03-07: Market supply of NAND Flash is expected to remain tight through the year; Micron’s exit of NOR Flash is going to worsen the tight-supply situation; etc.


Chip sales for Jan 2017 totaled about USD26.9B, 13.9% higher than Jan 2016, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Sales were down 1.2% compared to Dec 2016, however. The 13.9% annual increase for Jan 2017 was the largest year-to-year increase for chip sales since Nov 2010. (EE Times, Laoyaoba, SIA, press)



Samsung tweets that new ultra-high-end Exynos 9 Series 8895 silicon comes with dual ISP technology “engineered to unleash creativity”, indirectly confirming that a future Exynos 8895 device would be equipped with two cameras. (CN Beta, Android Headlines, GSM Arena, Pocket Now)



Huawei executive indicates that 4GB of RAM is enough for a phone to run smoothly. According to tests held by the company, a lot of Huawei phones with 4GB of RAM (paired with the Kirin 960 processor) can perform better over time compared to the competition with 6GB of RAM. (GizChina, 163, Sohu)


Micron is focusing on DRAM and NAND Flash, thus reportedly planning to sell its NOR Flash business. AMOLED panel penetration in smartphone market is growing, and NOR Flash is used to sustain AMOLED colour, thus its demand is also increasing.  Samsung, with its 95% AMOLED supply market share, expects to ship 480M units of smartphone-used AMOLED panels in 2017, implying at least 480M units of NOR Flash is required. Micron’s exit of NOR Flash is going to worsen the tight-supply situation. (TechNews, press, EEPW, Laoyaoba)


According to TrendForce, in 4Q16, the NAND Flash market was at its most severe phase of shortage for the year while shipments in the end device markets were robust. Consequently, average sales prices (ASPs) of NAND Flash products rose significantly, and the 4Q16 global NAND Flash revenue registered a large sequential increase of 17.8% even with the strong 3Q16 result as the base. NAND Flash suppliers made a strong finish to 2016 as their profits also peaked in the final quarter. Market supply of NAND Flash is expected to remain tight through the year. (TrendForce[cn], press, TrendForce, press)



Barclay’s analyst Andrew Gardiner believes chip makers like AMS, STMicroelectronics, Lumentum, and II-VI may be big winners as Apple includes a 3D sensor in iPhone. Ultimately, the big question for Gardiner is whether Apple will use a time-of-flight sensor or structured light sensor. He thinks Apple will use a combination of the two.  (Business Insider, 9to5Mac, CN Beta, Fast Company)


Fujitsu aims to develop creative artificial intelligence that works in unfamiliar scenarios, tackling this project with a state-backed institution to try to give Japanese AI research a leg up on competition overseas. Fujitsu will invest slightly over JPY2B (USD17.4M) in the project over 5 years. Fujitsu and Riken hope to reach the product stage in three to 5 years. (Laoyaoba, SEMI, Fujitsu, Asia Nikkei)


SK Innovation will build 2 additional EV battery production lines with a combined capacity of 2 gigawatt hour (GWh) so as to bring the company’s total battery capacity to 3.9GWh, which is capable of powering 140,000 EVs a year. The two additional EV battery production lines are expected to go into operation sometime in 1H18. (TechNews, Electrek, Korea IT Times, Pulse)


According to Sino Market Research, OPPO and vivo lead the China smartphone market in Jan 2017 with 8.35M and 7.28M units shipped, equivalent to 17.1% and 14.9% market share, respectively. Both YoY increase 13%. Apple follows by 5.21M units shipped and 10.7% market share. Huawei is at number 4 with 4.72M units shipped. Xiaomi, Meizu, Gionee, Samsung and LeEco are among the top 10.  (163, Hexun, CN Beta)

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Xiaomi’s CEO, Lei Jun has announced that AI will play a major role in Xiaomi products in 2017. The main goals include the accelerating the development of artificial intelligence, to develop retail experiences and to schedule more launches in non-Chinese markets. (GizChina, Gizmo China, China Daily, My Drivers)


BMO Capital Markets’ Tim Long estimates total Apple iPhone installed base hit 715M, including 228M of second-hand devices, in Dec 2016, with year-on-year growth of 20%. They model year-end installed base to grow 13% in 2017 and 9% in 2018. They estimate, by the end of 2018, there will be 300M second-hand iPhones in use. (Barron’s, blog, CN Beta)

LG G6 reportedly see 40K units booked in 4 days since it is announced on 26 Feb 2017. Song Eun-jeong, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities indicates that If G6 sells more than 5M units, it will reduce the operating loss of around KRW800B (USD691M) in the handset unit. Kim Ji-san, an analyst at Kiwoon Securities expects G6 to sell 500K units in 1Q17 and more than 2M in 2Q17. (Ubergizmo, ZDNet, Android Soul, CN Beta, The Investor)

Google is reportedly working on a budget smartphone that is expected to launch without Pixel branding. It may be an Android One phone targeting emerging markets and it is being made by the same staff that is working on Pixel 2.  (CN Beta, Mobipicker, 9to5Google, Android Pit)

Wistron’s orders share of assembling Apple iPhone 8 is reportedly increased from 4% to 10%.  Starting from 2H16, Wistron has been designing sourcing plan in Kunshan factory aiming to expand its production for smartphone. (Laoyaoba, PC Online, 163)

Lenovo Group said its unit plans to issue U.S. dollar denominated perpetual securities. It plans to use net proceeds to repay outstanding amounts under the promissory notes issued to Google Inc. in relation to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings LLC, and for the firm’s working capital and general corporate purposes. (CN Beta, 163, 4-Traders, Fidelity)



Fitbit has just introduced the Alta HR, the company’s slimmest activity tracker with a heart rate monitor. Retailing for around USD150, it brings Fitbit’s own PurePulse heart rate technology to a slimmer form factor.  (Android Authority, Fitbit, Apple Insider, Tencent)


According to IDC, wearables market in China still grow fast in 2016, with shipment YoY growth reaching 68.1%. In 4Q16, China wearables shipment has reached 12.43M units, a 53.5% increase on year. In particular, band, kid’s watch, smart sneakers have grown 62.7%, whereas smartwatch has declined 14.1%.  (IDC, press, EE Trend)

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Internet of Things

Roboticists at Disney Research are investigating how to improve the quality of human-robot interactions by studying how speech patterns affect engagement with a creepy anthropomorphic bot that imitates its playmates’ speech. (CN Beta, TechCrunch, Disney Research)


According to Strategy Analytics, consumer spending on smart home services will nearly triple on a global basis from USD17B in 2016 to USD50B in 2022. They also predict that the move away from the smartphone as the primary interface for the home will continue in 2017. (EE Trend, Strategy Analytics, press)


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