04-15: Sorry for the 2-day absence, last 2 days – Qualcomm to pay back BlackBerry USD814.9M overpaid royalty fees; 2/3 users in India plan to upgrade to a new mobile phone in the next 12 months; etc.

Chipsets

An arbitration panel has awarded BlackBerry a preliminary USD814.9M to resolve its claim that it had overpaid patent royalties in its contract with Qualcomm. The specific issue pertains only to Qualcomm’s contract with BlackBerry, but highlights the firm’s series of parallel intellectual property disputes, most notably a trio of global cases involving Apple as well as government antitrust actions in China, Korea and the United States.  (Apple Insider, PC Mag, Reuters, Yahoo, 163, Sina, Sohu)

Touch Display

Samsung Display and LG Display are tentatively postponing their plans of stopping old low-generation LCD production lines due to shortage of supply of LCDs for large TV panels and panels for IT products. They have also put off their plans of changing old LCD production lines into OLED production lines. (Android Authority, ET News, OfWeek)

etnews-scd-lgd-lcd-delay-stop

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) and Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diodes (QLED) on the surface might differ with organic vs. quantum dot; but actually they are totally different world. (CN Beta, article, The Spectrum)

qled-structure-picture

Camera

According to big data service provider Aurora, 3.2% of the overall smartphone market during 1Q17 consisted of devices with dual rear camera systems. Huawei and its Honor sub brand have dominated the dual rear camera category during that time—Huawei and Honor took 9 out of the 10 Top 10 spots. Specifically, Huawei and Honor devices placed 1st to 6th as well as 9th and 10th with Xiaomi’s 5S Plus taking the 7th spot on the list. (My Drivers, Jiguang, report, Gizmo China)

jiguang-dual-camera-share-in-china-1q17

Memory

NAND flash prices have been inflating excessively over the past few months and are likely to correct downward later in 2Q17r, according to Phison Electronics chairman Khein Seng Pua. However, prices are set to go up again in 3Q17 as end-market demand surges. Chipmakers’ ongoing transition from 2D to 3D NAND memory has led to tight supply and inflated the chip prices, Pua said. In addition, system OEMs are reluctant to deliver their products as the more they sell the more they lose due to soaring NAND flash costs, Pua said. (Digitimes, press, China Times)

Foxconn has recently submitted a massive USD27B bid for Toshiba, but sources are saying the company may have to reject this offer due to opposition from both the U.S. and Japanese governments. (Tab Times, Reuters, Reuters, iFeng, Xinhuanet, 163)

Apple is reportedly considering partnering up with Foxconn in hopes of increasing its chances of closing the deal with Toshiba. Apple is willing to invest several billion dollars to secure at least 20% of Toshiba’s memory business. Foxconn would obviously also get a stake, while Toshiba would still maintain a small part of the business. (Tab Times, Apple Insider, 163, Bloomberg)

Powerchip Technology CEO Frank Huang has reiterated Powerchip has no plans to build DRAM production lines in China. DRAM factory has technology and patent issues, and Mainland China needs to obtain patent licensing from Micron of Korean memory vendors to produce DRAM. (Laoyaoba, LTN, Digitimes, press)

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Sensory

Apple has reportedly hired a team of biomedical engineers to develop noninvasive glucose sensors for integration in Apple Watch, a solution that could lead to continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels for users with diabetes.  (Apple Insider, CNBC, CN Gold, IT Bear)

Smartphones

Huawei has announced that sold over 5M units of Mate 9 are sold in just 4 months since the device’s release (Nov 2016), a 36% growth compared to Mate 8. Huawei has also sold 12M units of P9, which is a 152% growth compared to the previous flagship the P8. (Android Central, Gizmo China, My Drivers)

huawei-mate10-p9-sales

As per the survey conducted by Counterpoint, 2/3 users in India plan to upgrade to a new mobile phone in the next 12 months. This is a departure from an average of 24-30 months to under 20 months upgrade cycle. It also showed many users are looking to upgrade to a phone with 4G LTE capability and especially VoLTE ready. Almost 1/3 respondents were considering phones with a fingerprint sensor and better front facing ‘selfie’ cameras as key features in their next purchase. (Counterpoint Research, press, Laoyaoba)

counterpoint-preferred-ecommerce-platform-india

According to TalkingData, till Dec 2016, China smartphone markte size has reached 1.37B units, but quarterly growth has slowed down. However, as consumers are paying more attention on the quality, the ratio of choosing below CNY1000 device has declined to 19.7%. At the same time, choosing high-end consumer ratio has increased. Thus, dual-camera, dual-edged display, and other new technology has become a trend. (CN Beta, 91.com, TalkingData, report)

talkingdata-price-segment-2016 talkingdata-dual-camera

When Samsung unveiled Galaxy S8 / S8+ late Mar 2017, the company highlighted 2 key features: the almost bezel-less edge-to-edge design and a virtual assistant named Bixby. Just about everyone was impressed by the former. The latter? According to Forbes, not so much. (Forbes, Laoyaoba)

Even as Samsung is poised to deliver a surge in earnings to an all-time high in 2017, some investors are already starting to fret the tech giant will soon become a victim of its own success. With a market capitalization of KRW331T (USD293B), Samsung has emerged as Asia’s most valuable company and its shares have jumped 60% since end-2015, hitting a record high in late Mar 2017. (Android Headlines, Yahoo, Financial Express, Business Insider, CN Beta)

Huawei, ASUS, Xiaomi, Motorola, ZTE, and InFocus are reportedly planning to lay more emphasis on offline retail, which still accounts for around 2/3 of the overall smartphone market in India. With the much-vaunted Goods and Services Tax (GST) all set to replace the traditional Value Added Tax (VAT) from 1 Jul 2017, the difference between online and offline pricing is also expected to be eliminated, making offline retail that much more viable for these companies. (Android Headlines, India Times)

economictimes-offline-expansion-smartphones

LeEco has announced that they have started working with 2 new retail partners in the United States – Walmart and the Home Shopping Network (HSN).  (Android Headlines, Owler, Yahoo)

Sharp Z3 is officially unveiled in Taiwan – 5.7” QHD IPS LCD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, 16MP PDAF + 13MP PDAF cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Android 7.0, 3100mAh battery, NTD13990. (Gizmo China, Sharp)

sharp-z3

HTC One X10 is made official in Russia – 5.5” FHD Super LCD display, MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 processor, 16MP OIS + 8MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 6.0, 4000mAh battery, RUB19990. (HTC, GSM Arena, Tech Androids)

htc-one-x10

Wearables

Global virtual reality (VR) revenues will reach USD7.17B by the end of 2017, according to  Greenlight Insights, which is also predicting that global VR revenues will total close to USD75B by 2021. More than 65% of all VR revenues will come from headset sales in 2017. (Greenlight Insights, Fierce CableVariety, Android Headlines, 91.com)

greenlight-insights-global-vr-revenue-2017 greenlight-insights-global-vr-revenue-2017-by-category

Garmin vívosmart 3 features VO2 max estimations, which will help keep an eye on cardiovascular fitness. It also features “wellness monitoring”, which tracks heart rate variability, which will help calculate stress levels. It is priced at USD139.99. (Android Authority, Wearable, Ars Technica, im2maker)

garmin-vivosmart-3

Internet of Things

Joining Lincoln, 3 more auto brands — Acura, Jeep, and Hyundai — have unveiled Apple’s CarPlay-equipped vehicles. (Apple Insider, Detroit Free Press, CN Beta, CN Beta)

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