01-23: Xiaomi global VP Hugo Barra announced that he was leaving the company; Samsung has disclosed information about the causes of the explosions of the battery inside its Galaxy Note 7 flagship smartphone; etc.

Chipsets

Samsung has purchased EUV machines in mid-2016, aggressively pushing to mass produce 7nm by end of 2017. TSMC has clearly indicated that in 2nd year after 7nm is launched, it will start adopting EUV with reduction of the mask layer, and will fully use EUV for 5nm. TSMC CEO Liu Deyin has indicated that 10nm and 7nm will share 95% of the equipment, thus they will officially shift to EUV when they start 5nm process. (TechNews, EE Times, EE Times, NASDAQ, Reuters, Barron’s, blog)

Prices for 12” blank silicon wafers are set to continue rising, driven by robust demand from foundries and memory chipmakers, according to Digitimes. Wafer suppliers are mulling adjusting upward their contract quotes for 12” blank wafers for 2Q17 by another 15%. Prices, which started to rise in 1Q17, are set to continue their rally through the end of 2017. (Digitimes, Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba, article)

Chinese government has released a semiconductor development plan that worth USD150B, and hoping to raise the market share of China-made chipsets to more than 70% by 2025. United States worry that the subsidy plan would “twist the market”, reducing the strength of US’s semiconductor industry. However, China’s USD150B is actually small compared to US’s average USD23B spending on year basis. (Laoyaoba, EE World)

mingbao-china-biggest-semiconductor-market-2016

Touch / Display

Hon Hai Precision Industry chairman Terry Gou estimated out loud to reporters that his company, known to most as Foxconn, will spend USD7B to build a display manufacturing plant for its subsidiary, Sharp. (Laoyaoba, Sina, China Times, Business Recorder, Bloomberg, Reuters, Pocket Now)

chinatimes-foxconn-us

Luxury British automaker Bentley plans to add new cutting-edge technologies to its future cars – including plug-in hybrid engines and transparent OLEDs. One concept designs apparently shows a transparent OLED on top of wood veneers – so the display is invisible when not in use. (OLED-Info, University Herald, PC Pop, Huanqiu)

bentley-transparent-oled

Japan-based OLED material maker Idemitsu Kosan announced that it has decided to expand the OLED material production capacity at its Korean subsidiary Idemitsu Electronic Materials Korea in Dec. 2016. Idemitsu now announced that it plans to establish a new OLED materials development company in Switzerland. (OLED-Info, Idemitsu Kosan)

LG Display (LGD) has reportedly sacored a deal to supply television displays to rival Samsung Electronics from as soon as 2017. LG will supply as many as 3M LCD panels to Samsung in 2017. (CN Beta, Bloomberg)

Memory

Taiwan-based NOR Flash vendors, Windbond and Macronix indicate that the demand is increasing whilst the supply is tight, thus in 1Q17 the price up rate could be around 5%~7%, and in summer period the number could exceed 10%. This would be the first time NOR Flash price up in 4-year time. (TechNews, Sohu)

Canon will consider investing in Toshiba’s semiconductor business to help the company secure funds to make up for massive losses incurred in its U.S. nuclear business, Canon Chairman Fujio Mitarai said. Mitarai also said the semiconductor operation “must be protected”, indicating that domestic companies should invest in Toshiba’s mainstay business. (Mainichi, TechNews, Kyodo News, Japan Times)

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Battery

Samsung has disclosed information about the causes of the explosions of the battery inside its Galaxy Note 7 flagship smartphone. Exponent, TUVRheinland, and UL also analyzed the Note7 to determine what caused the phone’s issues. (Gizmodo, Android Headlines, VentureBeat, Samsung, Sina, iFeng, Huanqiu)

samsung-galaxy-s7-battery-root-causes

Smartphones

Xiaomi global VP Hugo Barra announced that he was leaving the company to return to Silicon Valley. Barra left Google in 2013 to head up Xiaomi’s global unit, and in the 3 years since, he was instrumental in Xiaomi’s growth overseas. (VentureBeat, Android Central, TechCrunch, Facebook, CN Beta)

xiaomi-hugo-barra-left

OPPO has announced that sales of its R9 series of smartphones, which consists of the R9, R9 Plus, R9s, and R9s Plus has crossed the 20M mark. (GSM Arena, Android Soul)

oppo-r9-20m

Samsung has filed a trademark for the moniker Bixby Vision in Europe, which will — presumably — be the name used to describe the feature when it makes its debut later in 2017. (Ubergizmo, Sam Mobile, Galaxy Club, IT Home)

samsung-trademark-bixby

Wearables

A patent application for treating colorblindness with augmented reality, filed by the Magic Leap, was approved, illustrating a new use for the trendy but nascent technology. The patent shows an augmented reality device that can be used to diagnose and treat eye issues, specifically color blindness. (Laoyaoba, Wearable, Inverse)

magic-leap-patent-colour-blind

Internet of Things

Tesla founder Elon Musk is telling customers that there will be “major” revisions every 12~18 months. He adds that retrofits would slow the company’s progress “dramatically”. (TechCrunch, Engadget)

Cruise Automation, acquired by General Motor (GM) in Mar. 2016, has released a video of its self-driving Chevy Bolt EV navigating the busy streets of San Francisco. Shot in Nov. 2016, the sped-up video shows the car adeptly maneuvering through the unpredictable obstacles of big city traffic. (CN Beta, Inverse, Detroit News)

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