03-17: Samsung’s foundry technology roadmap and technical also includes the newest 8nm and 6nm; Qualcomm begins referring to Snapdragon as the “Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform”; etc.

Chipsets

Samsung Electronics has announced its production ramp-up of the 10nm FinFET process technology is on track with steady high yield to meet customer needs on schedule. Samsung has shipped more than 70K silicon wafers of its first-generation 10nm LPE (Low Power Early) to date. Samsung’s foundry technology roadmap and technical also includes the newest 8nm and 6nm.  (My Drivers, GizChina, Digitimes, press, WCCFTech)

samsung-10nm-finfet-wafer

Qualcomm will no longer be referring to Snapdragon as the “Snapdragon Processor”, but rather the “Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile Platform”. Snapdragon is no longer a processor; instead Snapdragon is a platform. (CN Beta, Laoyaoba, Ars Technica, Qualcomm, TechCrunch, AnandTech)

qualcomm-snapdragon-platform

Automotive supplier Bosch announced a partnership with the graphics chip maker NVIDIA to collaborate on an AI-powered self-driving computer intended for mass-market cars.  The companies are aiming to release their self-driving computer system in 2020. (Engadget, Reuters, NVIDIA, 163, ZOL)

nvidia-bosch-ai

China-based 12” wafer foundry Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC) has seen its Fab 1 run at full capacity with order visibility extended to 2H17, according to VP Jack Qi Shu. HLMC’s Fab 1 is capable of producing 35K 12” wafers monthly running mainly 55nm and 40nm processes, adding that HLMC has seen clear order visibility through 2H17 driven by robust demand particularly that for communication chips. (Digitimes, press)

IC Insights shows that fabless IC suppliers represented 30% of the world’s IC sales in 2016 (up from only 18% ten years earlier in 2006).  As the name implies, fabless IC companies do not have an IC fabrication facility of their own. At 53%, the U.S. companies held the dominant share of fabless IC sales last year, although this share was down from 69% in 2010. (IC Insights, press, Laoyaoba)

icinsights-2016-fabless-company-ic-sales

Touch Display

Sharp president and CEO JW Tai indicates that in an attempt to differentiate Sharp-developed smartphones, 8K displays and automotive displays, Sharp has decided not to promote its in-house-developed IGZO TFT-LCD technology to other companies. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek, EE World, EEPW, Digitimes, press)

Samsung Galaxy S8 is expected to partly use the 3-D Touch technology for its “virtual home button” on the bottom of the display screen that allows users to open up menus and navigate the phone, while the fingerprint-scanning home button will be relocated to the back.  (CN Beta, Tech Radar, Value Walk, The Investors)

samsung-galaxy-s8-3d-touch-home-buttons

Camera

Fraunhofer Institute has developed a smartphone camera module that is thin enough to be squeezed inside a smartphone, removing the need for a “camera bump” without compromising on quality. It uses 4 image sensors rotated 90º so they point out of the side of the phone. A set of tiny mirrors in front of the sensors reflects the image from the front or rear of the phone. The concept model is just 3.5 millimeters high and can capture 20MP pictures. (My Drivers, PC World, Technowize)

fraunhofer-thin-camera

Memory

Samsung is reportedly planning to expand its memory chip production in Hwaseong, South Korea, and the new plant next to the 17 Line. The investment amount for the new construction over the next 2 years is forecast to be KRW8T~10T (USD7B~9B). This might somehow halt the raking price of DRAM in 2H17. (Laoyaoba, CSIA, OfWeek, EE World, Korea Herald, Yonhap News)

DRAM still remains at 2-dimension. Scaling of DRAM becomes extremely difficult mainly because aspect ratio of storage capacitor exponentially increases as device shrinks. Therefore, in order to expand lifespan of DRAM, 3D DRAM must be required for the DRAM in short time. (EE Times, Laoyaoba)

3d-super-dram

Biometrics

Samsung Galaxy S8 phone will reportedly have a fingerprint scanner, an iris scanner, and a brand-new face recognition technology. Samsung intends to use a blend of all 3 scanners to authorize payments through Samsung Pay, and is said to be working with banks to “help them embrace facial recognition systems”. (Bloomberg, Phone Arena, Sohu, 01Caijing)

Smartphones

HTC sold a Shanghai phone manufacturing facility so it boost its investments in the VR business. The buyer Xingbao Information Technology paid CNY630M (approximately USD91.17M) for the plant. (CN Beta, Laoyaoba, GSM Arena, HTC, Android AuthorityFocus Taiwan)

Apple will set up two new research and development centers in Shanghai and Suzhou in China. It has pledged to invest more than CNY3.5B (USD508M) in research and development in China. (Laoyaoba, Livemint, Reuters)

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