4-2 #ThinkofSmile: T-Mobile US has announced that it has officially completed its merger with Sprint to create the New T-Mobile; Xiaomi and OPPO has increased prices in India due to the increase of tax; etc.

Chipsets

TSMC is “on track” to begin volume production of 5nm chips in Apr 2020, despite “recent speculation” indicating that the foundry has been requested by Apple to defer production of A14 by 1~2 quarters, according to DigiTimes. (Digitimes, Mac Rumors, Kit Guru, EXP Review)

MagnaChip Semiconductor has announced that certain of its wholly-owned subsidiaries have entered into a definitive agreement to sell the company’s Foundry Services Group and the factory in Cheongju (Fab 4), the larger of its two 8” manufacturing facilities, to a special purpose company (SPC) in South Korea established by Alchemist Capital Partners Korea and Credian Partners. Under the terms of the Agreement, the total transaction value is approximately USD435M. (Digitimes, press, EE Times, Sina)

Qualcomm will allegedly release Snapdragon 865+ mobile platform, using TSMC’s 7nm process, and it is said that Samsung Galaxy Note 20 will be equipped with this platform. The processor on the Note 20 is identified as Kona v2.1 (Snapdragon 865 is Kona v2), and it features 4 small cores 1.8Ghz, 3 large cores 2.4GHz, and 1 super large core 3.1GHz. (CN Beta, Telecom Talk)

Touch Display

A Microsoft patent describes a new Microsoft device features two separate screens brought together with a single hinge mechanism in the middle. Apart from the twin primary displays, the patent also reveals a much smaller third display which looks like a status bar on the edge of the device. (Gizmo China, IT Home)

Memory

Micron has revealed that it is about to start volume production of its 4th Generation 3D NAND memory devices. Based around the company’s new replacement gate (RG) architecture, the memory manufacturer is gearing up to begin production in 3Q20, with commercial shipments set to begin in 4Q20.  (Micron, AnandTech, CN Beta)

Connectivity

Up to Feb 2020, vivo has applied for more than 2,000 5G invention patents, submitted more than 3,500 5G proposals to 3GPP, and 5G influence ranks among the top 10 in 3GPP. vivo’s VPand President of the Chinese market, Liu Hong, has revealed that starting in mid-Mar 2020, the daily production capacity of vivo’s 5G mobile phones could exceed 100K units. He has also predicted that the price of 5G mobile phones is expected to drop to about CNY1,500 by 4Q20 or by the end of 2020. (My Drivers, Laoyaoba)

T-Mobile US has announced that it has officially completed its merger with Sprint to create the New T-Mobile. With the companies combined, John Legere is also stepping down as CEO of T-Mobile. T-Mobile is now being led by Mike Sievert, who is previously the company’s COO. (CN Beta, T-Mobile, The Verge)

Phone

Xiaomi India has announced that due to the impact of the increase in Indian tax and the depreciation of the rupee, Indian mobile phone prices will increase from 1 Apr 2020. Xiaomi has said that starting from 1 Apr, the tax of the Indian smartphone industry has increased from 12% to 18%, and the tax on a mobile phone has increased by 50%. Additionally, the exchange rate of the INR to the USD has also fallen sharply. As the Xiaomi’s hardware profit is less than 5%, the company is forced to increase the prices. (My Drivers, CN Beta, Twitter)

Xiaomi Global VP and India MD Manu Kumar Jain has announced that the company will Xiaomi will donate INR10 crores to the honorable PM’s relief funds and CM’s relief funds across various states. The company has partnered with Give India on Mi.com to raise INR1 crore to make available hygiene kits for 20,000 families who do not have access to soaps, sanitizers and masks. (India Times, First Post, The Hindu)

Xiaomi has revealed that the gross profit margin from the smartphone business, its biggest revenue source, has increased from 6.1% in 4Q18 to 7.8% in 4Q19. The company’s Android-based MIUI operating system now has 309.6M monthly active users, up from 292M in Sept 2019. Of the 309.6M MIUI users, 109M live in mainland China. (TechCrunch, CN Beta)

OPPO has increased the pricing of its smartphones in India due to the impact of the increase in Indian tax. It has started notifying dealers and partners across the country about its plan to increase pricing. (Twitter, Gizmo China)

TCO Development, the group behind the global sustainability certification, has announced a new initiative to help with our growing e-waste problem. has added a new criterion to its TCO Certified Edge certification called E-waste Compensated. This will essentially ensure that for each certified smartphone, tablet or notebook manufactured, an equivalent amount of e-waste is collected in a country that lacks safe recycling facilities. The collected e-waste is then transported to a recycling plant that meets strict environmental criteria. (CN Beta, Csion, New Atlas, TCO Development)

YouTube is reportedly planning Shorts, as a rival to TikTok, as a feature inside its existing app by end of 2020. Shorts will include a feed of brief videos posted by users inside the Google-owned app and will take advantage of the video service’s catalog of licensed music, songs from which will be available to use as soundtracks for the videos created by users. (Neowin, The Information, CN Beta)

Sony has announced the establishment of the “Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19”, a USD100M fund to support those around the world affected by the COVID-19 virus. (CN Beta, Sony, Music Business World Wide)

vivo S6 5G is announced – 6.44” 1080×2400 FHD+ AMOLED, Samsung Exynos 980, rear quad 48MP-8MP ultrawide-2MP macro-2MP depth + front 32MP, 8+128 / 8+256GB, Android 10.0, under display fingerprint, 4500mAh 18W, CNY2,698 (USD381) / CNY2,998 (USD423). (GSM Arena, Gizmo China)

Wearables

Samsung‘s new AKG N400 true wireless earbuds bring active noise cancellation and IPX7 water resistance. The earbuds are claimed to provide up to 6 hours of playtime, while the charging case can get you additional 6 hours. It is priced at KRW230K (USD189). (The Verge, Android Central, EXP Review, IT Home)

Fitbit Charge 4 is announced, featuring 24/7 heart rate tracking, all-day calorie burn, guided breathing sessions, female health monitoring automatic exercise tracking and in-depth sleep monitoring. It also introduces  “Active Zone Minutes” aiming to provide a more accurate and complete look at the way activities get user’s heart pumping. Its starting price is USD150. (Phone Arena, Android Headlines, Fitbit)

Sony has announced WF-XB700 truly wireless earbuds at USD130, which features Sony’s signature “Extra Bass” technology for punchier sound output. It lasts for up to 9 hours on a single charge, with the battery case for another 9 hours for 18 total. It is IPX4 water and sweat resistance. (Engadget, The Verge, Sony)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

An augmented reality (AR) startup named Dent Reality has announced a new partnership with Apple Maps that could have wide-ranging implications for Apple, the Apple Indoor Maps program, and AR programs as a whole. (Apple Insider, Mac Observer)

Strivr, the company behind a virtual reality (VR) platform that companies use to train employees, has raised USD30M in a series B round of funding. Strivr has developed software that enables immersive training in the workforce, meshing VR with learning theory, data science, and spatial design. (TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Yivian)

Snapchat’s latest set of lenses come with a timely reminder of the importance of social distancing. The app introduced two new lenses, created in collaboration with the World Health Organization, that use augmented reality to serve users with tips on how to stay healthy. (Engadget, Yahoo)

Roto VR, startup which markets an interactive, ‘360 degree’ chair, has raised GBP1.5M in a funding round led by Pembroke VCT. Roto VR is an interactive chair that addresses the physical problems of consuming VR whilst seated, such as motion sickness and tangling cables, whilst also enhancing the immersive experience with haptic / vibration feedback in the chair. (TechCrunch, VR Focus, Road to VR)

Artificial Intelligence

Immunotherapy startup ImmunityBio is working with Microsoft Azure to deliver a combined 24 petaflops of GPU computing capability for the purposes of modelling, in a very high degree of detail, the structure of the so-called “spike protein” that allows the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 to enter human cells. (ImmunityBio, CN Beta, TechCrunch, Fierce Biotech)

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