4-4 #QingMing : Google will reportedly launch a custom smartphone chip in this fall; SMIC may increase costs of its wafer for 15-30%; realme may increase the price of its smartphone in 2H21; etc.

Google will reportedly launch a custom smartphone chip in fall 2021, presumably with the Pixel 6. Google is reportedly developing “Whitechapel” in coordination with Samsung Semiconductor’s system-large scale integration (SLSI) division. (Engadget, 9to5Google, The Verge, XDA-Developers)

Iluvatar Corex has announced that its Big Island General Purpose Graphics Processor (GPGPU) has entered mass production. The development of the new GPGPU started back in 2018, but it is not until Jan 2021 when the Chinese company announced that a new compute accelerator is in development. Just 3 months later, the company officially announced that it has entered mass production using TSMC’s 7nm process node. (CN Beta, My Drivers, VideoCardz)

SMIC has allegedly informed its customers via email that SMIC’s foundry prices will be adjusted across the board from 1 Apr 2021. The order remains at the original price, and orders that have been placed but not online will be executed at the new value regardless of the order time and payment ratio. SMIC has already started to increase prices in March this year, and the price increase range varies from customer to customer, and the 8” and 12” orders have different increases. On the whole, this round of cost raises is about 15%-30%. (CN Beta, RPRNA, IT Home)

CSOT, a panel unit of Chinese home appliance maker TCL, acquired Samsung Display’s Suzhou LCD plant for USD1.8B in Aug 2020. CSOT signed a deal with Samsung Display to acquire 60% of the Suzhou. The remaining 10% will be owned by the parent company, TCL Technology, and 30% by the Suzhou city government. The sale of the Suzhou LCD factory is finally completed on 1 Apr 2021. (CN Beta, Sina, Korea Herald)

A fire was reported in the afternoon of 1 Apr 2021 at manufacturer of lithium battery modules Simplo’s factory in Hukou. Simplo has emphasized that the scope of the fire accident is small and has no significant impact on the company’s financial business. (Laoyaoba, UDN, Sohu)

Indonesia’s state-owned enterprises minister Erick Thohir has revealed that a Chinese consortium would invest USD5B in an electric batteries venture, which would include China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL). CATL would invest USD5B in a lithium battery plant in Indonesia and would start production in 2024. (Laoyaoba, India Times, Reuters)

According to Strategy Analytics, the global market for smartphone battery cells reached a total revenue of USD7.5B in 2020. The market was led by Amperex Technology Ltd (ATL), capturing 42% revenue share followed by LG Energy and Samsung SDI in 2020. The top-three vendors captured almost 83% revenue share in the global smartphone battery market in 2020. (Laoyaoba, Telecom Lead, Business Wire)

 

Samsung has developed a new 5G wideband radio technology that expands bandwidth support for its next-generation radios, including Massive MIMO radios, to help operators drive more flexible and cost-effective 5G deployments. With this new technology, Samsung will extend the bandwidth support of its 5G radios to 400MHz—double the 200MHz supported by its current commercial radios. (Android Headlines, Samsung)

The number of devices (PCs (laptops and deskbased), tablets and mobile phones) in use globally will total 6.2B units in 2021, according to Gartner. In 2021, 125M more laptops and tablets are expected to be in use than in 2020. In 2022, global devices installed base is on pace to reach 6.4B units, up 3.2% from 2021. (CN Beta, Neowin, Gartner)

According to Sensor Tower, the average amount spent in apps per active Apple iPhone in the United States grew to USD138 in 2020, an increase of 38% YoY. This includes spending on in-app purchases and premium apps, but excludes commerce apps such as Amazon, rideshare services like Uber, or other apps where purchases are not directly processed by the App Store. (CN Beta, SensorTower)

realme CMO and Vice President, Xu Qi, has revealed that the company aims to reach 20M smartphone shipments in 2021 in China. It is previously estimated by the company that it would reach 10M units in shipments in China. (Gizmo China, Huanqiu, IT Home, China News)

Xu Qi, VP of realme and President of realme China as well as the President of Global Market for the company, has indicated that the pricing of the smartphones could fluctuate in 2H21. This is mainly attributed to the global shortage of raw materials, including chipsets and batteries. He adds that the pricing will be determined by the overall supply and demand relationship and is likely to increased going by the current scenario. (Gizmo China, Sohu, Sina)

Due to the pandemic, interpersonal contact has decreased and the demand for online shopping has greatly increased. The operation of phone stores in South Korea has been deteriorating. Under the pressure of survival, some physical phone stores have been upgraded. In the self-purchasing phone area, consumers can check the model by themselves, choose the phone colours, capacity, instalment period and monthly tariff package. (CN Beta, Sina)

Casio announces first Wear OS smartwatch in iconic G-Shock lineup, G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000, priced at USD699. It is a fitness-focused wearable designed for everything from surfing to snowboarding. There is an optical heart rate sensor, and Casio’s built-in software supports 15 activities and 24 indoor workout options. The watch supports GPS and has a built-in compass, altitude sensor, accelerometer, and gyrometer. (Engadget, Android Headlines, The Verge)

A recent fire at a Japanese semiconductor factory and severe weather in parts of the United States in Feb 2021 have exacerbated an ongoing chip shortage plaguing the global auto industry, according to IHS Markit. The firm now expects disruptions to the production of nearly 1.3M global light vehicles, up from a prior forecast of 1M in 1Q21. Global automotive production figures in the 1Q21 are expected to expand 12% compared to 2020, according to a forecast by IHS. The firm also expects stabilization of supply may not emerge until 4Q21. (CN Beta, Bloomberg, Reuters)

Baidu CEO and Co-founder Robin Li when asked if the new energy market is oversaturated, he has said that he has underestimated the investment in autonomous driving research and development. Baidu has invested CNY20B in building cars in 2020. Li has also stated that the commercialization of Apollo, an open platform for autonomous driving, “has begun and is growing rapidly”, and will continue to invest heavily in autonomous driving technology in the next 10-20 years. (My Drivers, CN Beta, Bloomberg)

Mastercard will invest USD100M in Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations valuing the business at USD2.65B. Both companies have “extended commercial agreements and signed a new commercial framework which will deepen their partnerships across numerous geographies and areas including card issuance, payment gateway, payment processing, merchant acceptance and remittance solutions, amongst others”. (Reuters, TechCrunch)

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