04-12: Samsung Electronics is expected to test its dual-screen smartphone prototype soon; Global smartphone production volume for 1Q17 totaled 307M units; etc.

Touch Display

OLED panels and TFT-LCD panels took up 27% and 73% respectively of display panels used in smartphones in 2014, but the proportion for OLED panels will exceed 40% in 2017 due to Apple’s adoption for new iPhone and further rise to 58% in comparison with 42% for TFT-LCD panels in 2018, according to LG Display senior vice president and CTO Kang In-byeong. (Digitimes, press, Android Headlines, China Times)

Samsung Electronics is expected to test its dual-screen smartphone prototype soon, possibly a preliminary version of its upcoming foldable smartphone. The prototype that can be folded open 180º reportedly features a pair of OLED display panels that are connected with a hinge in the middle. Samsung has reportedly placed orders for components to produce about 2,000-3,000 units. (Laoyaoba, The Investor, Gizmo China)

samsung-foldable-phone

Camera

Taiwan-based Brinno, a supplier of time lapse cameras, expects shipments of its ODM and OBM models to expand substantially in 2Q17. The company saw its revenues for 1Q17 totaled NTD105M (USD3.42M), increasing 39% from a year earlier. (Digitimes, press, China Times)

Memory

According to Forward Insights, a collection of ‘other’ companies claimed 30% of the global SSD market in 2016. Samsung currently claims a 21% share of the market, followed closely by Kingston with 16%. From there, other SSD makers have found themselves with single digits worth of market share, meaning Samsung and Kingston have really separated themselves from the pack. (Kit Guru, CN Beta)

forwardinsights-ssd-2016

Sensory

Needham & Co. chip analyst Rajvindra Gill believes that 3-D sensing could be pushed out to 2H18 and potentially introduced on an Apple “iPhone 8s” model rather than 2017’s  model (with Chinese OEMs front running the technology in 1H18). (Barron’s, blog, Laoyaoba, BGR)

Biometrics

New York University and Michigan State University have developed “master fingerprints” capable of tricking the sensors. They were able to create a set of “master prints that could fool a scanner up to 65% of the time. (CN Beta, Tech Republic, NY Times, Telegraph, IEEE, PR Newswire)

CrucialTec has obtained a patent for a transparent sensor that allows smartphone touch screens to recognize fingerprints. The technology can reinforce the touch sensitivity on a specific part of a smartphone display to scan fingerprints. The new sensor is highly efficient to produce as the production process can be shared with an existing touch screen manufacturing line.  (The Investor, Phone Arena)

crucialtec-dfs

Battery

Using a solution-phase process to prepare red phosphorus in nanoparticle form, researchers in Taiwan National Tsing Hua University have converted the inexpensive phosphorus allotrope from an electrochemically weak material to a highly promising one. (CN Beta, C&EN)

phosphorus-battery

Smartphones

Global smartphone production volume for 1Q17 totaled 307M units, a drop of 23% from the previous quarter, according to market intelligence firm TrendForce. Smartphone brands, especially those based in China, lowered their production volume forecasts through the first quarter as demand slowed down significantly due to the conventional seasonal effect. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press)

trendforce-1q17-smartphone

LeEco is rumored to have plans for laying off over a third of its current workforce in the US, as it continues to deal with its many financial issues. (Android Authority, Bloomberg, 163)

LeEco Le Pro 3 AI Edition is announced with 2 variants Eco and Standard – 5.5” FHD display, MediaTek Helio X27 / X23 processor, dual rear 13MP-13MP + front 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, digital assistant LeLe, 4000mAh battery, from CNY1799. (Gizmo China, My Drivers, Gizbot, Android Headlines, GizChina, GSM Arena, Sina)

le-pro-3-ai-edition

Micromax launches Evok Power and Evok Note, in collaboration with Flipkart: Evok Power – 5” HD display, MediaTek quad-core processor, 8MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, 4000mAh battery, INR6999. Evok Note –  5.5” FHD 2.5D curved display, MediaTek MT6753 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 4000mAh battery, INR9499. (GSM Arena, BGR, KollyTalk)

micromax-evok-power-note

Tablets / PCs

Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, workstation) totaled 60.3M units in 1Q17, posting year-over-year growth of 0.6%, according to IDC. (IDC, press, Laoyaoba)

idc-pc-1q17

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 62.2M units in 1Q17, a 2.4% decline from 1Q16, according to preliminary results by Gartner. The 1Q17 was the first time since 2007 that the PC market experienced shipments below 63M units in a quarter. (VentureBeat, Gartner, press)

gartner-pc-1q17

Wearables

Eric Xu Zhijun, Huawei’s rotating CEO, was quoted as saying, “I am always confused as to what smartwatches are for when we have smartphones.” (Android Authority, SCMP, iFeng)

huawei-ceo-eric-smartwatch-no-use

Fitbit is reportedly hoping to launch its smartwatch spring 2017, but various problems during development have delayed the timeline to the fall. The GPS antenna had to be redesigned to improve signal performance, and waterproofing continues to be a difficult nut for Fitbit to crack. (The Motley Fool, Yahoo, 163)

Misfit Flare offers basic tracking functionality with USD59.99 price tag. It also features an aluminum frame, waterproofing at up to 50m and 4 months of battery life (replaceable battery). (Android Authority, 163)

misfit-flare

With McKinsey Global and Cisco both predicting that the IoT will generate over USD10T in the next decade, there is huge revenue potential for wearables. Farnell element14 believes that there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome for wearables to achieve widespread adoption: engineers need to develop products that are affordable, and overcome the technical challenges that limit their usefulness. (EENews Europe, EET Taiwan, Smart2Zero, Laoyaoba)

Kazuo Hirai – the president of Sony – outlined the company’s plans for the post-smartphone era, with a special focus on virtual reality (VR). Hirai has predicted the end of the smartphone as we know it within 10 years and said VR is finally poised to make a serious impact in homes and industry. (Android Authority, Financial Review, press, 163)

Internet of Things

According to The NPD Group, U.S. dollar sales of drones more than doubled in the 12 months ending Feb 2017, with a 117% increase YoY. While premium drones (priced USD300+) fueled revenue growth, increased distribution and assortment during the holiday season helped drive unit demand for drones priced between USD50-100. (Engadget, NPD Group, press, Yuncaijing)

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