07-04: Apple is reportedly testing 3D face scanning technology that will enable users to unlock their iPhone; Indian government is set to slap a customs duty of at least 10% on imported mobile phones under the GST regime; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm is “exploiting” its CDMA patents, making profit of the industry supply chain. That is why the industry does not like Qualcomm’s action, replacing CDMA with OFDM, causing Qualcomm falling from its 4G leadership. Because of changing the technical foundation, and also the 4G usage experience is good, eventually CDMA will exit the industry. (My Drivers, Sina, Leiphone, article)

Xiaomi and Nokia are said to have been in talks in recent times. Nokia will reportedly use Xiaomi’s Surge S1 processor in its new mid-range phone. The Surge S1 is an octa-core processor with 4 x Cortex A53 cores clocked at 2.2GHz and another four clocked at 1.4GHz.  (Gizmo China, My Drivers, Laoyaoba)

Touch Display

Many enterprises and research organizations have been developing Micro LED technology, and feasibility of using red (R), green (G) and blue (B) Micro LED chips simultaneously for full-color display is key to commercialization of the technology. An alternative to RGB Micro LED technology is using blue-light Micro LED chips matched with quantum dot materials or special fluorescent powders to reach full-color display. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

According to IDC, in 1Q17 large-sized LCD panel is entering slow season, shipment reaching 190M units, a 8.3% decrease on quarter. It expects 2017 shipment would drop 2%. However panel price is high, and with this trend, panel makers are going to benefit in 2017. (Laoyaoba, CNYES, FPDisplay, DS-360)

Summer Sprout Technology held an opening in Zhongguancun Technology Park Beijing. The company aims to break down the wall of OLED material supplies. The company has invested CNY100M for its first phase. (Sohu, Laoyaoba, DS-360, EE World, Takungpao)

Camera

Smartphone manufacturers integrate a 2nd camera for several reasons, primarily to improve image quality and to be able to extract depth information for applications such as DSLR-like shallow depth-of-field effect (Bokeh). Image Fusion is the process of combining two or more input images into a single image. The main reason for combining the images is to get a more informative output image. (EE Times, article)

Memory

Toshiba is preparing to raise money through a flotation of Landis+Gyr, one of the world’s biggest makers of electricity meters, as part of the Japanese group’s scramble to avert financial collapse. Switzerland-based Landis+Gyr was bought by Toshiba for USD2.3B in 2011, and people involved in the process said that the crisis-hit group was looking to recoup a similar sum from its disposal. (CN Beta, Financial Times, Bloomberg)

Niche-memory IC design house Etron Technology will transform itself into a dedicated developer of specialized DRAM memory chips, according to company chairman Nicky Lu. Etron rolled out 8~9 30nm DRAM products in 3Q16, Lu continued. Production of the devices has seen improvement in yield rates, and the company is looking to return to profitability monthly during 2H17. (Laoyaoba, Digitimes, press)

3D NAND has successfully been in the market since Aug 2013 with expectation that it will rapidly reduce the cost of NAND and replace planar NAND, despite 3D NAND still being more expensive than planar NAND. (EE Times, article)

Samsung plans to invest at least KRW21.4T (USD18.63B) in South Korea as it seeks to extend its lead in memory chips and next-generation displays for smartphones. Samsung said the spending includes KRW14.4T by 2021 on its new NAND factory in Pyeongtaek. It will invest KRW6T in a new semiconductor production line in Hwaseong, but did not elaborate on timing or product. (Laoyaoba, My Drivers, Reuters, Korea Herald)

SK Hynix has started mass-producing 4th generation (72-layer) 3D NAND flash wafers and achieved ‘golden yield’. Productivity of 72-layer 3D NAND flash memories will be increased by 30% compared to previous method and will be similar to productivity of Samsung Electronics’ 4th generation (64-layer) 3D NAND flash memories, which are being mass-produced starting from Jun 2017.  (Laoyaoba, ET News)

Biometrics

Apple is reportedly testing 3D face scanning technology that will enable users to unlock their iPhone instead of having to rely on a fingerprint sensor. The face scanning technology may also be used for logging into sites, authenticating payments, and launching secure apps. (Ubergizmo, Bloomberg, 36Kr, CN Beta)

Smartphones

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo lists his 10 predictions for the new Apple iPhone models coming in 2017. (Street Insider, Apple Insider, GSM Arena, CN Beta)

China Merchant Bank (Shanghai branch) filed a property protection with Shanghai Higher People’s Court, asking to freeze LeEco’s founder Jia Yueting assets totaling CNY1.23B. (CN Beta, Laoyaoba, SCMP, Sina, China News)

Transsion’s subsidies Tecno and itel have gained 40% of the market share in Africa. The company has exceeded Chinese brands, and also international brands such as Samsung and Apple, becoming the king of Africa. (Sohu, KK News, Laoyaoba, XKB, article)

While old is subjective, a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE says that a new standard of aging means that 70 is really the new 60. According to the paper, aging should reflect how long people in a country are likely to live rather than actual age by birth year. (CN Beta, Science Daily, Medical Daily, Futurity)

Vertu has applied to the courts to be placed in administration after running out of money to pay staff and suppliers. In a witness statement filed in the High Court in London, the company’s last remaining director Jean-Charles Charki said that Vertu was insolvent and unable to meet its Jun 30 payroll obligations of about EUR500K. (Laoyaoba, Tencent, My Drivers, Telegraph, Fudzilla, 163)

Nanchang city has a number of new projects, of which investments totalled CNY52B. (Laoyaoba, People.cn, EE World)

Indian government is set to slap a customs duty of at least 10% on imported mobile phones under the GST regime as it plans to retain benefits accorded to local manufacturing in line with the ambitious electronics manufacturing and ‘Make in India’ program. Foxconn Technology Group is looking to invest up to USD5B in India, to explore the possibility of establishing a manufacturing hub parallel to China.  (Laoyaoba, India Times, Forbes, Economic Times, Inc42)

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