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4-9: Sharp showcasing 3.4″ flexible OLED display; Apple might stop “s” model in the future; Premium phone brands selling their flagships in a lower price; Samsung reducing prices to earn market share; etc.

Sharp showcasing 3.4″ flexible OLED display; iPhone contributed 63% of revenue for Apple last year but it might show some slowdown; Apple might stop “s” model in the future; Premium phone brands selling their flagships in a lower price; Samsung reducing prices to earn market share; BlackBerry will have 2 Android phones this year; etc.

 

Chipset

Worldwide semiconductor wafer-level manufacturing equipment revenue totaled USD33.6 billion in 2015, a 1% decline from 2014, according to Gartner. The top 10 vendors accounted for 77% of the market, down slightly from 78% in 2014002E (Digitimes, Gartner, data)

gartner-top-10-revenue-wafer

Display

Sharp has developed a prototype flexible OLED using the company’s IGZO (indium-gallium-zinc oxide) technology. The prototype has a 3.4 inch screen. (CN Beta, Electronics Weekly, ZOL)

sharp-flexible-display-4.3inch

Camera

Etron Technology’s webcam controllers have cut into the supply chain of Oculus for the virtual reality (VR) device vendor’s Rift Constellation tracking system. (Digitimes, China Times)

Battery

Sam D. Molenaar and his colleagues from Wageningen University and Wetsus (The Netherlands) have developed a rechargeable battery driven by bacteria. The researchers successfully charged the battery over a 16-hour period and discharged it over the next 8 hours. (PhysOrg, CN Beta)

bacteria-battery

Smartphones

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners said 11% of U.S. Apple iPhone buyers purchased phones directly from Apple in 2015, down from 16% two years earlier. Over the same period, the share of U.S. iPhones bought at stores and websites operated by wireless carriers rose to 76% from 65%. The remaining phones were purchased from other retailers, such as Best Buy. (CN Beta, NASDAQ, WSJ, TNW)
Considering consumers upgrade cycle for phone is becoming longer, Apple might cut the “s” model, ensuring the new product launch to be only one big upgrade once a year. (CN Beta, 163, Jobs & Hire)

apple-iphone-evolution

China smartphone industry is growing rapidly. Currently, 9 out of global top 12 smartphone vendors are from China, which have occupied 1/3 smartphone market share globally. Now Chin smartphone vendors are using their own leverage to build their own flagship products to compete with Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. (CN Beta, Business Spectator, blog)
Global smartphone shipment growth fell to single digits for the first time in 2016. In an attempt to get ahead of this deceleration, premium smartphone brands are selling their flagship devices at lower costs, hoping that this will incentivize users to buy the latest handset. (Business Insider, press)

businessinsider-global-smartphone-shipments-forecast businessinsider-premium-lower-price

BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk expressed caution over Apple’s upgrade cycle for the existing user base, coupled with the growing competition from Samsung—its chief rival. BTIG forecasts Apple have sold 50 million iPhones in the quarter end with March, which is a 18% decrease from last year same period. (CN Beta, Barron’s, press, Bidnessetc, Seeking Alpha)
After being dethroned as the leading smartphone brand in China, India, and Indonesia, Samsung Electronics is winning back customers by slashing prices. The company’s profit margins are bound to take a hit from dropping its prices. Samsung’s 4Q15 operating profits for its smartphone business plunged 60% compared to the same quarter two years ago. (Phone Arena, WSJ, Seeking Alpha, Tencent, C114)

wsj-rapid-decline-samsung-from-idc

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has confirmed that a couple of new Android devices will be forthcoming, and both will be considerably cheaper than the Priv. (Phone Arena, The National, CNFOL, TechWeb)

Wearables

A little over 3/5 of current Apple Watch owners are planning to upgrade to the next model, even though any features it might have are still nebulous, according to Fluent. It also found that just 8% of 2,578 people said they already own a Watch. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, Fluent, press)
VR Lens Lab, a collaboration between VR Cover and Gauss Eyewear, now offering prescription lenses for VR devices Oculus Rift, HTC Vive. (Kit Guru, Kicstarters, 17173, IT168)

vr-lens-lab-vive

Internet of Things

Alphabet’s subsidy Schaft showcasing a bipedal robot advancements. It can carry as much as 60 kg in weight while walking. (CN Beta, Re/Code, Android Headlines)

alphabet-schaft

BMW teams up with RideCell launching a car-sharing service known as ReachNow. (Ubergizmo, TechCrunch, Tencent)
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