01-19: Samsung heir and acting chief Lee Jae-yong will not be arrested; Taiwan-based IC design houses are looking to expand revenues generated from the automotive sector in 2017; etc.


Taiwan-based IC design houses including Generalplus, Himax, Macroblock, MediaTek, Novatek, Nuvoton, Pixart Imaging, Sunplus and Weltrend Semiconductor are looking to expand revenues generated from the automotive sector in 2017 with the aftermarket being their initial target, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, CECB2B)

Worldwide semiconductor revenue totaled USD339.7B in 2016, a 1.5% increase from 2015 revenue of USD334.8B, according to Gartner. The top 25 semiconductor vendors’ combined revenue increased by 7.9% compared with 2015, and accounted for 75.9% of the market. (Gartner, press)


Qualcomm and MediaTek are expected to compete fiercely for chipset solution orders from EMS supplier Foxconn Electronics which has turned itself into a handset vendor recently, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press)


Touch / Display

Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri sees a “feature-rich launch” of 3 new iPhone models in late 2017, headlined by what he refers to as an “iPhone X”. In addition to the 5.8” OLED model with a “wraparound” screen design, he also believes Apple will release new 4.7” and 5.5” iPhones. FaceTime camera and Touch ID fingerprint sensor —will be embedded into the OLED display, allowing for a seamless edge-to-edge front panel. (Apple Insider, CN Beta)

Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Mehdi Hosseini says that his supply chain sources say production of the OLED screen version of Apple’s “iPhone 8” will not get going until Sept 2017. He indicates that Apple will build and ship 110~120M iPhone 8 units in the 2H17, of which about 70% will have a 5.1” OLED display. (Laoyaoba, Investors, UDN)

A patent application submitted to the Korean Intellectual Property Office by the Seoul, Samsung describes a phone case with an E Ink display. It features cutout slots and transparent front panels that allow users to view content like notifications, dates and times, and other content, the patent describes a case equipped with a secondary display. (Android Headlines, Yahoo, Mobile Syrup, 163)


Japan Display Inc. (JDI) is the exclusive supplier of touch-screen panels for Nintendo’s new Switch videogame console. The first order would be 3M pieces of panels, and by end of 2017 JDI plans to ship more than 10M panels to Nintendo. (Laoyaoba, TechNews, WSJ, Perfectly Nintendo)

Subsidy of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, Nippon Steel & Smikin Chemical (NSCC) reportedly expands the production of material for OLED panel, planning to expand its factory in Fukuoka. The aim is to increase the production of OLED material to 3-fold. (FPDisplay, China FPD)

Huawei consumer business revenue sets 2017 revenue target at USD33B (a 28% increased from last year). This move will drives the growth of smartphone panels shipment from AUO, Innolux, Hannstar and CPT in 2017, helping these companies with their panel revenues. (Laoyaoba, 51Touch, FPDisplay)


SK Hynix will reportedly complete the construction of its new 18nm DRAM production line in its Icheon M14 DRAM facility in Feb 2017. Once the production line starts to work at full capacity, the Icheon M14 DRAM facility will have a monthly production capacity of 80K 12” wafers. (iTer News)


Tesla will make electric motors for its new Model 3 sedan at its massive USD5B factory in Nevada, Gov. Brian Sandoval said, as the automaker prepares to start producing the mass market vehicle later 2017. Tesla will invest an additional USD350M to outfit its storied, so-called gigafactory with production lines to make the electric motors and gearbox components. (CN Beta, Silicon Beat, Fortune)


Ofcom fines EE GBP2.7M for overcharging more than 30,000 customers for calling its “150” service line. These subscribers had calling while roaming in the EU — the problem is they were charged GBP1.20 per minute, rather than EE’s promised GBP0.19 per minute rate. (Engadget, Ofcom)


Samsung has adopted thermal-pipe heat dissipation solutions for its Galaxy S8 launch in March 2017, with thermal pipes to be produced by Taiwan-based Auras Technology and Chaun Choung Technology (CCI). LG will use heat-pipes supplied by Japan-based Furukawa Electric and Taiwan-based Delta Electronics in its upcoming G6, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, EE Focus)


Samsung heir and acting chief Lee Jae-yong will not be arrested as part of a sweeping inquest into the alleged indiscretions of impeached South Korean president Park Geun-hye, some of which include accepting corporate bribes in exchange for political favor. (Android Headlines, Apple Insider, iFeng)

Huawei has reportedly pressed charges against 6 executives (product designers to be more specific) in the consumer business division for allegedly leaking sensitive internal information to LeEco, Coolpad officials. Huawei device business unit indicates the incident does not involve LeEco and Coolpad, and the involved personnel are not really executives. This incident is just about patent infringement. (GizChina, CN Beta, Sohu)

Foxconn reportedly started considering the possibility of an early-production facility in Shenzhen near Apple’s, when CEO Tim Cook visited the area in Oct. 2016. Foxconn aims to better help Apple create prototypes of new products in this new campus. (Apple Insider, Asia Nikkei, GizChina, CN Beta)

The US president-elect Donald Trump said that he spoke with Apple CEO Tim Cook recently and that he has “eyes open” to the idea of moving iPhone production to the United States. (CN Beta, Axios, Ubergizmo)


Plus One Marketing, a Japan-based vendor of inexpensive smartphones for sale under the own brand Freetel, estimates global sales of 4M smartphones, consisting of 1M units in Japan and 3M units in overseas markets, in fiscal year 2016 (Apr 2016~Mar 2017). In order to control production cost and yield rates, Plus One develops smartphones on its own and outsources production to China-based makers. (Asia Nikkei, Digitimes, press)

Mozilla revamped its “brand identity”: a new logo, font, color palette, language architecture, and imagery. This is the first time the company, first founded in February 1998, has done such thorough brand refresh. (VentureBeat, Mozilla, 163)


Currently vivo has a number of R&D centers including 5G R&D in Beijing, photography-focused in Hangzhou and San Diego, etc., mainly focusing on photo and Hi-Fi. Now vivo will add 7 more R&D centers – 5 in China, and 2 in US Silicon Valley and San Diego. This indicates vivo’s strategy has slowly shifted from photo- and music-focus to more extensive technologies. (Laoyaoba, CNMO, 91.com)

vivo V5 Plus with dual front camera – 5.5” FHD 2.5D curved display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, rear 16MP + dual front 20MP – 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 6.0 (Funtouch OS 3.0), fingerprint sensor, AK4376 Hi-Fi audio chip, 3160mAh battery. (GSM Arena, vivo)


vivo V5 Lite is unveiled – 5.5” HD 2.5D curved display, octa-core processor, 13MP + 16MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 6.0 (Funtouch OS 3.0), 3000mAh battery. (GSM Arena, vivo, Times News)


Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is launched in India – 5.5” FHD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 13MP PDAF + 5MP cameras, 2 / 3 / 4GB RAM, 16 / 32 / 64GB ROM, Android 6.0, fingerprint sensor, 4100mAh battery, from INR9999. (GizChina, Android Central)



Samsung Austria is teaming up with the national motor vehicle association (ÖAMTC) to develop a programme, known as “Samsung Drive,” which enables new and aspiring drivers to practice using virtual reality technology. (Android Headlines, The Local, Geek Gadgets)


According to IDC, China VR headsets shipment in 3Q16 reached 204K units, 367.9% increased on year. From 3Q15 till 1Q16, VR market yearly growth is slow, mainly due to some international brand has announced entering China market soon, causing consumers to observe before purchase. However, from 2Q16 onwards, VR market yearly growth is speeding up, 3Q16 VR market is growing rapidly. In 4Q16 with the launch of Sony PS VR, VR market grows further. (IDC, press)


Bayview Labs, Seraph Group, and MIT Game Lab are creating Play Labs to accelerate startups in augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. The accelerator will offer funding, facilities, and mentorship resources for selected startups. Applications open now for the official program launch in summer 2017. (VentureBeat, Play Labs, VRRB)

Motiv Ring is an all day activity tracker with optical heart rate sensors and 3 axis accelerometer, 3-5 days battery life, water-resistance to 5ATM, USB magnetic key chain charger, and compatible with iOS. (Phone Arena, GadFit, The Manual, Motiv, Lieyunwang)


HTC has launched a USD10M VR fund “VR for Impact” for content and technologies that will drive sustainable development around the world. The fund will promote content that supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2020. (VentureBeat, VR for Impact, 87870)


Internet of Things

Vizio announced that all of its SmartCast products are now compatible with the Google Home platform. The company’s SmartCast products including TVs, speakers, surround-sound systems, soundbars, and more. (Ubergizmo, Digital Trends, The Verge)


Microsoft announced plans to, in the next 2 years, double the size of its AI research and development group in Montreal, which it established through the very recent acquisition of startup Maluuba. (VentureBeat, Microsoft)

Samsung Electronics has introduced IoT gateway solutions consisting of gateway modules and integrated cloud services, to function as a platform for IoT service developers, according to Digitimes Research. (Digitimes, press)

Navigation and mapping company TomTom — which provides data to companies like Uber and Apple as well as for its own GPS systems — has acquired Autonomos, a Berlin startup that has worked in R&D consultancy for various self-driving projects out of Germany. (Kit Guru, TechCrunch, 163)


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