09-05 [IFA2017]: A series of new smart speakers are launched or showcased; TCL Communication Chairman Li Dongsheng indicates that the company aims to become Europe top 3 by 2020; etc.

Chipsets

IC Insights raised its annual semiconductor capex forecast to a record high of USD80.9B for 2017, a 20% increase from USD67.3B in 2016.  Previously, 2017 semiconductor capex was expected to grow 12% in 2017 to USD75.6B. A little over half of 2017 capex spending is forecast for wafer foundries (28%) and upgrades for NAND flash memory (24%). With a projected 53% increase in 2017, the DRAM/SRAM segment is expected to display the largest percentage growth in capital expenditures of the major product types in 2017.   (IC Insights, press, Laoyaoba)

Samsung Electronics is striving to sign long-term supply contracts with multiple wafer makers to ensure sufficient silicon wafer supplies for the manufacture of memory chips and logic ICs during 2018-2019, according to Digitimes. (Laoyaoba, Digitimes, press)

MediaTek allegedly has started to promote its TSMC 12nm made phone SoC “P40”. It will be 2×A73+4×A53, which is hexa-core structure. It will be used to tackle Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 600 series SoCs. (Laoyaoba, Sohu, UDN)

GlobalFoundries SVP Thomas Caufield indicates that AMD’s current chipset products are manufactured by GlobalFoundries, which include latest Ryzen processor, high-end GPU. (EE World, CTimes, Laoyaoba)

Touch Display

Full display 18:9 is becoming the focus of 2017. HannStar’s 5.7” HD panel is going to enter mass production in Jul 2017. AUO is launching high-end LTPS panel, and reshuffling staff to Kunshan Gen-6 LTPS panel fab to rush for mass production in 3Q17. CPT and Innolux are sampling now, expects to enter mass production in 4Q17. (Laoyaoba, China Times)

Counterpoint forecasts more than 120M smartphones including these differentiated alternative aspect ratio and near bezel-free displays will ship in 2017, accounting for almost 7% of the total smartphone shipments in 2017. This demand will more than triple in 2018. Mid-to-small panel makers are preparing to produce 18:9 panels, including IVO, BOE, Tianma, HannStar, CPT, AUO, Innolux and high-end panel suppliers Samsung, JDI, Sharp and LG Display (LGD). (Laoyaoba, Counterpoint Research, press)

Camera

Renesas has announced a new high-sensitivity, high-resolution 8.48 megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensor (RAA462113FYL) that supports 4K video cameras. In conjunction with the existing Renesas 2.12 MP product that is already in mass production. (Laoyaoba, Business Wire, Electronics Weekly, EE News Europe)

Sensory

Driver IC vendor Sitronix P Sensor enters OPPO’s flagship supply chain. OPPO R11 is using Sitronix P sensor and will enter mass production in 3Q17. Sitronix expects to see 10%-15% YoY growth. (Laoyaoba, UDN, 51Touch)

Battery

Renault partnered with UK company Powervault to reuse batteries from electric vehicles in energy storage systems for the home. Renault has announced the installation of chargers at highway rest stops in Europe that also put second-life EV batteries to work, this time charging other EVs. The stations both make use of the E-STOR energy storage system, where second-life batteries from Renault EVs are recharged at low power and the energy released to fast charge an electric car when it’s plugged in. (New Atlas, TechNews, Unwire.HK, Edie)

According to CITIC Securities, currently wireless charging / NFC 2-in-1 module cost is about CNY30, which exceeds touch panel, camera, and other phone components. Considering globally 1.5B smartphone sold, assuming 100% penetration rate, the yearly market size would reach CNY45B. Assuming in 3 years, the penetration rate to achieve 50%, the market size would be CNY22.5B a year. (CITIC Securities report)

Connectivity

LG Innotek has announced it has successfully developed the world’s first second-generation Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) fully integrated module for use in connected and self-driving cars. The module with a dimension of 40×35×4mm is just 1/3 of a credit card and causes no spatial restriction in the car.  (iTer News, Pulse News, Business Korea)

According to CITIC Securities, by entering Apple’s Wi-Fi antenna supply chain, Shenzhen Sunway Communication market position is raised to global top 3. Currently Apple iPhone, iPad, Macbook, Apple Watch have 4 Wi-Fi antenna suppliers, namely Amphenol Industrial, Molex, Tyco Electronics and Sunway Communication. (CITIC Securities report)

Light Fidelity (Li-Fi)  is an emerging wireless protocol that uses visible light spectrum to provide wireless networking access.  pureLi-Fi tries to bring Li-Fi to the market. The company founder Harald Haas estimates smartphones and other devices will begin to ship with the Li-Fi signal chip in 2~3 years. He has stressed that Li-Fi is a supplement to Wi-Fi and 4G/5G, not a replacement. (Laoyaoba, Network World, article, 36Kr)

Smartphones

[IFA2017] TCL Communication revenues has achieved CNY6.87B, 26.4% down on year with its brands Alcatel, TCL and BlackBerry; due to low demand in foreign markets, TCL has lost CNY852M. TCL Communication chairman Li Dongsheng indicates that the company expects a better financial performance in 4Q17. (Laoyaoba, Sina, Kejilie)

[IFA2017] TCL Communication Chairman Li Dongsheng indicates that the company aims to become Europe top 3 by 2020. (CN Beta, Sohu)

Using audience and digital consumption data from 9 countries (USA, Canada, UK, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, China and Indonesia), comScore shows areas of intense mobile usage by category and demographic. (comScore, infographics)

Gree Electric president Dong Mingzhu in response to the market’s doubt on Gree smartphone: I never think I have failed, because I believe self-make, self-research, self-desgn, and this requires time. (My Drivers, Weibo, CN Beta, The Paper)

Dixons Carphone chief executive, Seb James, said people were holding on to their phones four to five months longer than previously, replacing them after 29 months on average rather than 24, and this trend was unlikely to change for the rest of this year. But he stressed there had been no change to how people use phones and that shorter battery life would force them to upgrade eventually. (The Guardian, My Drivers, Business Insider)

ZTE Blade A2S is unveiled – 5.2” FHD display, MediaTek MT6753 processor, 13MP + 5MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 2540mAh battery, CNY700. (GSM Arena, JD.com)

PCs / Tablets

LG G Pad X2 8.0 Plus is now available from T-Mobile, including Plus Pack battery/speaker – 8” WUXGA 1920×1200 display, Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 5MP + 5MP cameras, 32GB storage, Android 7.0, 2900mAh battery, USD240. (GSM Arena, T-Mobile, Android Police, LG)

Wearables

MIT has created a new type of shirt that will automatically ventilate when exposed to moisture using the power of bacteria. The team is aiming to commercialize their technology in collaboration with companies like New Balance. (CN Beta, Futurism)

[IFA2017] TomTom Vice President Walter Hermsen indicates that a significant portion of the wearable experience is “actually off-wrist”. TomTom has launched a range of new tools across its wearable fitness devices—Fitness Age, Fitness Points and Personalised Workouts. (Android Headlines, CNET, The Verge, Forbes)

Internet of Things

[IFA2017] Samsung introduces WW8800M washing machine with new washing machine technology QuickDrive and artificial intelligence (AI). QuickDrive enables to reduce the average length of time for a full load of laundry from 70mins to 39mins.  (CN Beta, Slash Gear, Samsung)

A survey conducted by Ovum in the UK and the US in May 2017 revealed that more than 50% of consumers do not find digital assistants useful. Globally, Ovum forecasts the native digital assistant installed base to grow from 3.6B in 2016 to 7.5B active devices by 2021, including smartphones, tablets, wearables, smart home devices, VR headsets, TV sets, set-top boxes and media streamers. (CN Beta, The Next Web, Ovum)

[IFA2017] DTS has announced 3 new Play-Fi speakers that have Amazon Alexa Voice Service built in. The Phorus PS10, Onkyo Smart Speaker P3, and Pioneer Elite Smart Speaker F4 will include far-field microphone systems for the use of Alexa Voice Service to access information, control music playback and home automation devices, and more. (High Def Digest, Home Theatre Review, Pocket-Lint, What HiFi, Unwire.HK, Pioneer, Business Wire)

[IFA2017] Dinesh Paliwal, CEO of Harman International indicates that the talks between Samsung Electronics included the ongoing collaboration on the development of the upcoming Samsung AI speaker. He stressed that the Samsung speaker would be a complete platform that supports operations of all kinds of home appliances and mobile devices, the ultimate goal of which is to establish an AI ecosystem.  (CN Beta, Korea Herald, Neowin)

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