06-22: Apple has broadened its legal offensive against Qualcomm ; Xiaomi 2nd generation SoC, “Surge S2” is reportedly near mass production; etc.


Qualcomm is reportedly working on a new processor, dubbed the Snapdragon 450 (SDM450). The SDM450 is also rumored to be built on ARM-Cortex A53 architecture. (Android Headlines, Gizbot, GSM Arena, CN Beta)


Apple has broadened its legal offensive against Qualcomm , arguing in a court filing that some of the chip supplier’s patents were invalid and that its business model violates patent law. (CNET, Laoyaoba, Bloomberg, WSJ)

In a move which it claims will ‘open the path to 1T devices’, ARM has expanded its DesignStart programme with the addition of the Cortex-M3 core. Previously, those signed up to DesignStart – which supports the development of custom SoCs for a range of applications – only had access to the Cortex. (Laoyaoba, Design Reuse, New Electronics, EE Focus)

arm-designstart-2 arm-designstart

The sharp increase in demand from cryptocurrency miners has rapidly depleted excess channel inventory for Nvidia and AMD graphics cards. Ether’s current total value of USD33B is within striking distance of Bitcoin’s USD44B.  Pacific Crest expects desktop graphics card shipments to be up 10%~20% sequentially in 2Q17, after previously forecasting a 10%!15% decline due to lower gaming-related demand during the seasonally weak quarter. (CN Beta, CNBC, CNBC, The Street, Bloomberg, JRJ)

Intel is discontinuing its Linux-ready, Atom-based Intel Joule and Intel Edison COMs, its Quark-based Galileo Gen 2 SBC, and its Recon Jet sports eyewear. (Leiphone, Laoyaoba, Linux Gizmos, ZDNet)


Intel is teaming up with the International Olympic Committee on “future experiences” for the Olympics. The new partnership, which will run through the 2024 games, is set to focus on tech like virtual reality, 5G connectivity and drones. (Engadget, Olympic, TechCrunch, CNET, Sohu, 36Kr)


The ongoing slump in shipments of standard PCs along with the drop-off in tablets are setting the stage for handset IC sales to finally surpass IC revenues in total personal computing systems in 2017, according to IC Insights. IC sales for handsets are projected to grow 16% in 2017 to USD84.4B, while the IC market for personal computing systems including desktop and notebook PCs, tablets and thin-client Internet-centric units is now forecast to increase 9% to USD80.1B in 2017, said IC Insights. (Digitimes, IC Insights, press, EE Focus)


Taiwan-based GlobalWafers is teaming up with Japan-based Ferrotec to ramp up new 8” wafer capacity, according to company chairperson Doris Hsu. Production capacity at the new 8-inch wafer plant will expand gradually to as much as 450,000 wafers per month from the current 150,000 units, said Hsu, adding that plans for expansion will depend on customer orders and the arrival of new equipment. (Digitimes, press, Money DJ, TechNews, Laoyaoba)

Xiaomi 2nd generation SoC, “Surge S2” is reportedly near mass production. It is designed by Pinecone, manufactured by TSMC using 16nm process, using architecture of octa-core 5-mode. It expects to enter mass production in 3Q17, and will be used in presumably Mi 6S or 6C in 4Q17. (KK News, TechNews, Android Headlines)

Touch Display

TCL Corp indicates that currently t1 and t2 production line for LCD TV panel products, Gen-11 is for OLED, but t1 and t2 both can be changed to OLED production in the future. Currently company’s t3 is for LTPS-LCD, and new t4 line is for flexible AMOLED. (Laoyaoba, CNFOL, East Money, Sohu)

Apple reportedly is testing BOE’s display equipment, and  may adopt BOE’s OLED panel for its next-generation iPhone in 2018. IHS Markit estimates that in 2019 BOE will become the world’s biggest AMOLED panel supplier. (Laoyaoba, Sohu, OfWeek)

Varjo is building a headset for creative professionals that will provide a premium VR experience, according to Urho Konttori, the firm’s founder and CEO. The headset is called the 20|20, after the term for perfect vision for the human eye.  (VentureBeat, CN Beta)


The next addition to Samsung’s Gear VR lineup of virtual reality (VR) headsets will reportedly have a pixel density of 2,000 pixels per inch (PPI). Samsung Display has asked partner supplier to develop a 2,000 ppi (pixels per inch) Fine Metal Mask for a new Gear VR set.  (Android Headlines, Android Authority, Naver, SamMobile, JRJ, CNMO, Phone Arena)

Innolux started development of Mini LED technology 1 year ago and expects to get the technology ready for commercial application. Innolux sees Mini LED as a predecessor to Micro LED in terms of technological evolution, according to company executive vice president Ting Chin-lung. Innolux expects to offer Mini LED panels with flexible substrates for many innovative uses, such as automotive displays, in 3-5 years. (Digitimes, press, LTN, Investors, Money DJ, China Times)


LG Display has recently purchased 2 additional units of Canon Tokki’s vacuum machine, a key equipment for the display maker to beef up OLED production.  LG Display will install the 2 machines in Dec 2017 / Feb 2018. (Laoyaoba, Patently Apple, The Investor)

Epistar Corp has announced it is taking aim at the growing micro-LED display industry, saying that over the next 1~2 years the next-generation chips would start to be used in virtual and augmented reality devices and wearables. Epistar chairman Lee Biing-jye indicates that over the next 2 years, micro-LED will be used in wearables and smartphones, while in 3~5 years it would be employed in larger devices such as TVs. (Laoyaoba, UDN, China Times, Taipei Times)



Macronix is the leader of NOR Flash, which owns 24% of the market share. NOR Flash is 58% of Macronix’s 1Q17 revenues, which is more than 23% of ROM and 11% of NAND Flash. Currently NOR Flash is in shortage, the company’s president Lu Zhiyuan indicates that if shortage reaches 5%~10%, the price will continue to increase. (Laoyaoba, UDN, UDN)

Nomura analyst CW Chung indicates that SK Hynix’s profit will increase 3-fold in 2017. (Barron’s, blog, Laoyaoba)


Samsung Electronics has begun volume production of 64-layer, 256Gb V-NAND flash memory for use with an expanding line-up of storage solutions for server, PC and mobile applications, according to the company. Samsung intends for its volume production of the 64-layer V-NAND chip, which is widely referred to as 4th generation V-NAND, to cover more than 50% of its monthly NAND flash production by the end of 2017. (Digitimes, press, Sohu, TechNews)


Tobii’s sister division Tobii Pro is extending its eye-tracking technology that enables gamers to control computer games with their eyes to track eye movements in virtual reality headsets. Tobii Pro has integrated its eye-tracking technology with the HTC Vive headset.  (VentureBeat, ZDNet, VR Focus, VR Sat)


Augmented Pixels has created a new way to navigate using computer vision, and LG Electronics is announcing it has built a 3D camera module that uses that technology to assist autonomous robots. The module can also be used for inside-out tracking for augmented reality and virtual reality headsets. Augmented Pixels calls the technology simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM). (VentureBeat, Haose VR)



Innolux will begin volume production of a flexible fingerprint sensor product co-develop with Norway-based Next Biometrics for smart card applications in 3Q17, according to a joint announcement by the two companies. Innolux will use its 3.5G plant in Chunan, northern Taiwan to produce flexible panels for the thermal fingerprint sensors. (Money DJ, CTimes, TechNews, Digitimes, press)


Cowen & Co.’s analyst Timothy Arcuri indicates that there “still appears to be 1-2 months delay for the OLED model” of Apple’s next iPhone, presumably an iPhone 8, as the details of how to make a new fingerprint sensor for the device are “still being worked out.”(CN Beta, Barron’s, blog, CNET)



In 2016, there were 240M units of smartphones in China using metal casing, with Tongda Group owns 25% of the share (60M units shipped). Lens Technology, Biel Crystal, Truly, AAC are focusing on 3D glass, while Tri-Ring, Everwin, and Sunlord are focusing on ceramic. (Sina, Zhitong, article)



Deutsche Telekom is reportedly currently preparing a plan for a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile US. (GSM Arena, TMO News, DSL Reports, Handelsblatt)


As production for Apple’s new iPhones is expected to begin in 3Q17 and many Android smartphone vendors will also launch new models in 2H17, demand for handset components will increase significantly, and may result in shortages, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Apple Insider, Tencent)

7 of the world’s top-10, and 10 of the top-14 smartphone companies listed for 2016 were headquartered in China. 2 South Korea-, 1 US- and 1 Taiwan-based companies made up the remainder of the companies, according to IC Insights. Combined, the 10 top-14 smartphone suppliers that are based in China shipped 587M smartphones in 2016, a 15% increase from the 511M smartphones these 10 companies shipped in 2015.  (Digitimes, IC Insights, press, Sohu)


Google has been the subject of several antitrust probes in the EU surrounding its display advertisements, its Android operating system and its comparison shopping service. The fine in this case would apply to Google’s practices with comparison shopping. (Laoyaoba, Dididay, CNBC, WSJ)

OnePlus 5 is officially launched – 5.5” FHD AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, rear dual 16MP-20MP + front 16MP cameras, 6 / 8GB RAM, 64 /128GB UFS 2.1, Android 7.1, USB C, fingerprint sensor, 3300mAh battery. (Android Central, Gizmo China, The Verge, TechCrunch, Forbes)



ODM Quanta Computer has been engaged in R&D of VR, AR and MR solutions through cooperation with clients, as well as cloud-based devices and services specifically for use in medical care through cooperation with Taipei Medical University, according to company chairman Barry Lam. (Digitimes, press, China Times)

Play Labs, a summer accelerator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), announced its first batch of 13 startups that are developing augmented reality and virtual reality technology. The focus of the startups will be to develop “playful tech” in a variety of industries.  (VentureBeat, Play Labs, Gamasutra, Zaker)


According to IDC, vendors will ship a total of 125.5M wearable devices in 2017, marking a 20.4% increase from the 104.3M units shipped in 2016. From there, the wearables market will nearly double before reaching a total of 240.1M units shipped in 2021, resulting in a 5-year CAGR of 18.2%. (IDC, press, Laoyaoba)


According to Shenzhen City Consumers Council, in China more than 80% of smartwatches for kids are produced in Shenzhen. To stop the messiness in the market, the council is drafting “Kid’s smartwaches technology standard” with a number of main vendors such as Abardeen, Okii and Huawei, expects to compeete on 30 Dec 2017. (CN Beta, KK News, Sina, Tencent, SZ315)

HTC has shown off technology from 26 new companies at its Vive X accelerator demo day in San Francisco. HTC has set up a USD100M fund to invest in VR companies, and it has made 60 investments so far across 5 different accelerator locations in China, the U.S., Taiwan, and Israel. (VentureBeat)


PCs / Tablets

Kodak Tablet 7 and 10 are launched, and manufactured, sold and distributed by Archos, powered by MediaTek MT8321 processor, 8MP + 2MP cameras, 1GB RAM, Android 7.0: 7 – 7” 1024×600 display, 16GB storage, 2500mAh battery, EUR80. 10 – 10.1” 1280×800 display, 32GB storage, 6000mAh battery, EUR120. (GSM Arena, Kodak)

kodak-7 kodak-tablet-10

Internet of Things

According to IP court in Beijing, Gree is suing Midea on their air-conditioner products, claiming that the latter has infringed the related patents. (My Drivers, Sina, Caijing, Tencent)


Worldwide TV shipments fell slightly more than expected in 1Q17, declining 4.7% to 46.7M units as slowing price erosion led to a weakening consumer demand according to IHS Markit. Despite this, the growth in average screen size continues to be strong rising 4%, to just over 42”. The growth in larger-size categories comes as a result of the ASP decline in large sizes, such as 55” and 65”, into more affordable price ranges. (IHS Markit, press)


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