04-24: Coolpad expects that operating loss for 1H17 will increase to HKD600M-800M; Sony has lifted its net profit outlook for fiscal 2017 by 181% to JPY73B; etc.

Chipsets

Samsung Electronics and its chip partner Qualcomm have already started working on a new mobile chip for its next flagship smartphone, dubbed the Galaxy S9. The new chip is highly likely to be named Snapdragon 845. (Android Central, The Investor, IT Home, CN Beta)

Touch Display

Samsung reportedly will be starting production of 7th generation AMOLED panels from 2Q18. Samsung Display has continued research to diversify its OLED portfolio to include foldable OLED, chip-on-plastic OLED and 800ppi high-resolution OLED. (Laoyaoba, Phone Arena, Tencent, The Investor)

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According to IHS, LTPS production capacity has increased in 2017, with near 35%, thus LTPS makers are reducing prices to steal the market. In Apr 2017, 5.5” LTPS panel price has dropped 7%~8%. Price drop of LTPS has further pressuring a-Si panel price—4” and 5” a-Si panel price in Apr 2017 has dropped 2%~4%. IHS estimates that the price of mobile phone panel in 2Q17 will continue to drop more than 20%. (China Times, Laoyaoba)

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As Apple prepares to introduce new iPhone with OLED screen, a Japanese refiner better known for its chain of gas stations is about to join the list. Idemitsu Kosan began experimenting with OLED in the mid-1980s, seeking to reduce its reliance on petroleum after the global oil shock. Google’s latest Pixel or a Samsung Galaxy’s blue pixels on the OLED screens are built with Idemitsu’s materials or patents. (Sina, Laoyaoba, Japan Times, press)

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is cautioning investors that Apple’s anticipated flagship “iPhone 8” could be in extremely limited supply to end 2017, thanks to the expected adoption of a number of new technologies, namely an edge-to-edge OLED display. Kuo had forecast new iPhone shipments to reach as high as 110M in 2H17. But he has now cautioned that a “worst case scenario” could cut his estimates by 15%-25%, to 80M-90M. (Apple Insider, Laoyaoba)

Back in Nov 2016, Morgan Stanley checks pointed to 50M OLED panel supply to Apple but the range has expanded to 50M-100M with production yields at Samsung the key variable. With an expected 2H17 total iPhone production plan of 100M-110M, this suggests OLED could be closer to 50% mix, versus Morgan Stanley’s prior conservative assumption of 33%. (Phone Arena, Forbes, Elecfans)

Memory

At the current DRAM price level, as Samsung Electronics’ DRAM OPM is surpassing 60% and the quarterly cost reduction is continuing, Nomura expects DRAM companies to further constrain DRAM price increase although supply shortage should continue in 2H17. If Samsung’s DRAM OPM continues to be more than 60% during the year, Nomura expects quarterly OP to keep increasing until 4Q17 from the bottom in 1Q17 thanks to stable price, cost reduction and volume increase. Nomura expect 4Q17 OP to be more than 40% higher than the 1Q17F level. (Nomura report)

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U.S. investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) is planning a joint bid for Toshiba’s chip unit with the state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ) and the state-owned Development Bank of Japan. Western Digital (WD) which has jointly invested in Toshiba’s flash memory plant in central Japan, is also considering participating in the joint bid. (Laoyaoba, Tencent, 4-Traders, Reuters, Asia Nikkei)

SK Hynix has announced the world’s fastest 2Znm 8Gb  (Gigabit) GDDR6(Graphics DDR6) DRAM. The 8Gb Graphics DRAM operates with an I/O data rate of 16Gbps (Gigabits per second) per pin, which is the industry’s fastest.  (Far East Gizmos, 4-Traders, Fudzilla, CN Beta, SK Hynix)

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Smartphones

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun emphasized Xiaomi’s achievement and innovation in the industry, and also revealed that the company will continue to create ultimate efficiency, maintain pricing at cost, even with zero margin, they do not cut corners. (CN Beta, 163, Sohu)

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According to 2016 China companies patents ranking, OPPO is ranked at number 5. However, if only consider mobile phone products patents, OPPO has the most patents in China. (Laoyaoba, 163)

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Japanese electronics giants Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and Toshiba are having rough going through transformation, and the results are mixed. (21Jingji, article, Sina)

21jingji-japanese-companies-transformation

In Aug 2014, LeEco launched “LePar Super Partner” initiative, which is an offline channels business model. Even though LeEco provide CNY15~200 compensation to its new offline distributor, it is still very hard to cover their cost. LeEco official website showed that LePar cities distribution map, in which it has shown that there were more than 3500 experience stores in China. (NBD, article, NBD, infographics, Laoyaoba, 163)

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Till end of 2016, LeEco smartphone shipment has reached 20M units. Le 2, Le 2 Pro, Le Max 2 prices are CNY1099, CNY1499 and CNY2099, respectively. If based on LeEco’s “free hardware subsidy” policy, LeEco’s phone average cost is CNY1000, and thus 20M units would be CNY20B revenues. However, in the past 2 years, LeEco has invested CNY10B in the cost. (NBD, article, NBD, Laoyaoba)

nbd-leeco-smartphone-business

A continuing supply shortage of Galaxy S8 series made by Samsung is leaving many of the early buyers in South Korea without a new phone in their hands, as the tech giant has failed to predict demand and ready stock in time. As the preorders surpassed the record 1M mark, Samsung saw its stock run out fast, unable to provide the handsets in time. (Yonhap News, Phone Arena, Gizmo China, 91.com)

comScore reveals that Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for 15% of all the 85.8M iPhones owned by Americans aged 13 and older in 4Q16. comScore reveals that 48.4M people in the US use iPhone 6 smartphones, compared to 17.8M people who place calls and socialize with friends on an iPhone 5 or earlier device. The 70M people who currently use iPhone 6 or older smartphones created by Apple could be looking to upgrade their devices with either iPhone 7 (2016) or 2017 iterations. (CN Beta, BGR, Softpedia, comScore, white paper)

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Sony has lifted its net profit outlook for fiscal 2017 by 181% to JPY73B. Sony has also revised its operating profit forecast to JPY285B (USD260M) from JPY250B.  (CN Beta, Laoyaoba, My Drivers, Bloomberg, Reuters, Barron’s, blog)

Coolpad expects that operating loss for 1H17 will increase to HKD600M-800M. It expected that sales for 1H17 will decline by over 50% as compared to same period of last year. It continues to invest in research and development and marketing activities, resulting in no improvement in costs and expenditures in 1H17. It has expected results mainly because the company has not launched its new products in pipeline of 2017, which led to a decline in its sales. (Laoyaoba, 163, EE World, Reuters, HKEXnews)

coolpad-1h17-revenues-drop-50-percent

Gionee M6S Plus is announced – 6” FHD AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 processor, 12MP + 8MP cameras, 6GB RAM, 64 / 256GB storage, Android 6.0 (Amigo 3.5 OS),  fingerprint sensor, 6020mAh battery, from CNY3499. (GSM Arena, NDTV)

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Wearables

Apple is believed to be already working on an AR glasses prototype. This is based on an employee injury reports titled “Impact Descriptions Reported in [Santa Clara Valley] from Last Month” compiled by a Safety contractor and leaked to media. (CNET, Gizmodo, Softpedia, TechTimes, Laoyaoba)

According to Crunchbase, a total of 26 companies with AR or VR-focused businesses raised a disclosed funding round in 1Q17. Together, the firms raised just over USD200M in 1Q17. That result compares to 29 companies in 1Q16 raising just over USD1B. 1Q17 also marks the lowest quarterly number of financings and investment total in over a year. (Crunchbase, press, Shacknews, Laoyaoba)

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University of Utah has developed ‘smart glasses’ with liquid-based lenses that flex to refocus on whatever the wearer is viewing. It is designed to mimic the behavior of the eye’s natural lens – flexing to focus on wherever an individual is looking: Near, far or in-between.  (Ubergizmo, BGR, AZO Optics, iMobile)

scientists-develop-smart-glasses-with-liquid-glasses

Sennheiser, a German audio technology company, is working with Samsung Electronics on the AMBEO smart headset to make it available for Android devices, the company’s CEO Andreas Sennheiser said.  (Ubergizmo, Korea Herald, 163)

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