04-18: MediaTek has reportedly reduced its Jun~Sept 2017 foundry orders to TSMC; Gartner predicts pricing for both DRAM and NAND is expected to peak in 2Q17; etc.

Chipsets

MediaTek has reportedly reduced its Jun~Sept 2017 foundry orders to TSMC to about 20,000 units. Considering MediaTek more than 60,000 units quarterly order to TSMC, the reduction is about 30%. (Laoyaoba, UDN)

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Even though MediaTek reduce its 28nm order from TSMC, the latter still plans to expand its 28nm production in 2017. TSMC has been busy expanding production for mid-to-low end smartphone, and its expansion focusing on 28nm ULP and 12nm ULP segment. That is because of MediaTek, Qualcomm and Spreadtrum. Additionally, Mainland China  SMIC’s 28nm development is not satisfying, thus TSMC decides to expand its 28nm. (Laoyaoba, UDN)

Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) expects 28nm process technology to account for nearly 10% of its total wafer sales by the end of 2017. The proportion climbed to 3.5% in 4Q16 from 1.4% in the prior quarter and 0.3% a year earlier. SMIC’s global share of the 28nm chip market was less than 1% in 2016, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Sina, EE Focus)

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Touch Display

LG Display (LGD) virtually decided to supply Apple with plastic organic light emitting diodes (OLED) for the iPhone in 2018 and finally confirm it in a board meeting in Jun 2017. (Apple Insider, Business Korea, OLED-Info, Laoyaoba)

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Sigma Intell indicates that in 2016 China panel maker shipment area size has increased 32% on year, while Japan panel maker has dropped 10%, Korea and Taiwan have stayed flat. That’s because China’s panel makers have increased their production – BOE’s Chongqing and CSOT’s T2 fab has increased monthly production of 70K substrates to 120K; CEC Panda’s Nanjing fab 60K units monthly production has reached full capacity; LGD’s Guangzhou fab has increased from 120K to 150K units. (OfWeek, Sigmaintell, press, Laoyaoba)

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Memory

According to Gartner, PC DRAM pricing has doubled since the mid-2016. A 4GB module that cost USD12.50 has jumped to just under USD25 in Apr 2017. NAND flash ASPs increased sequentially in 2H16 and 1Q17. Pricing for both DRAM and NAND is expected to peak in 2Q17, but relief is not expected until later in the year as content increases in key applications, such as smartphones, have vendors scrambling for supply. (Gartner, press, Infoworld, TechNews)

The new, higher-speed DDR4 DRAM generation gained significant market share in 2016, representing 45% of total DRAM sales. Previously, DDR3 DRAM, including low-power versions used in tablets, smartphones, and notebook PCs, accounted for 84% of total DRAM sales in 2014 and 76% in 2015, but in 2016, DDR4 price premiums evaporated and prices fell to nearly the same ASP as DDR3 DRAMs. IC Insights expects DDR4 to become the dominant DRAM generation in 2017 with 58% market share versus 39% for DDR3. (Digitimes, IC Insights, press, Laoyaoba)

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TrendForce reports the general price increase in the PC DRAM market is growing larger than anticipated as the already tight supply situation is compounded by quality problems with products made on the leading-edge processes. Based on a preliminary survey of completed contracts for the second quarter, TrendForce estimates that the average contract price of 4GB DDR4 modules will go up by about 12.5% compared with the first quarter, from USD24 to around USD27. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press, eTekNix)

Battery

Volkswagen is making the first “payment” on its USD15B settlement with the United States as it unveiled its spending USD300M on new chargers for electric vehicles through its Electrify America subsidiary. (CN Beta, Clean Technica, The Detroit Bureau)

Der neue Volkswagen e-up!

Biometrics

Andy Hargreaves, an equity research analyst with Pacific Crest Securities does not believe Apple’s optical fingerprint module provider has firm orders for production, which suggests Apple does not have functionality of the optical fingerprint sensor ready. Additionally, he believes Apple has evaluated Synaptic’s optical fingerprint solution, but that it has not been qualified. (Apple Insider, The Motley Fool, iClarified, Mac Rumors, CNMO, 163)

Smartphones

Google and Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) have settled the antitrust case, pays USD7.85M in fines, and promises not to restrict rival search engines on Android. It was initiated following a complaint by Yandex roughly 2 years ago. (CN Beta, Bloomberg, MSN, Reuters, NASDAQ)

LeEco has finally sold its sprawling 49-acre campus in San Jose to a Chinese developer firm called Han’s Group. LeEco had paid Yahoo a whopping USD250M for acquiring this property in 2016. (CN Beta, TechPP, GizChina)

According to Weibo and Sino, Huawei, OPPO and vivo has already conquered China market. Samsung has dropped entirely, and Apple is being invaded. Weibo device active ranking—Huawei  (including Honor brand) steady raises up, OPPO / vivo increase rapidly, and 3 brands combined share is 34%, more than all the other brands combined. For newly added Android devices ranking, Huawei, OPPO and vivo combined share has increased to 40.1%, more than the other brands combined. (Sino, report, Gizmo China, My Drivers, Laoyaoba)

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According to Weibo and Sino, among Android users, the ones switching to Apple has dropped continuously for 2 years—decreased 6% on year in 2015 and then decreased 3% on year in 2016. In 2016, the ratio of Android users who would like to switch to OPPO, Huawei and vivo has increased 5%, 2% and 6%, respectively. (Sino, report, Gizmo China, My Drivers, Laoyaoba)

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Business Insider editor Jeff Dunn believes that there is no such thing as an objectively “best” smartphone. So long as it hits a baseline of good enough performance, the best total package is the one that works best for you. (CN Beta, My Drivers, Business Insider)

Coolpad’s subrand ivvi K5 is announced – 5.5” FHD naked-eye 3D display, MediaTek MT6750T processor, 13MP + 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, fingerprint sensor, 3000mAh battery, CNY2199. (CN Beta, Gizmo China, 163, Sina, TechWeb)

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Wearables

Verily Life Sciences, the health spinout of search giant Google, has unveiled a health tracking watch “Study Watch” that it plans to deploy in large-scale medical studies. It can collect heart rate, electrocardiograms, movement data, as well as a measure of the electrical conductance of the skin. It also detects ambient light and sound. (Laoyaoba, MIT Technology Review, Mobihealth News)

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Verizon Wear24 is a smartwatch equipped with 1.39” 480×480 AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, 768MB RAM, 4GB storage, Android Wear 2.0, using Verizon network, 4G LTE, 450mAh battery, and priced at USD350. (CN Beta, Verizon Wireless, The Verge)

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