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3-23: Samsung and Huawei is ruled by UK infringed a 2G patent; Hon Hai is considering cutting the price to acquire Sharp; Samsung is rumored to launch foldable phone in 2H16; SGD and LGD to speed up development of OLED for VR displays; etc.

Samsung and Huawei is ruled by UK infringed a 2G patent; Apple iPhone SE is expected to ship 14 million units this year; Apple iPhone SE and 9.7″ iPad Pro to use 2GB RAM; Apple not yet considering acquiring Imagination Technologies; Hon Hai is considering cutting the price to acquire Sharp; Samsung is rumored to launch foldable phone in 2H16; SGD and LGD to speed up development of OLED for VR displays; etc.

Chipsets
Apple is reportedly in “advanced talks” to acquire British chip design company Imagination Technologies, and Apple confirms it has no plan to make an offer yet. (CN Beta, Forbes, Ars Technica)
TSMC is likely to revise upward its capex for 2016 as equipment purchases thus far this year have been made in advance. It has purchased a batch of facility equipment from Cica-Huntek Chemical Technology Taiwan and Marketech International for a total of about NTD1.32 billion (USD40.7 million). (Digitimes, Digitimes, Laoyaoba, CSIA)
Brigham Young University reports that DNA might help accomplish the goal of making faster, cheaper computer chips (by cutting production costs or by shrinking component sizes) when it is formed into specific shapes through a process reminiscent of the ancient art of paper folding. (CN Beta, Financial Express)

dna-processor

Display

HSBC analysts are predicting that Samsung may be gearing up to launch its first foldable smartphone in 2H16. Samsung’s recent patent filing suggests that Project Valley will take the form of a hinged device with a wide flexible OLED screen that allows it to close like a book. (CN Beta, Desiblitz, Forbes)

samsung-flexible-phone

Samsung has unveiled a new “Smart Windshield” prototype for motorcycles, with a view to improve safety for riders. The windshield sits above the dashboard on the motorcycle, and surfaces notifications – like calls and texts – all viewable at a glance. (Slash Gear, Trusted Reviews, CN Beta)

samsung-smart-shield

Samsung Display and LG Display are moving fast for the development of better VR displays. They have already secured relevant technologies, and are considering investment in setting up exclusive OLED production lines. (OLED-Info, Business Korea, FPDisplay)
Hon Hai Precision Industry is considering cutting the price it will pay for its takeover of Sharp by JPY100 billion to JPY200 billion from the 489 billion yen initially proposed. (TechNews, 163, DoNews, Japan Times, 4-Traders)

Memory

According to AnTuTu, Apple iPhone SE features 4” 1136×640 Retina Display, A9+M9 processors, 2GB RAM, 12MP+1.2MP cameras, and running Apple iOS 9.3. (CN Beta, NDTV, VR-Zone)

antutu-iphone-se-2gb-ram

Apple 9.7” iPad Pro to feature 2GB RAM, half that of 12.9” model. (Apple Insider, Ubergizmo, My Drivers, Sina)

apple-9.7-ipad-pro-2gb-ram

Biometrics

Apple iPhone SE to feature the first-generation Touch ID sensor from the iPhone 5s. (Phone Arena, Mac World, YeSky, DoNews)
China-based smartphone vendors have been mostly inclined to adopt fingerprint recognition for their mid-range and high-end models and consequently they will ship an estimated 200-300 million smartphones featuring fingerprint-recognizing functions in 2016. Quotes for a film-coated fingerprint-recognizing module and a glass-cover model stand at USD3.5-4.0 and USD5.0 respectively at present (Digitimes, press, CNMO)
Truly Opto-electronics ships 1.5-2.0 million fingerprint-recognizing modules a month currently, consisting of 1.3 million glass-cover modules and 200,000-700,000 film-coated units, and expects to increase monthly shipments to 3.5 million units in 2Q16 and further to 5.0-7.0 million units in 2H16. (Digitimes, press, CNMO)

Sensors

CSLA analyst Skye Chen predicts “haptic” VR, the ability to touch things and feel kinesthetic and other sensations with one’s skin and muscles, is the next big thing, and that it’s “just around the corner”. HTC, TSMC, and Alps Electric (Japanese maker of actuators and switches for Apple iPhone) are going to benefit from this. HTC could surprise investors and ship 320,000 and 650,000 HMDs in 2016 and 2017, accounting for 7% and 12% of company revenue. (Barron’s, press, TechNews)

csla-haptic-vr

Connectivity

Apple new 9.7” iPad Pro ships with an Apple SIM embedded directly into the logic board. (Apple Insider, 163)

apple-sim-ipad-pro

The United Kingdom High Court ruled that Samsung and Huawei infringed a patent on 2G wireless technology held by licensing company Unwired Planet. (Proactive Investors, Law 360, CN Beta)

Smartphones

Nearly a decade after Apple iPhone broke the mold for mobile phones the question being asked is whether the evolution of the smartphone has finally come to an end. Industry experts believe innovation in smartphones is giving way to phone functions popping up as software or services in all manner of new devices than remaining with handheld devices. (CN Beta, Reuters, Yahoo, First Post)
UBS estimate smartphone makers will generate more than USD323 billion in revenue this year, a 1.4% decline from last year. (Reuters, Yahoo)
According to JP Morgan’s Rod Hall, the USD400-450 category accounted for 43 million units of sales in 2015 at an ASP of USD426. By definition, Apple had almost zero share in this price range given they did not, up until now, sell a phone there. Assuming Apple iPhone SE can pretty easily take 40% of the USD400-450 market then it arrives at potential for 17 million incremental iPhone units in 2016. At an ASP of USD399 this equates to USD6.9 billion of additional revenue. (Barron’s, press, Apple Insider)
Sources from Taiwan supply chain, Apple iPhone SE orders this year would not exceed 15 million. Considering 150,000 units per month, this year shipment around 14 million. (CN Beta)
Apple iPhone SE lacks attracting features, thus Apple’s main suppliers including HonHai, Pegatron, F-ZhenDing all suffered from declining in stocks after the announcement, only Largan Precision enjoys some increase. Current market expectation is that this year iPhone SE is going to be shipped 10-16 million units. (Laoyaoba, 52RD, EEPW)

apple-iphone-se-supply-chain

Apple iPhone 5s is no longer listed on Apple’s website, which somehow indicates it has stop production. (CN Beta, Ubergizmo, Phone Arena)

apple-iphone-5s-not-for-sale

OPPO is setting up a plant in Noida, India, with plans to produce 1 million 4G-enabled smartphones monthly, and aiming at INR10,000-20,000 segment. (Android Central, Economic Times)
The increasing shipment volumes and focus on mid-range to high-end attracts makers in the supply chain to further cement business ties with the OPPO and vivo. Both combined expects to ship 120 million smartphones in 2016. (Digitimes, press, 52RD)
TrendForce believes that the stock up of Chinese branded smartphones started to pick up in the middle of February, as the inventory adjustment period came to an end. mobile carriers in China have increased their subsidies for high-end 4G smartphones to boost both the market penetration of 4G technology and consumer purchases. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, TechNews)

trendfore-china-vendors-yoy-growth-2016

Internet of Things

The father of SoftBank Group’s Pepper humanoid robot, Kaname Hayashi has formed a company that aims to bring a so-called companion robot to market in 2019. Groove X aims to develop a robot that keeps people company and helps improve their mood. (CN Beta, Reuters, Nikkei)

pepper-linyao

Google has not given up on robots, but has apparently made up its mind to be more realistic regarding what can be achieved. (CN Beta, NH Voice, MIT)
Xiaomi launches temperature and humidity sensor, which could freely stick on wall or furniture. Users could check the indoor temperature and humidity, with 0.3ºC temperature precision and 3% relative humidity precision. It can also interactive with other smart appliances in the house. (CN Beta, 163)

xiaomi-humidity-sensor

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