05-12: MediaTek allegedly has a large cache of Helio X20 inventory; LG Innotek will reportedly supply facial recognition camera modules for Apple; etc.


Specialty IC foundry Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) is looking to expand its 8” fabs, and has approached several memory makers to buy their second-hand equipment, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

MediaTek allegedly has a large cache of Helio X20 inventory which is due to the fact that patronage for the chip is not enough to clear up the inventory. Helio X20 is the world’s first deca-core processor and is built on a 20nm process. The Helio X20 comes with a unit cost of USD20 which is not too much compared to other high-end chipsets. But overall demand for the X20 is said to have slowed down resulting in the build up. (CN Beta, Laoyaoba, My Drivers, Gizmo China)

Nvidia has announced a partnership with Toyota Motor, saying Toshiba would use Nvidia’s artificial intelligence technology to develop self-driving vehicle systems planned for the next few years. Toyota will use Nvidia’s Drive PX artificial intelligence platform for its autonomous vehicles planned for market introduction, Nvidia Chief Executive Jensen Huang said. (CN Beta, VentureBeat, Asia Nikkei, 4-Traders)


Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled an ambitious new processor for artificial intelligence applications, the Tesla V100. It has 21B transistors, and it is an order of magnitude more powerful than the 15B transistor Pascal-based processor that Nvidia announced a year ago. It is a huge chip, 815mm2. It has 5,120 CUDA processing cores, and it performs at 7.5 FP64 teraflops. (Laoyaoba, VentureBeat, AnandTech, article, Hot Hardware)


Intel Fellow, Communication and Devices Group Chief Technologist Geng Wu indicates that Intel’s first 5G modem will enter trial run in 2H17, and will launch samples. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek)


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has secured 12nm chip orders from Nvidia, MediaTek, Silicon Motion Technology and HiSilicon for the fabless firms’ different chip products, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes, Yahoo)


According to Digitimes, TSMC has officially begun production of the Apple A11 SoC, set to feature in the Apple iPhone 8 later in 2017. TSMC apparently wanted to begin mass production in April but faced issues with yields. (Ubergizmo, Digitimes, 9to5MacCN Beta)

Dutch chip vendor NXP Semiconductor became the world’s leader in microcontroller sales in 2016 by virtue of its acquisition of rival Freescale Semiconductor. That mantle could well belong to Qualcomm in 2018, assuming its USD39B acquisition of NXP is finalized by the end of 2017 as planned. (EE Times, EET Taiwan, Laoyaoba)


Touch Display

Foxconn Electronics is talking with the US federal government and state governments about investing in the US and is likely to set up a 6G TFT-LCD panel factory there to produce small- to medium-size displays for IoT applications, including automotive, medical care and mobile terminal displays, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, CNBC, Yahoo, Sina, CNFOL, Caijing)


GeekBar has torn down Smartisan Nut Pro, realized that its dual camera module is supplied by Q-Tech (a supplier for Apple iPhone). The 2 image sensors are Sony IMX258, which is used by Xiaomi 5S Plus launched in 2016. (My Drivers, CN Beta, TechWeb)

geekbar-smartisan-nut-pro-dual-camera-module geekbar-smartisan-nut-pro-dual-camera-module-2


Intel announced two new Intel 3D NAND solid state drives for data centers, the Intel SSD DC P4500 Series and Intel SSD DC P4600 Series, along with reinforcing its commitment to expanding 3D NAND supply. Intel is also expanding Fab 68 in Dalian, China, increasing its 3D NAND supply to better meet the storage needs of customers.  (Laoyaoba, Sina, AnandTech, CDR Labs)


Toshiba has told partner Western Digital to stop interfering in plans to sell its memory chip business, warning it may take legal action to prevent the U.S. company from derailing the sale. Western Digital became Toshiba’s manufacturing partner in the flash-memory business when it acquired SanDisk for USD15.8B. (Financial Times, Japan Times, Barron’s, Bloomberg, Sina)


Toshiba is reportedly considering extending the deadline for the second round of bidding for its chip business, as its partner, Western Digital, continues to object to the sale. The potential delay in the process of the sale of the chip operation could derail its turnaround efforts, as the sale is crucial to raise cash to make up for huge losses from its U.S. nuclear business. (Financial Times, Japan Times, UDN, Laoyaoba)


New research conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, in collaboration with Apple Watch app Cardiogram, shows Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor can aid in the detection of atrial fibrillation, a common heart arrhythmia that can lead to stroke. (Apple Insider, 163)



LG Innotek will reportedly supply facial recognition camera modules for Apple’s upcoming iPhone. The company’s new facility investment worth KRW269.7B (USD238.50M) will be dedicated to Apple’s orders. The initial deal size is estimated at about KRW200B.  (Apple Insider, The Investor, CN Beta)


Sprint will launch a 5G network by 2020. That’s according to both SoftBank, the network’s parent company, and Qualcomm, which announced a plan to develop the technologies that will power the next generation of cell service. (Digital Trends, Sprint, CN Beta)

Mobile operators will spend more than USD21B on standardized 5G New Radio (NR) infrastructure by the end of 2025, according to SNS Research. Pre-standards 5G work is already well underway and SNS Research has estimated that by the end of 2017, pre-standards 5G network investments are expected to account for over USD250B. (Fierce Wireless, Android Headlines, SNS Telecom, Sohu, Huanqiu)


According to Strategy Analytics, Apple iPhone 7 was the world’s best-selling smartphone model in 1Q17. OPPO R9s was the star performer, shipping 9M units globally and becoming the world’s third most popular smartphone model. (Android Headlines, Gizmo China, Strategy Analytics, press, Phone Arena, NBD, iFeng)


Apple reportedly has quietly reintroduced the discontinued, 2.5-year-old iPhone 6 in several Asian countries and Eastern Europe in Mar 2017. Apple is acknowledging that smartphones have transitioned from elite niche products into mature technologies, owned by everyone and upgraded infrequently. And that means that boring reliability — not innovation — will define the iPhone’s future. (Bloomberg, UDN)

According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), in Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, Apple iPhone 5s is ranked as the top premium smartphone while iPhone 6 occupies the second place in these states, except West Bengal where Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is the second-most favorite smartphone in the premium category. (Live Mint, PC Mag)


According to Digitimes, as China’s smartphone market is seeing weakening growth, China-based smartphone vendors including OPPO, Xiaomi and Huawei, have been aggressively expanding their products into overseas markets. Digitimes Research estimated that China-based handset makers are expected to ship a total of 151.8M smartphones in 2Q17, down 2.7% from the previous quarter. (Digitimes, press)


HTC has reported revenues of NTD4.713B (USD156.14M) for Apr 2017, down 9.29% on month and 18.03% on year. For the first four months of 2017, revenues totaled NTD19.245B, decreasing 6.45% on year. The poor performance for Apr 2017 indicated that sales of the company’s latest HTC U Ultra and U Play family products were lower than expected. (Digitimes, press, GSM Arena, HTC, Sina, Sohu)


China’s Premier Li Keqiang has called for Foxconn Electronics to place its high-end research and development projects and even its whole industrial chain in China. Li is reportedly to have told Foxconn chairman Terry Gou that the China government will continue to enhance its opening-up policy and optimize its business environment.  (Digitimes, press, Gov, Zaobao, UDN)


Xiaomi is opening its first Mi Home store in India. Located in Phoenix Market City Mall, Bengaluru, the store will allow customers to try out Xiaomi products before purchasing. Xiaomi plans to open 100 new stores across India within the next 2 years. Xiaomi currently has 70 stores in China. (My Drivers, Business Today, GSM Arena, Business Standard)


Alibaba’s Alipay is expanding beyond the Far East, and is available to use across the U.S. The expansion comes as a result of a deal between Alipay and First Data, and there are around 4M merchants that will accept Alipay at launch. (Digital Trends, Bloomberg, ZOL, iFeng, Hexun, Sina)

Samsung Electronics has named a new head of mobile marketing and a new China chief as part of an executive reshuffle designed to prevent a “decline” in momentum following the arrest of its vice chairman. Executive vice president Choi Kyung-sik is now leading the mobile division’s marketing office, while the post’s predecessor, Lee Sang-chul, has been shifted to southeast Asia operations. (Financial Times, ZDNet, Reuters, TechWeb)

ZTE and Cricket Wireless have teamed up to launch Blade X Max – 6” FHD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, Android 7.1, fingerprint sensor, 3400mAh battery, USD149. (Android Central, 9to5Google)


Micromax Canvas 2 (2017) is launched in India – 5” HD display, MediaTek MT6737 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 16GB storage, Android 7.0, 3050mAh battery, INR11,999. (Android Headlines, NDTV)


OUKITEL K10000 Pro with 10,000mAh battery – 5.5” FHD display, MediaTek MT6750T processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 10,ooomAh battery. (Engadget, The Verge, Android Headlines, The Hans India)


PCs / Tablets

Wistron shipped 1.4M notebooks, decreasing 26.0% on month, while Inventec shipped 1.3M units, slipping 18.8%, in Apr 2017. (Digitimes, press, Apple Daily, CNYES)


Compal Electronics has announced it shipped 2.6M notebooks and all-in-one (AIO) PCs in Apr 2017, down 35% from March’s four million units, while its consolidated revenues were down 22.85% on month to reach NTD61.03B. However, compared to the same month a year ago, the amount was up 31.8%. (Digitimes, press, China Times, Laoyaoba)


According to Superdata Research, Samsung Gear VR sold 782,000 units of the device across the world in 1Q17.  The second most popular headset on the market was Sony PlayStation VR, which “only” sold 375,000 units. Google Daydream View came in third with sales of 170,000 units, followed by the HTC Vive (95,000 units) and Oculus Rift (64,000 units).  (GSM Arena, Superdata Research, VR Source, CN Beta)


The General Manager of Xiaomi’s VR platform Thomas Tang announced that Xiaomi has sold over 1M Mi VR headsets in the last 6 months. This news follows Samsung’s announcement that it has sold 782K Gear VR units in 1Q17. (Gizmo China, HiAPK, Xinmin)


According to Strategy Analytics, in 1Q17 Tizen surpassed Android Wear in market share, snatching 19% to Android Wear’s 18% and advancing against Android Wear for the first time since 4Q15. (Android Authority, Tizen Experts, Strategy Analytics, press, IT Home)


Snapchat’s “Other revenue” category that is mostly from Spectacles brought in around USD4.5M in revenue in 4Q16, and over USD8.3M in revenue in 1Q17. Ignoring other possible revenue drivers in this category, at the USD130 price point this revenue means Snap would have sold around 34,600 pairs of Spectacles in 4Q16 and 63,800 pairs in 1Q17.  (CN Beta, Re/code, TechCrunch, Business Insider)

Google announced acquiring Owlchemy Labs, the VR-focused studio. Owlchemy will keep releasing VR games for multiple platforms, but with backing from Google — similar to Tilt Brush studio Skillman & Hackett, which Google acquired in 2015.  (TechNews, The Verge)

Internet of Things

Microsoft announced 141M monthly active users for its Cortana assistant. In addition to the recently announced Harmon-Kardon Invoke, HP and Intel are also planning to launch Cortana-enabled devices. Microsoft is launching a public preview of the Cortana Skills Kit, which allows developers to bring third-party features to Microsoft’s virtual assistant. (Liliputing, Android Central, Sina, CN Beta)


About 86% of Americans say they know what the term “smart home” means, but not nearly as many are willing to pay for one. Roughly 59% say that cost is the main barrier to adopting smart home technology, according to a survey by technology consultancy firm Finn Partners. The survey found varying levels of excitement for technologies such as smart phones and driverless cars, while more people expressed interest in telemedicine. (VentureBeat, Builder Online, Atman360)

Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle unit Waymo announced that  it managed to surpass 3M miles of self-driving on public roads throughout the United States. (Android Headlines, The Verge, Re/code, 163)

Andy Rubin’s Playground Studio is launching new smart home assistant camera Lighthouse. Lighthouse uses a 3D sensor, video camera, computer vision and deep learning. The camera  includes a RGB camera, 3D sensor, speaker, microphone, and siren.  (CN Beta, SlashGear, Android Police, Lighthouse, VentureBeat)


According to a new study from the journal “Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies,” people are willing to pay about USD3,500 for partial vehicle automation, and about USD4,900 for full autonomy. The study defined partial autonomy as being similar to today’s advanced driver-assistance systems such as automatic emergency braking. (Science Direct, Motor Trend, CN Beta)

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