12-16: vivo would be first to launch smartphone with Synaptics’ in-display fingerprint solution; Huawei, OPPO and vivo are taking about less 10% of smartphone shipments than their original orders from the supply chain makers for 4Q17; etc.

Chipsets

United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) has reported consolidated revenues of NTD12.155B (USD405.13M) for Nov 2017, representing a 11.98% drop on month and 5.89% drop on year. The foundry house has totaled NTD138.617B in year-to-date revenues, up 2.44% compared with the same time last year. (Digitimes, press, TechNews, UDN)

Apple has allegedly reduced A11 orders from TSMC by 30%. The orders for A11 chipset for 1Q18 are about 50,000 units less than of 4Q17. (UDN, CN Beta)

Shanghai-based AI chip maker Think-Force Electronic Technology (Think Force) recently announced completion of CNY450M in Series A funding from Shanghai-based machine vision technology developer Yitu Network Technology, Alibaba Group’s Yunfeng Capital. Think Force plans to release AI chips based on advanced semiconductor manufacturing processes and the company’s own ManyCore microkernel architecture. (Laoyaoba, Sina, Sohu, Marbridge Consulting)

Touch Display

According to UBI Research, flexible OLEDs are expected to ship 480M units in 2019, surpassing 409M units of rigid OLED shipments. In addition, flexible OLED shipments will grow at a CAGR of 41% starting in 2018, reaching 1,285M units in 2022 with forecasted revenue of USD59.4B. (UBI Research, press, Android Headlines, GMW)

Foxconn invests in Micro LED startup eLux and is partnering with AOT on Micro LED development. After knowing Samsung may work with Taiwanese Micro LED supply chain, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou decided to follow suit. Meanwhile, Sharp is attempting to integrate Micro LED technology with ‘IGZO’ technology to create high-end displays. (UDN, Wealth Magazine, Laoyaoba, LED Inside)

Sensory

A patent application filed by Apple specifies “a digital assistant that is capable of detecting a whispered speech input and providing a whispered speech response.”  The patent application says Siri may normally “respond in a regular or loud voice, which may be undesired under certain circumstances where a whispered response is more appropriate.”  (CN Beta, The Verge, Gizmodo, USPTO)

LEDInside anticipates that the value of global infrared laser projector market for mobile 3D sensing is estimated to reach USD246M in 2017, and is forecast to grow to around USD1.953B in 2020. Infrared laser projector has three major components, including infrared laser (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser or Edge-Emitting Laser), WLO (Wafer Level Optics), and DOE (Diffractive Optical Elements). (TrendForce[cn], TrendForce, press)

Biometrics

Synaptics unveils Clear ID FS9500 in-display fingerprint sensor. Afterwards, the company confirms that vivo would be the first company to adopt the fingerprint sensor, and to launch the smartphone with this sensor in 2018. (Android Headlines, CN Beta, The Verge, Forbes, Android Authority, 9to5Google)

Smartphones

Strategy Analytics said Samsung Electronics is expected to post a market share of 19.2% in the global smartphone industry in 2018 by shipping 315M units, down from 20.5% estimated for 2017. The weaker outlook comes as US rival Apple is expected to expand its presence in the high-end segment, while Chinese companies are quickly making inroads to the industry with budget devices.  (Android Authority, Korea Herald)

Cowen and Company analyst Karl Ackerman believes that consumers’ thirst for Apple iPhone X has been below initial expectations as users appear to have gravitated toward the previous iPhone models. He expects Apple will probably sell about 79M iPhones, across all models in 4Q17, a modest increase on the 78M units in 4Q16. In the subsequent 3 months, he expects consumers to buy 56M iPhones. (CN Beta, BGR, Pocket Now, Bloomberg)

BlackBerry has announced that it is shutting down BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS services over the next couple of years. The closures will start with relatively little-used services like the BlackBerry Travel site (Feb 2018) and Playbook video calling (Mar 2018), but it will culminate with the shutdown of the BlackBerry World app store on 31 Dec 2019.  (Liliputing, BlackBerry, Engadget, VentureBeat, CN Beta)

China-based smartphone brand vendors including Huawei, OPPO and vivo are taking about less 10% of smartphone shipments than their original orders from the supply chain makers for 4Q17, according to Digitimes. The reduction came as worldwide smartphone demand has become weaker than expected recently, which has also resulted in rising inventories at channels. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba, Yahoo, Sohu)

OPPO allegedly will reduce the shipment of its smartphones by 30% for its models launched in Dec 2017, including its newly launched R11s. (Laoyaoba, EE World)

Foxconn is reportedly looking to invest INR6,000 crore to set up a 200-acre plant in the special economic zone (SEZ) of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) near Mumbai. The company has five plants in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh, and makes nearly 15 million phones a year for companies such as Xiaomi, Nokia, Gionee, InFocus and others. (Zee Biz, Economic Times, Taiwan Times, Laoyaoba)

BLU Life One X3 is launched – 5.5” FHD display, MediaTek MT6753 processor, rear 13MP + front 13MP cameras, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 5000mAh battery, USD150. (Android Authority, Android Central)

PCs / Tablets

Samsung and Xiaomi reportedly will launch “Always Connected PC” powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processor on Microsoft Windows 10. (Fudzilla, Digital Trends, iFeng, Tencent)

Wearables

Google is shuttering its original AR project. Tango, originally Project Tango, came out in 2014 and made use of special sensors and cameras on devices to display virtual objects. ATAP, Google’s advanced technology and projects lab, developed Tango but it was soon succeeded by ARCore. (Android Authority, CNBC, The Verge, Twitter, Sohu)

Internet of Things

Samsung is aiming to introduce a smart speaker equipped with Bixby in 1H18. The speaker will have a strong focus on audio quality and the management of connected home appliances such as lights and locks. (Android Central, Bloomberg, Sina)

According to Strategy Analytics, North America dominated sales of smart speakers in 3Q17 with nearly 75% global share although growth in Western Europe and Asia Pacific will reduce that share in 4Q17. Amazon Alexa’s AI operating system fell to 69% share of smart speakers in 3Q17, down from over 80% in 1H17 as Google Assistant made strong gains following the launch of Google Home in a greater number of territories. (Strategy Analytics, press, Laoyaoba)

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