02-22: Qualcomm announces Snapdragon X20 LTE modem and new RF front-end modules; Intel announced its new smartphone modem, the Intel XMM 7560; etc.


8” wafer fabs in China and Taiwan including TSMC, VIS, SMIC and UMC are running at full capacity driven by brisk demand for smartphone-use ICs including fingerprint-recognition sensors, LCD driver ICs and power management chips. Because of tight capacity, 8” fabs delivery times have extended to more than 12 weeks, from 6-8 weeks in 4Q16. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

Shipments of smartphone-use application processors in China are expected to decline 15.9% sequentially to 145M units in 1Q17, according to Digitimes Research. Shipments on an annual basis will grow about 7.6% from the 134.8M units shipped in 1Q16. (Laoyaoba, 52RD, EE World, Digitimes, press)


Smartphones will remain the largest market for application processors (AP) through 2020, accounting for over 80% of all APs shipped annually during the period, according to Digitimes Research. (Digitimes, Laoyaoba)


Qualcomm announces Snapdragon X20 LTE modem and new RF front-end modules for mobile devices. It uses Samsung’s 10nm LPE process. It supports UE Category 18 on the downlink, boosting peak theoretical bandwidth to 1.2Gbps, a 20% improvement over the X16 LTE modem. (Android Authority, AnandTech, Android Headlines, TechCrunch, CN Beta)

qualcomm-snapdragon-x20 qualcomm-snapdragon-x20-ca-config qualcomm-snapdragon-x20-comparison

Qualcomm to add support for the Android Things OS on Snapdragon 210 processors with X5 LTE modems. The Android Things OS is a new vertical of Android designed for IoT devices, and Snapdragon processors are expected to be the world’s first commercial SoC solutions to offer integrated 4G LTE support for this OS. (Android Authority, Qualcomm, Android Headlines)

Qualcomm has announced that it has completed its first successful 5G connection based on the 5G New Radio (NR) specifications that have been developed by 3GPP and are expected to become the standard for 5G going forward.  (Android Headlines, The Street, Yahoo)

Qualcomm, ZTE, and China Mobile announced plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials based on the 5G New Radio (NR) specifications being developed by 3GPP. The trials will operate in sub-6 GHz mid-band spectrum at 3.5 GHz. (Laoyaoba, Yahoo, Telecom Lead)

Intel announced its new smartphone modem, the Intel XMM 7560, which is its 5th such product to support LTE networks. The XMM 7560 is supposed to handle download speeds “exceeding 1Gbps” and upload speeds up to 225Mbps. XMM 7560 will start sampling to smartphone makers sometime in 1H17. (CN Beta, Android Authority, The Inquirer, Fierce Wireless)


Intel announced new Atom C3000 series chips, which have up to 16 cores. The chips are made for storage arrays, networking equipment, and internet of things devices. (CN Beta, PC World, Tech Powerup, Intel)


Touch Display

Apple touch module supplier TPK’s CEO Michael Chung indicates that 1H17 would not see the painful inventory correction of the year before. There is also the opportunity to supply products for some new tablet products. The average price per unit of 3D touch module in the past is around USD8~9, but the price for the more sophisticated force touch module for 2017 new iPhone will rise to some USD14~15. (Laoyaoba, ChinaFPD, CN Beta, Patently Apple)

TPK Holding has been a supplier of G/G (2 pieces of glass) touch panels for use in Apple Watch for 2 years, but since Apple adopted TOL (touch on lens) for 2nd generation Apple Watch in 2016, TPK has been unable to hike yield rates for TOL touch panels to a reasonable level and is therefore mulling stopping production for the Apple wearable devices, according to industry sources. (Digitimes, press, CN Beta)

Considering cost and yield rates, Apple will adopt G/F (glass-film) touch solution in place of TOL for new Apple Watch and have Taiwan-based General Interface Solution (GIS) or Hong Kong-based Biel Crystal Manufactory produce the G/F touch panels, with shipments to begin in 2H17. (Laoyaoba, Digitimes, press, IB Times, 9to5Mac)

LG Display  (LGD) CEO Han Sang-beom has stressed that demand for liquid crystal displays (LCD)  will remain steady for the next couple of years despite the wider adoption of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens by smartphone makers, including Apple. He has indicated that Apple will not switch 100% to OLED for the time being. (Phone Arena, The Investor, CN Beta)


LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom has hinted that the firm could start supplying liquid crystal displays to its cross town rival Samsung Electronics from as early as Jul 2017.  (CN Beta, GizBot, SamMobile, Korea Herald)


KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the version of the 2017 Apple iPhone with OLED panel will sport a “revolutionary” front-facing camera and a 3D sensor. The 2D images from the camera will use the new sensor to produce 3D selfies and will also be employed for face recognition. (Phone Arena, 9t05Mac, CN Beta)



Mainland China- and Taiwan-based pure-play foundries are partnering with their fabless clients to fabricate next-generation memory types, such as 3D NAND, MRAM and ReRAM, while memory chipmakers are developing the next-generation technologies in-house. (Digitimespress, Laoyaoba, Digitimes, press)



Disney Research unveils a prototype of wireless charging room that according to them, comes with “ubiquitous wireless power delivery”. Users in the room will be able to charge their devices wirelessly without any cables, wires, or charging pads. (Ubergizmo, Mac Rumors, Tencent)


Timothy Arcuri from Cowen and Company believes that wireless charging will make an appearance in Apple’s new-gen iPhone in 2017. However, which solution will be utilized is not clear —but it probably will not be Energous long-distance wireless charging making an appearance. (Apple Insider, BGR, 163)


Mobileye, the Israel-based sensor company, has announced partnership with BMW Group. The deal will put Mobileye’s flagship localization and mapping technologies in BMW Group cars (that includes the British marques Mini and Rolls-Royce) from 2018. It essentially extends the same deal that Mobileye struck with Volkswagen. (CN Beta, Fortune, Reuters, Forbes)


Verizon has confirmed that they have amended their agreement with Yahoo, to be USD350M less than the original price they had agreed to pay for the company, bringing the final amount to USD4.48B in cash. (Android Headlines, VentureBeat, Verizon, iFeng, Tencent)

Reliance Jio’s Chairman, Mukesh Ambani announced that the company now has over 100M users within 170 days of the service’s launch. Now the company launches a new Jio Prime subscription plan. It offers free calls, text messages, and 1 GB of data per day at 4G speeds for a monthly fee of INR303, with one-time enrollment fee of INR99. (Android Authority, Gadgets360, IIFL)


Lee Jae-Yong, Samsung Electronics vice chairman, is accused of paying nearly USD40M in bribes to Park’s secret confidante to secure policy favours. In recent months, Samsung Group had begun edging towards reform of its corporate structure, amid increasingly vocal complaints that it benefited the founding family over minority interests. Samsung is South Korea’s largest business group and its revenue is equivalent to about 1/5 of the country’s GDP. (CN Beta, Financial Times, article, NDTV)


The annual Harris Poll, which measures corporate reputation among tens of thousands of respondents in the United States, found that Samsung suffered one of the biggest hits of any company in 2016. It is placed 49th in 2017’s survey — down from 7th in 2016 and its peak of 3rd in 2015. (CN Beta, Harris Poll, report, Digital Trends)


Samsung reportedly plans refurbished Galaxy Note 7 with smaller battery in the emerging markets. Samsung will reportedly equip the handsets with packs in the 3000~3200mAh range. (Sina, VentureBeat, Han Kyung, eTekNix, Sohu)

TrendForce estimates that the production volume of Apple’s next iPhone for 2017 will reach at least 100M units, of which the model with the AMOLED display will make up the greatest share. The production volume of all iPhone for 2017 is projected to total around 230M units, representing an annual increase of almost 6%. TrendForce also expects the next high-end iPhone to incorporate the 3D Sensing technology that can be used to provide facial recognition and features related to AR. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, Apple Insider, Business Wire)

Morgan Stanley’s analyst Katy Huberty argued Apple’s new iPhone will drive an acceleration of new upgrades across China. She argues that “Apple is positioned to take net users from local Chinese smartphone brands,” as “1 in 5 local Chinese branded smartphone users will switch to iPhone upon their next purchase.  Huberty estimates under a base case scenario China will contribute 27M incremental iPhones during the upcoming “Supercycle”, which is notably above the 19M total unit growth in fiscal 2018. (Apple Insider, TechNews, BenzingaBarron’s, blog)

According to TalkingData, China’s smartphone market has entered the replacement cycle in 2016-17, reflected in 53% of consumers choosing CNY2000 and above smartphones at end-2016, up by almost 10% YoY.  (Barron’s, blog, TalkingData, report)


According to TalkingData, when consumers switch phones, more than 20% consumers would pick Huawei, and more than 10% would pick OPPO, Xiaomi, and vivo. In overall, Huawei, OPPO and vivo attract most brand switchers, with more than 10%. On the other hand, Samsung, Xiaomi have lost most users to other brands. (Barron’s, blog, TalkingData, report)


LG Unveils X400 Smartphone In Korea – 5.3” HD in-cell touch display, MediaTek MT6750 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 7.0, LTE, fingerprint sensor, 2800mAh battery, KRW319,000. (Android Headlines, BGR, GSM Arena)


Huawei Honor V9 is announced – 5.7” QHD display, Huawei Kirin 960 processor, dual 12MP + 8MP cameras, 4 / 6GB RAM, 64 / 128GB storage, Android 7.0, LTE, dual-SIM, USB Type-C, 4000mAh battery, from CNY2599. (Gizmo China, CN Beta, Digital Trends, Android Headlines)


Huawei Honor 8 Lite is announced – 5.2” FHD display, Huawei Kirin 655 processor, 12MP + 8MP cameras, 3 / 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 7.0, LTE, dual-SIM, fingerprint sensor, 3000mAh battery, from CNY1099. (Android Headlines, Gizmo China, Android Authority, CN Beta)

Huawei Nova Lite is launched, identical to P8 Lite (2017) – 5.2” FHD IPS LCD display, Huawei Kirin 655 processor, 12MP + 8MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 16GB storage, LTE, dual-SIM, 3000mAh battery, EUR239. (Phone Arena, GSM Arena, Blog of Mobile, Tencent)


Meitu T8 is unveiled – 5.2” FHD display, MediaTek Helio X20 MT6797 processor, 21MP + 12MP AF OIS cameras, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, Android 6.0, 3580mAh battery, from CNY3299. (VentureBeat, Digital Trends, Android Authority, 163, CN Beta)



The new Samsung Gear VR will reportedly bear the model number SM-R324, and it will feature a new front cover that can hold the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus. Moreover, rumor also suggests that the new VR headset might come with “a single hand controller”. (Engadget, SamMobile, The Verge, Tencent, Sina)


Internet of Things

Apple does not appear interested in developing a standalone Amazon Echo-like speaker utilizing Siri, as the company’s vision is instead linked to devices like the iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. (Apple Insider, Time, Laoyaoba)

Samsung Electronics is considering creating a fresh USD1B fund to purchase tech firms in the field of artificial intelligence. Over 2016, Samsung has purchased 10 tech firms. (Android Authority, The Investor, CNFOL, iFeng)

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