06-24: Imagination Technologies has put itself up for sale; Foxconn is reportedly planning to invest USD10B or more across several U.S. states; etc.

Chipsets

Imagination Technologies said in Apr 2017 that Apple has notified it of its decision to develop its own graphics chips and would no longer use Imagination’s processing designs in 15 months to two years time. Imagination Technologies has lost 70%of its value following a dispute with its biggest customer Apple, said it has put itself up for sale. (CN Beta, VentureBeat)

Samsung has announced it started mass production of the Exynos i T200, a solution for the Internet of Things. The chipset is built on a 28-nanometer High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process and features Wi-Fi connectivity. (CN Beta, Samsung, GSM Arena, The Inquirer, Business Wire)

samsung-exynos-i-t200

TSMC has regained chip orders from Qualcomm for baseband chips produced on its 7nm process, but not application processors, according to Digitimes. TSMC has disclosed the second generation of its 7nm process using EUV will be ready for volume production in 2019.  (Digitimes, press, Sohu, Sina, KK News)

China brands for instance Huawei and Xiaomi already have their own SoCs, and wondering if OPPO has the similar plan. OPPO Taiwan VP He Tao’an indicates that the company currently has no plan. (EE World, Laoyaoba, Sina)

oppo-no-processor

Rohm Semiconductor and A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME), are jointly developing an artificial intelligence (AI) chip to boost efficiency in predictive maintenance for smart factories. (Laoyaoba, Rohm, Evertiq)

rohm-a-star-ai-processor

Touch Display

Apple’s main assembly partner, Foxconn, is reportedly planning to invest USD10B or more across several U.S. states, although the company is still deciding on which ones —including where to put a USD7B display plant. (Apple Insider, Bloomberg, CN Beta)

LG announced the world’s first flexible, transparent 77” OLED display, with an aspect ratio of 16:9, has a UHD resolution of 3840×2160, offers up to 40% transparency, and can be fixed with a curvature of up to 80º. (CN Beta, The Verge)

lg-transparent-display

LG Display (LGD) has confirmed that it will fill the entire P10 plant in Paju with organic light emitting diode (OLED) facilities which will become the company’s next growth engine. LG Display decided to shift the P10 plant to a base that can produce only large and small and mid-size OLED panels and plans to cast a vote for the investment plan at its regular board meeting to be held on the 25th of next month. (Laoyaoba, Business Korea)

According to Digitimes, Flat panel makers in the Greater China area may not be able to start volume production of TDDI LCD panels with COF solutions until year-end 2017 as major LCD driver IC suppliers are not expected to be able to supply COF solutions until the end of Jul 2017, while there is also a bottleneck in the PCB supply chain to supply flexible PCBs supporting COF production, and back-end module makers are also reluctant to commit new investments to support build-ups of new technology. (Digitimes, press)

According to IHS Markit, flexible AMOLED panel is produced mainly at Gen-6 factory, while most commercial used rigid AMOLED is Gen-5 factory. Thus, the 25% cost gap is due to the generation difference of the factory. But, if rigid AMOLED panel is also produced in Gen-6 factory, its cost could be reduced about 20%. In other words, if both flexible and rigid AMOLED are produced at Gen-6 factory, the price gap between two panels is going to be bigger than 25%. (UC, Laoyaoba, DS360)

ihs-rigid-flexible-oled-cost

Camera

At Caltech, engineers have developed a new camera design that replaces the lenses with an ultra-thin optical phased array (OPA). The OPA does computationally what lenses do using large pieces of glass: it manipulates incoming light to capture an image. (Engadget, Caltech, 188cf)

caltech-opa

Memory

Increasing demand for AMOLED panels from smartphone brands and the rising production of ICs for TDDI has propelled the growth of the NOR Flash market in the recent period, according to TrendForce. Currently, the global production capacity of NOR Flash amounts to just 88,000 pieces of 12” wafers per month. NOR Flash supply will remain tight because related components require a high level of customization and there are difficulties in ramping up production. TrendForce estimates that prices of NOR Flash will rise by about 20% sequentially in 3Q17 due to supply scarcity. (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn], press)

trendforce-nor-flash-suppliers-2016

Sensory

Valve has released some details for its upcoming virtual reality knuckle controllers. These new ones utilize capacitive sensors to detect hand and finger movements and gestures, as well as different grip types. (Pocket Lint, Upload VR, Digital Trends, PC Gamer, 17173)

valve-knuckles-vr-controller-2

Biometrics

Analysts John Donovan, Steve Mullane, and Paul Peterson of the boutique research firm BlueFin Research Partners indicate that  Broadcom, Lumentum , Finisar , and Viavi Solutions as likely winners for their role in supply parts for Apple’s “iPhone 8”. The sensor set-up for 3-D sensing, a basic capability to enable augmented reality, is going to Lumentum and Finisar mostly. (Tencent, 52RD, Laoyaoba, Barron’s, blog, Phone Arena, Investors)

barrons-iphone-8-facial-recognition

Samsung’s patent describes an original authentication method that could be used with a “head mounted display device” such as the Gear VR. The system relies on a bunch of sensors detecting physical variables like pressure, bending and stretching. (Android Headlines, Android Community, Phone Arena, SlashGear, Sohu, C114)

samsung-patent-vr-head-recognition

Connectivity

Qualcomm president Derek Aberle indicates that the commercialization of 5G could be brought forward to 2019 from 2020. (Laoyaoba, KK News, UDN, Taipei Times)

qualcomm-derek-aberle-5g-2019

Smartphones

Huawei, OPPO and vivo, have quietly lowered their smartphone shipments goals set for 2017 due to difficulties ramping up shipments significantly in non-China markets, according to sources from Taiwan-based IC design houses, cited by Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, CN Beta)

In regards Indian smartphone is growing rapidly, OPPO, Xiaomi and other vendors are expanding their manufacturing factory in India. This will become the main channel and driver for Taiwanese components suppliers entering the Indian market. However, considering the smartphone market in India is distinct, channels are different, this would bring some challenges to the vendors. (Laoyaoba, Sigmaintell, Digitimes)

sigmaintell-oppo-xiaomi-india-factory

Snapchat has reportedly bought Zenly for USD250M~350M in mostly cash and some stock in a deal that closed in late May 2017. Snapchat will keep Zenly running independently, similar to how Facebook lets Instagram run independently. (TechCrunch, Business Insider, DoNews, Yesky, 36Kr)

snap-acquires-zenly

ZTE Small Fresh 5 is unveiled – 5” HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, rear dual 13MP-2MP + front 5MP cameras,3 / 4GB RAM, 16 / 32GB storage, Android 7.0, 2500mAh battery, from CNY999. (Android Headlines, Sohu, CNMO)

zte-smart-fresh-5

Wearables

Google has announced a new 180º VR format, including 3rd-party cameras that can use to shoot in it.  Called VR180, it is collaboration between YouTube and Google’s Daydream VR unit. There is a new line of VR cameras that comply with VR180’s certification standards. (Pocket Lint, TechNews, YouTube, The Verge)

google-vr180

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