08-18: Spreadtrum has unveiled 2 complete series of high-performance but differentiated types of LTE SoC platforms; Coolpad CEO Liu Jiangfeng indicates that the company holds CNY10B of real estates; etc.

Chipsets

Intel unveils its next-generation processor family Ice Lake. The Ice Lake processor family is a successor to the 8th generation Intel Core processor family. These processors utilize Intel’s industry-leading 10nm+ process technology. (CN Beta, AnandTech)

More and more Taiwan IC design vendor forming an internal R&D and marketing team specifically for automotive electronics business. In 2017 Taiwanese vendors including MediaTek, PixArt, Sunplus, and Holtek have been receiving orders of automotive application. (Yahoo, CSIA, Money Link, Digitimes, Laoyaoba)

Spreadtrum has unveiled 2 complete series of high-performance but differentiated types of LTE SoC platforms: Spreadtrum SC9853I, which is based on Intel’s advanced 14nm foundry platform, Octa-core 64-bit Intel Airmont architecture and the highly integrated 5-mode solution; and Spreadtrum SC9850 series with low-power consumption. Mass production for both series of chips has already begun. (Laoyaoba, Laoyaoba, EE World, Digitimes, press, Business Insider)

Intel has rolled out the Atom C3000 SoCs, its third series of Atom chips. In all, Intel announced 20 new models packing anywhere from two to 16 Goldmont cores, support for 128 GB or 256 GB of DDR4 ECC memory across one or two channels, support for up to four 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections, and Intel’s Quick Assist Technology encryption acceleration. (Tech Report, CN Beta)

Touch Display

Samsung Display has decided to invest EUR100M (USD117.59M) in Cynora, a German display materials developer, to secure technology that could enhance the efficiency and performance of OLED displays. LG Display announced to invest a combined EUR150M in Cynora in Jul 2017.  Kyulux, a Japanese OLED tech startup, is developing more efficient display emitters. Samsung and LG invested KRW3B (USD2.60M) each in Kyulux in 2016.  (OLED-Info, The Investor, ET News, Toutiao, Digitimes)

Solomon Systech announced the launch of a new touch and display integration (TDDI) IC, SSD2023U, supporting Full high-definition (FHD+, 1080 x 2160) In-Cell LTPS panel technologies. It is a breakthrough product to capture the new market trend of high resolution smartphones with a bezel-less screen and an aspect ratio of 18:9. (SEMI, 51Touch, Solomon-Systech)

Before the acquisition by Hon Hai Precision Industry, Sharp was facing financial difficulties stemming mainly from its sluggish LCD operations. The led to a group net loss of JPY255.9B in fiscal 2015 ended Mar 2016. In fiscal 2016, however, Sharp posted its first operating profit in 3 years and a net loss that had shrunken to only 1/10 of the preceding year’s. (Japan News, Japan Times, HRPGC, Sina)

Xiamen Hongxin Electron-tech (HON-Flex) mainly supports Fine Precision FPC in terms of research and development, design, manufacture and sales. FPC is having advantages in high wiring density, light weight, thin, flexible and bendable, 3D wiring and other types of circuit boards. Its products have won orders from Tianma, GIS, O-Film, with shipment increased from 1.2M/month to 4.4M/month. Its main incomes has increased 203.7% on year. (Sina, EE World)

According to Digitimes Research, touch and display drive integration (TDDI) chipset because of increase of hybrid in-cell, its shipment in 2017 will increase 191% on year. Among TDDI shipment Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) is popular. Even though Low Temperature Poly-silicon (LTPS) market share is 40%, it is expected a-Si TDDI will catch up LTPS TDDI market share in 4Q17. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

The trend in equipping newer smartphone designs with wider screens is giving rise to the 18:9 aspect ratio, with the display shipments expected to reach 611M units by 2021, according to IHS Markit. (IHS Markit, press, Laoyaoba)

Memory

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, as shown below. In fact, 3D NAND has many problems that cannot be easily solved. (Laoyaoba, EET Taiwan, EE Times)

IC Insights expects the DRAM market to increase 55% in 2017 and lay claim as the fastest-growing IC product segment this year.  This is not unfamiliar territory for the DRAM market.  It was also the fastest-growing IC segment in 2013 and 2014.  (IC Insights, press, Laoyaoba)

Sensory

Apple’s new patent “Electronic Device That Computes Health Data”describes how Apple devices may be utilized as health sensors, lists applications such as tracking blood hydration, body fat content, oxygen saturation, and many others. Apple has acquired personal health data platform Gliiimpse. (CB Insights, Laoyaoba)

Battery

TrendForce finds that the average global spot price of polysilicon has surged by 20% end of Jul ~ mid Aug 2017. The polysilicon supply has tightened up suddenly because the leading supplier in China had to do an emergency repair at one of its factories. This added to the pressure on the supply caused by annual plant maintenance works carried out by other suppliers. (Energy Trend[cn], press, TrendForce, press, Laoyaoba)

University of Sydney and Nanyang Technological University have created new catalysts out of abundant elements that could see rechargeable zinc-air batteries vying with lithium-ion batteries in mobile devices. Using air as a reactant allows the battery to cram in more zinc, increasing the energy density and making the battery fairly lightweight and safe. (Laoyaoba, Science Daily, ZDNet, New Atlas, University of Sydney, Advanced Materials, CN Beta)

Smartphones

According to Counterpoint Technology, ZTE’s US smartphone shipments increased by 36% during 2Q17 to a commendable 4.8M units, making it the 4th largest smartphone manufacturer in the country. As Lixin Cheng, the chief executive of ZTE’s mobile devices, explains the US is a particularly difficult market to break into but offers a lot of opportunities. (Android Authority, WSJ, Counterpoint Research, press, China Times, Sohu)

Till 30 Jun 2017, Tencent’s total revenues in 2Q17 totaled CNY56.606B (USD8.356B), an increase of 59% over 2Q17. Operating profit and profit are CNY22.56B and CNY18.254B, respectively. (CN Beta, Tencent, Financial Times, Seeking Alpha)

Coolpad till 31 Jul 2017 revenues have reached HKD2.716B (CNY2.318B), 52% down on year. Corp current assets have been lower than current liabilities, the debt has increased the pressure. Coolpad’s current biggest asset value is its land property. CEO Liu Jiangfeng indicates that the company holds CNY10B of real estates. (CN Beta, TechWeb, CN Beta)

Chinese original device maker (ODM) Topwise Communication will bring its ‘Comio’ smartphone brand to India and plans to invest INR500 crore over the next 2 years to build its presence in the country. The company aims to capture 5% market share in 3 years of operations in India. (Android Authority, Live-Mint, Indian Express, Eastday)

Wearables

Altspace, which developed one of the first social virtual reality platforms, said in Jul 2017 that money troubles were forcing it to close its doors. The company said that those doors will stay open after all, though it is not yet clear in what form.  (CN Beta, Fast Company, VR Focus, Altspace)

With Apple ready to launch its 3rd-generation Apple Watch, overall smartwatch shipments are expected to rise to 4.5M units in 4Q17 and hit 15M for the whole year 2017, according to Digitimes, and expect the volume to rise to 20M units in 2018. Foxconn did not have any orders for the Apple Watch, but its subsidiary Shunsin Technology has entered the supply chain providing system in packaging (SiP) services for the Apple Watch. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

Internet of Things

DJI is developing a new local data mode that stops internet traffic to and from its flight control apps, in order to provide enhanced data privacy assurances for sensitive government and enterprise customers. (Ubergizmo, My New Desk, DJI, Huanqiu, Leiphone)

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