 2020, will feature a high refresh rate display panel. (Gizmo China, Sina, Sohu)

Foldable phone Royole FlexPai 2 is announced, featuring a 3rd generation Cicada Wing (Flexible Foldable Display) that has a smaller crease and bend radius. The new Cicada Wing will have 1.3x better color gamut and 500x better contrast than a high-end LCD. the panel withstood 200,000+ bends without sustaining any damage. The new panel features nearly 100 micro-nano materials to improve the strain recovery and “layer peeling”. (GizChina, Gizmo China, GSM Arena, Royole, Sina, TechNode)

Royole has announced the signed cooperation agreement with ZTE. In the future, ZTE’s 5G terminal products will use the 3rd-generation Cicada Wing folding screen. (TechNode, GSM Arena, GizChina)

Memory

Samsung has announced that it has successfully shipped 1M of the industry’s first 10nm-class (D1x) DDR4 (Double Date Rate 4) DRAM modules based on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology. Samsung expects to begin volume production of D1a-based DDR5 and LPDDR5 in 2021, which would double manufacturing productivity of the 12” D1x wafers. (Engadget, Samsung, CN Beta)

According to TrendForce, TrendForce, the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in considerably weakened shipment for most end products in 1Q20. However, the major NAND Flash suppliers already scaled back their CAPEX for this year, and the total bit output of the NAND Flash industry is expected to grow by only about 30% YoY in 2020, resulting in a 5% QoQ increase in NAND Flash ASP for the 1Q20 period despite the headwinds of the off-season. (DRAMeXchange, Digitimes, press, TrendForce, TrendForce, press)

Material

Apple’s new patent titled “Ceramic Weave for Low-Cost, Structural, Antenna-Permeable Watch Case” proposes using a weave made of ceramic fibers to produce a housing that is strong enough to protect the Watch, but cheaper to produce. (Apple Insider, USPTO, Gizmo China, CN Beta)

Connectivity

Microsoft has announced it is acquiring Affirmed Networks, a startup that offers fully virtualized, cloud-native mobile network solutions, for an undisclosed amount. The company wants to integrate Affirmed Networks’ technology into Microsoft Azure to let the telecommunications industry deploy and maintain 5G networks via the cloud rather than just hardware and software. (VentureBeat, Microsoft, TechCrunch, CN Beta)

Phone

Samsung’s manufacturing experts have assisted E&W, Evergreen, and Lastek to improve on-site manufacturing processes and establish smart factories by setting up new equipment. Samsung has also helped manufacturers speed up their production by creating a mold. The production output is increased from 40,000 masks per day to 100,000. (Android Headlines, Sam Mobile, Samsung)

Huawei has been helping countries around the world affected by the coronavirus outbreak by donating necessary aids for the past few weeks. Huawei donates 800,000 FFP2 masks to the Netherlands. (Gizmo China, Brum Post)

Facebook is reportedly in talks to buy a multi-billion dollar stake in Reliance Industries telecom unit. Facebook is allegedly in talks for a 10% stake in Jio, but the talks are halted due to global travel bans amid the coronavirus outbreak. (TechCrunch, Financial Times, Reuters, Tencent, Sina)

Xiaomi has announced that the launch has been postponed until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak in India. vivo has also announced that it is delaying the launch of the V19 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Android Central, GSM Arena, Twitter)

Affiliates of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics will send a total of 430 engineers to Vietnam in order to support their plants’ operations there, as the Vietnamese government has decided to exempt Korean staff from its two-week quarantine policy. They will be assigned to support the development and manufacture of smartphones, automotive parts and home appliances. (CN Beta, Vietnam Insider, Korea Herald)

vivo has announced that it will donate 1lakh medical masks and 5,000 N95 masks ‘designed to filter airborne particles’ to the government of Maharashtra in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Financial Express, UDN)

After a tight lockdown that is supposed to end on 31 Mar 2020, the Indian government just extended it to 21 more days since 26 Mar, with an announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Due to the sudden disclosure, realme CEO Madhav Sheth has announced that the company has decided to suspend the online-only launch of the Narzo series. (GizChina, GSM Arena)

Xiaomi is granted a new patent license for a mask. The notable thing about this particular mask is that it features a 3 dimensional support skeleton that better fits a wearer’s face. It is thus more ergonomic in terms of use and should theoretically better sit on a user’s face. (Gizmo China, IT Home)

According to Lu Weibing, Xiaomi VP and Redmi GM, its phone market is not affected severely by the recent COVID-19 pandemic and that the competition with Huawei is like a long drawn out war. He has mentioned that the offline stores had been shut in various regions and are seeing longer downtimes, but its online portals are still operating and are actually seeing a rise at the time. (Gizmo China, Sina)

Foxconn and Wistron, the two manufacturers for Apple iPhone in India, have shut down their production facilities to adhere to the Indian government order. (Gizmo China, NDTV, Bloomberg, IT Home)

Samsung Electronics has announced that all of its retail stores in Brazil will be shut down until further notice to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, consumers can purchase the company’s products online. (YNA, GizChina, IT Home)

Samsung has announced that it would temporarily shut down one of its factories in Brazil to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The company is closing its home appliance and smartphone manufacturing facility in Manaus in the northern part of Brazil until end of Mar 2020. (Sam Mobile, Korea Herald)

Redmi K30 Pro 5G series is announced – 6.67” 1080×2400 FHD+ Super AMOLED HDR10+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, rear quad 64MP OIS-13MP ultrawide-5MP macro / 8MP telephoto 3x optical zoom OIS (Zoom version)-2MP depth + front motorized pop-up 20MP, Android 10.0, under display fingerprint, 4700mAh 33W, 6+128 CNY2,999 (USD425) / 8+128 CNY3,399 (USD480) / 8+256 CNY3,699 (USD520);Zoom version 8+128 CNY3,799 (USD535) / 8+256 CNY3,999 (USD565). (GSM Arena, CN Beta)

Huawei P40 series is announced, features HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G, Android 10.0 (HMS): P40 – 6.1” 1080×2340 FHD+ OLED 2x HiD, rear tri 50MP OIS-8MP telephoto 3x optical zoom OIS-16MP ultrawide + front dual 32MP-3D ToF,  8+128GB, 3800mAh 22.5W, EUR799. P40 Pro – 6.58” 1200×2640 QHD+ OLED 2xHiD, rear quad 50MP OIS-12MP periscope 5x optical zoom OIS-40MP ultrawide-3D ToF + front dual 32MP-3D ToF, 8+256GB, 4200mAh 40W, 27W wireless charging, IP68, EUR999. P40 Pro+ – 6.58” 1200×2640 QHD+ OLED 2xHiD, rear peta 50MP OIS-8MP periscope 10x optical zoom OIS-8MP telephoto 3x optical zoom OIS-40MP ultrawide-3D ToF + front dual 32MP-3D ToF, 8+256GB, 4200mAh 40W, 40W wireless charging, IP68, EUR1,399. (GSM Arena, Android Authority, Android Authority, Liliputing)

PC Tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.4 (2020) is announced – 8.4” 1920×1200 WUXGA IPS, Samsung Exynos 7904, rear 8MP + front 5MP, 3+32GB, Android 9.0, Dolby-Atmos dual speakers, LTE optional, 5000mAh, USD279 (WiFi-only). (Gizmo China, Android Authority, Samsung)

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 has a great impact on the Chinese tablet market. The commercial tablet shipments basically stagnate in 1Q20; yet in the consumer market, home office and online classes have led to a huge increase in demand for tablet computers, but the channel’s inadequate forecasting has led to insufficient inventory. The continued shortage of workers has led to insufficient supply of upstream components causing tablet shipments fail to meet the surge in market demand. IDC predicts that China’s tablet market will decline by 30.1% YoY in 1Q20; the rate of decline in 2Q20 shipments will slow down, down 14.1% YoY. (GizChina, GSM Arena, IT Home, IDC, press)

Wearables

Huawei Watch GT2e and GT2 are announced – 1.39” 454×454 AMOLED, HiSilicon Kirin A1, 5ATM water resistance, exercises tracking, SpO2 sensor calculate VO2Max, TruRelax to manage stress with breathing exercise, EUR230 (GT2 42mm) / EUR250 (GT2 46mm) / EUR 200 (GT2e). (Android Central, GSM Arena, Android Authority, CN Beta, Huawei)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Apple is reportedly still working on augmented reality (AR) glasses, with more to be known about their development in the next 1-2 years. Taiwan-based optical component suppliers are engaged in the development of Apple’s augmented reality smart glasses, which may be commercialized by 2022. (Digitimes, Mac Rumors, CN Beta)

Huawei has launched Eyewear smart glasses spring/summer 2020 edition, Smart MY MA 01 and Smart HER 01. They can answer calls and play music with just two taps, supports IP67 waterproof. Huawei Eyewear smart glasses have realized a variety of smart experiences. (CN Beta, Huawei, CN Techpost)

Apple’s patent “Contextual Computer-Generated Reality (CGR) Digital Assistants” notes that the amount of information given in these VR or AR environments could quickly become “overwhelming” to a user. To help counter that, Apple is working on virtual assistants — which appear as computer-generated characters or images — that could outline useful information or help offers tips to a user. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, USPTO)

Home

Huawei, in collaboration with Devialet, is launching Sound X smart speaker, which features 60W dual subwoofer (two 3.5” woofers) and six 1.5” full-range speakers for 360° surround sound. The speaker is equipped with a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, built-in 512MB operational storage and 8GB storage, supports Bluetooth 5.0. (CN Beta, GizChina, Huawei Central, Gizmo China)

Automotive

Lilium, the Munich-based aviation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft for regional air mobility, has announced the completion of an internal funding round worth more than USD240M. (CN Beta, Reuters, Lilium)

Artificial Intelligence

Sony Computer Science Laboratories (Sony CSL) has launched an AI-assisted music production service, FlowMachines. At its core lies Flow Machines Profession (FM Pro), which integrates human creativity and an AI-based recommendation system that proposes melodies, chords, and bass allowing creators to tailor their content according to their taste. (CN Beta, Sony, Neowin)

Huawei has launched a new personal assistant, Celia, for its phones. The assistant will respond to the wake-up phrase “Hey, Celia” and users will be able to bring it up by pressing and holding the power button on their phones for 1s. (Android Authority, CN Beta)

Huawei Cloud, the cloud computing unit of Huawei, and artificial intelligence (AI) company Huiying Medical Technology, are offering AI-enabled auxiliary diagnostic systems to hospitals in Ecuador. In Philippines, Huawei is proposing the use of its Huawei Cloud AI-assisted diagnosis for COVID-19, a system that Huawei says uses AI to speed up the process of evaluating computed tomgography (CT) images. (Gizmo China, China Daily, Rappler)

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