01-18: FTC accuses Qualcomm of forcing Apple into an exclusive deal to buy its baseband chips; Toshiba is reportedly considering a plan to spin off its chip business


Qualcomm announced an investment of USD8.5M into its ongoing research and development programs in India. It will expand the scope and scale of its existing Innovation Lab in Bangalore, and will also build a new one in Hyderabad. (Android Headlines, Yahoo)

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission launched a lawsuit against Qualcomm, accusing the company of forcing Apple into an exclusive deal to buy its baseband chips. When Apple sought to lower the patent royalties it was paying Qualcomm, the latter firm made that conditional on Apple buying Qualcomm chips exclusively between 2011 and 2016, according to an FTC filing. Qualcomm has denied any wrongdoing. (Recode, Reuters, NY Times, Apple Insider, Bloomberg, FTC, Business Insider, Kejixun, CN Beta)

Touch / Display

LG has filed another patent for a foldable phone, which folds on the vertical side. So when device is open, a tablet-looking device in Landscape mode appears. The device will be with touchscreen display on the front and back while the middle/bending side could be used as a music controller or notification bar. (GSM Arena, Android Forums, CNMO)


Director of IDC China brand Antonio Wang Jiping indicates that in 2017 there would be at least 2 vendors or Chinese vendors launching foldable phones. The data also shows that 5”~5.5” smartphone shipment will increase drastically in 2017. (Laoyaoba, IT Home, EE World)

Solomon Systech, a leading semiconductor company specializing in the design, development and sales of proprietary display IC products and system solutions, announce that a member of its PMOLED display Driver IC family, SSD1306, has set a new company shipment record by achieving cumulative shipments of 200M units (2008 – 2016). This is also believed to have set a remarkable record in the OLED display driver sector. (Laoyaoba, 4-Traders)

Xiaomi recently has received a patent for a brand new handset that seems to sport a flexible / wraparound display of sorts. The handset is all screen with the panel covering up the front side and continuing down the edges, plus the back area. (Laoyaoba, CECB2B, GSM Dome)



Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering has developed a flat camera with 2mm thick and it has 135 tiny lenses. Called the facetVISION, the camera takes its inspiration from insects’ multi-faceted compound eyes. In its present form, the camera has a maximum resolution of just 4MP. (CN Beta, New Atlas, Electronics News)


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has created the world’s first hyperspectral mobile device by converting an Apple iPhone camera into a new kind of optical sensor. This will bring the new possibilities of low-cost spectral imaging to consumer applications. Consumers will be able to use their mobile phones for example to sense food quality or monitor health. (Laoyaoba, Phys, Optics)

High-resolution automotive panels and handsets with dual-lens camera modules will spur demand for CMOS image sensors, particularly high-end ones, according to Digitimes. More mid-range smartphones are expected to feature a dual lens setup in 2017. Growth of the global dual-lens smartphone market will play a key driver of CMOS image sensor demand during the year. (Digitimes, press)


Toshiba is reportedly considering a plan to spin off its chip business and sell a partial stake in the unit to Western Digital. It is offering a roughly 20% interest for JPY200-300B while retaining a majority stake. The new chip business company will be created as early as 1H17. (Asia Nikkei, EE Times, Laoyaoba)


Hong Kong-based MiQi could determine a user’s personality based on her unique fingerprint pattern. Their study and research claims that everyone’s fingerprints are unique, which reflect brain development when a person is in embryo. The readings of fingerprints are scientific, it is part of neurology, genetics and statistics. (TechNews, Sohu, MiQi)


Synaptics Incorporated announced that its Natural ID biometric fingerprint authentication solution, the VFS7500S, has become the industry’s first fingerprint sensor fully certified through the Banking Card Test Center (BCTC). Assigned by China UnionPay  (CUP) and other key banks, the BCTC is an independent third-party test service provider that performs and manages fingerprint sensor certification testing. (EE Trend, Find Biometrics, Biometric Update, Synaptics)


Developed by students at KTH Royal Institute of Technology founded a startup H&E Solutions in Stockholm, the s0-called EVAM System involves a radio transmission from the emergency vehicle to nearby FM tuners that are equipped with Radio Data System (RDS). The signal is sent over the FM band along with the transmission of a text message that appears in the tuner display. (Ubergizmo, Phys, 163)

AT&T has officially turned off its 2G wireless network from 1 Jan 2017 after announcing plans to do so in 2012. The company said that it plans to repurpose the 2G spectrum into its LTE network. (CN Beta, PC Mag, Digital Trends, AT&T)


Lenovo took over Motorola Mobility in 2014 and it was the biggest smartphone deal back then. Lenovo paid USD2.91B to Google for it but let Google keep most of the patent portfolio. Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing revealed that turning Motorola around was a harder task than they initially thought, “we underestimated the differences of the culture and business model.” (GSM Arena, WSJ, article, My Drivers)


Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty lowers FY 2017 Apple iPhone revenue estimates by 3% factoring weaker demand for back half of current cycle as purchasers anticipate new devices ahead of coming “supercycle”.  For Dec. 2016 and Mar. 2017 quarters, models 75M (from 79M) and 51M (from 55M) iPhones, respectively. FY 2018 (Oct. 2017~Sept. 2018) units projected at 253M, ASP increase at 6%. (Phone Arena, Seeking Alpha, Investors, Money Link, TechNews, East Money)


Downloads, revenue, and time spent in apps all grew by double digits during 2016, according to market researcher App Annie. Time spent in apps grew more than 20% to nearly 900B hours in 2016. Worldwide, downloads increased 15% by more than 13B across both iOS and Google Play. Apps generated USD127B in revenues overall, as platform owners take about 30% of the revenue. (Android Authority, CN Beta, VentureBeat, App Annie report)


The combined smartphone shipments by three major Chinese companies surged Jan.~Nov. 2016 from the year before, surpassing Apple’s shipments. Data by Strategy Analytics showed that Huawei, OPPO and vivo shipped a total of 255.4M phones, more than Apple’s 186.8M but lower than Samsung’s 280.7M. (The Investor, Laoyaoba, Elecfans, EE World)


Google initially debuted the Android One platform to cater to the smartphone needs of developing nations, back in 2014. This was designed to enable phone makers to manufacture low-cost Android devices that receive stock updates directly from Google. Google reportedly plans to bring the experiment to the United States. (Laoyaoba, Android Police, Tech Portal, Android Beat, The Information)


Qihoo 360 mobile phone division new executive Li Kaixin indicates that from what they understand, component prices will continue to raise in 2018. There is pressure throughout the whole supply chain, and the gross margin is very low. Upstream suppliers, other than those monopoly components, e.g. Qualcomm’s chipsets, Samsung’s memory and display, majority suppliers have to face tremendous pressure. (Laoyaoba, EE World, CECB2B)

LG Aristo is launched with MetroPCS – 5” HD in-cell touch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 7.0, 2410mAh battery. (Android Authority, LG)


LG X300 unveiled in Korea – 5” HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 7.0, 2500mAh battery, KRW253,000. (Android Authority, VG Today, GizBot)


Samsung unveils Galaxy C9 Pro in India – 6” FHD Super AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, 16MP + 16MP cameras, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 6.0, USB Type-C, 4000mAh battery, INR36900. (Android Police, India.com, Samsung)


Tablets / PCs

Apple’s MacBook shipments are expected to grow 10% on year to reach 15M units in 2017 due to new MacBook Pro products. Related supply chain players including Quanta Computer, Shin Zu Shing (SZS), Auras and Wistron are expected to benefit from increased orders, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, TechWeb, 163)


Google has teamed up with LG in a Nexus-style partnership to produce the first devices powered by Android Wear 2.0: the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. (Android Authority, VentureBeat, Qudong)

Slice Intelligence data – which relies on analyzing the email receipts of its 4.2M-strong panel – only records online sales. NPD data, in contrast, also captures bricks-and-mortar sales. According to NPD, Apple had a 2% share (unit sales) and 3% share (dollar sales). (CN Beta, CNET, iDownloadBlog, Motley Fool, 9to5Mac)


Facbeook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying in court in an ongoing lawsuit filed against Oculus, the VR company Facebook purchased for USD2.3B. ZeniMax Media claims that Oculus CTO John Carmack took its intellectual property when he left the company in 2013. (CN Beta, NY Times, Washington Post, Engadget)

Facebook CEO Mark Zukerberg indicates that the company is planning to invest USD3B in virtual reality in the next decade in an effort to improve the technology. (Digital Trends, NY Times, Sina)

Internet of Things

Moodo is a diffusion machine that will blow air through up to 4 aromatic capsules at a time, each one full of differently-scented crystals. The capsules will come in various scents, like “Precious Spices,” “Eucalyptus Nights,” and “Sandalwood.” A companion app can be used to blend each of the scents to create a unique smell. (Digital Trends, The Next Web, Technobob, 160)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *