03-03: Yield rates for 10nm process technology have still been too low; Troubled Toshiba said that it will sell most of its stake in Toshiba Machine Co; etc.


Yield rates for TSMC’s 10nm process technology have still been too low to boost the process to economies of scale, according to Digitimes. The schedule for shipments of MediaTek Helio X30, reportedly the first 10nm smartphone SoC from TSMC commercially available, has already been delayed. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

[MWC2017] The smartphone world will be rocked with MediaTek’s new deca-core Helio X30 chip, which will bring premium features like Google’s DayDream virtual reality platform to Android handsets with prices starting at USD300. Helio X30 is one of the few smartphone chips supporting Google’s DayDream VR platform. (PC World, IT 168, Laoyaoba)

[MWC2017] GM of 5G Business and Technology of Intel, Robert Topol has admitted that Intel canceled its plans for Broxton mobile processor in part due to being “late for LTE”. According to Topol, the company has used the failure to regroup, both in terms of existing LTE technologies and emerging 5G. (TechCrunch, China.com)


Apple sued Qualcomm in a U.K. court, adding to lawsuits across the globe in a sprawling battle over patents and licensing fees between the iPhone developer and the largest designer of mobile phone chips. (CN Beta, Patently Apple, Apple Insider, Bloomberg)

IC Insights shows that 11 companies are forecast to have semiconductor capital expenditure budgets greater than USD1.0B in 2017, and account for 78% of total worldwide semiconductor industry capital spending in 2017. By comparison, there were 8 companies in 2013 with capital spending in excess of USD1.0B.  (TechNews, IC Insights, press)


Touch Display

There were 204M large-size TFT-LCD panels shipped globally in 4Q16, decreasing 3.7% on quarter and 6.1% on year, according to IDC. BOE Technology was the biggest maker of large-size LCD panels in 4Q16 with a 22% share of the shipments, followed by LG Display with 19.1%, Innolux with 16.2%, AU Optronics (AUO) with 13.6%, and Samsung Display with 10.4%. (IDC, press, Digitimes, press)


While automotive displays have become the third largest application of small- to medium-size TFT-LCD panels, use of OLED panels in automotive displays will take off in 2018, according to Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA). Global demand for panels used in automotive displays increased from 94.64M units in 2015 to 101.95M units in 2016 and is expected to keep increasing to 173.26M units in 2022, PIDA cited Japan-based Yano Research Institute as indicating. (Digitimes, press, Sohu, OfWeek, UDN)

Yole Development forecasts that in the most optimistic scenario, the market for microLED displays could reach up to 330M units by 2025. initial success in smartwatches could accelerate technology and supply chain maturation, making microLED competitive against OLED in high-end TVs, tablets and laptops. Smartphones will be a tough nut to crack and require further technology improvement in the manufacturing and handling of very small microLEDs (<5µm).  (Laoyaoba, Yole Development, press)


FocalTech’s single-chip integrated driver controller (IDC) is having a good result in the market. Gionee A1 and S9 are using its FT8716 IDC chipset, while TCL’s BlackBerry KEYone is using its FT8707. FocalTech is optimistic with 2017, and internal target is to take down more than 50% of the market share in 2017. (Laoyaoba, FocalTech)

Chairman of FocalTech, Genda Hu indicates that 1Q17 is a off season, but FocalTech’s ingle-chip integrated driver controller (IDC) shipment only has declined relatively smaller. He is optimistic with 2017, and aims for more than 50% of the market share. With the company’s previous forecast of 2017 with about 200M units of IDC shipped, FocalTech’s could ship more than 100M units of its IDC. (Laoyaoba, Mega Time, China Times)


Troubled Toshiba said that it will sell most of its stake in Toshiba Machine Co for JPY15.3B (USD133.91M). Toshiba is trying to restore its financial health by selling assets, as it is bracing for over JPY700B (USD6.12B) in losses from its United States nuclear plant business. (TechNews, Reuters, Bernama)


TrendForce states that that the global market scale of IR LED and IR laser components used in iris and facial recognition solutions will grow from USD145M in 2017 to USD827M in 2025. The CAGR in the forecast period is estimated at 24%. The incorporation of features such as iris recognition and 3D Sensing in smartphones provides a lucrative opportunity for suppliers of IR LED, IR laser and optical sensors. (Laoyaoba, TrendForce[cn], press, TrendForce, press)


According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, while the underlying technology behind the charging may change, utilizing “Type-C Power Delivery”, the Lightning port will remain on all of Apple‘s 3 new iPhones coming later 2017 —including the flagship “iPhone 8”. (CN Beta, CNET, Apple Insider)

According to Counterpoint, the Big 4 carriers in the US saw smartphone activations decrease 1% YoY during 4Q16.  Verizon and Sprint witnessed small 2% and 2.7% gains.  T-Mobile activated 100k or 1% less smartphones.  AT&T had a 7.6% decline in smartphone activations in 4Q16, but the company noted a growing BYOD trend. (Counterpoint, press, Android Headlines)

counterpoint-4q16-smartphone-us counterpoint-4q16-smartphone-us-carriers

[MWC2017] TCL Communication and Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) are showcasing the interoperation of Software Defined Ratio (SDR) User Equipment (UE) and commercial TD-LTE small cell base stations. (Laoyaoba, Astri, InfoTech, Yahoo)


Apple CEO Tim Cook has signaled that Apple would look to expand its US manufacturing and supplier base. Apple already spends around USD50B a year with US-based suppliers, Mr Cook revealed. (TechNews, India Times, Telecom Lead, Financial Times, article)

LeEco in India has fired 85% of its India staff and allowed 2 leadership exits in what the industry says is a precursor to its eventual withdrawal from the South Asian nation. (CN Beta, Money Control, India Times)

LeEco India COO Alex Li confirmed the exit of the 2 senior executives, but denied any plans to exit the market. Li said the company has recalibrated and reimagined its business in India since 2016. (CN Beta, 163, Sina, Tech in Asia, Fonearena)

ZTE is reportedly nearing an agreement to plead guilty to U.S. criminal charges and pay hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties over allegations it violated U.S. laws that restrict sale of U.S. technology to Iran. (Android Headlines, Reuters, SCMP, Yahoo, EET China, EE Focus, 52RD)

Samsung’s facility in Vietnam has reportedly begun mass production of the Galaxy S8 slated to be launched at the end of Mar 2017. The company is expecting high demand for both the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus and an initial production volume of 10M units is said to be the target. (IB Times, TechNews, Daily-Sun)

Samsung has launched a new team dedicated to product quality control after it suffered more than KRW7T  (USD6.13B) loss in operating profit in 2016 following the global recall of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7. (Korea Herald, Korea Times, 163)

Google’s head of hardware Rick Osterloh said that “Pixel stays premium” and that there will be no budget Pixel smartphone in 2017. (Android Headlines, Phone Arena, Android Pit, 163)

Elephone Z1 is launched – 5.5” FHD display with 1.6mm slim bezel, MediaTek Helio P20 processor, 13MP + 8MP cameras, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage, 3100mAh battery, USD189.99. (GizChina, Gizmo China, Elephone)


BlackBerry Aurora is confirmed in Indonesia – 5.5” HD 2.5D curved AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, 13MP PDAF + 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 7.0, 3000mAh battery, USD262. (BB Merah Putih, CN Beta, Softpedia, The Mobile Indian, Android Headlines)



The worldwide wearables market reached a new all-time high as shipments reached 33.9M units in 4Q16, growing 16.9% year over year. Shipments for the entire year grew 25% as new vendors entered the market and previous champions refreshed their product lineups. The year came to a close with 102.4M devices shipped according to IDC. (VentureBeat, IDC, press, 163, Laoyaoba)


Internet of Things

Snapchat maker Snap is reportedly to be developing a drone. It is understood that Snap’s drone would be able to record aerial images and videos and upload them to the cloud, probably even Snapchat. (Android Headlines, Business Insider, NY Times, CIT News, iMobile)


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