12-26: Toshiba to invest approximately JPY7B in site preparation and initial construction work in 2017; VCSEL vendors are bracing for strong sales in 2018; etc.


Qualcomm has obtained a permit to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued the permit, which authorizes testing for one vehicle and three drivers. (Digital Trends, DMV, CNBC, iFanr)

Networking device supplier Gemtek Technology plans to fully acquire SiP module maker Ampak Technology to enhance its presence in the IoT and cloud-enabled communication market. The synergy between Gemtek’s wireless technology and Ampak’s SiP wireless module capability will help accelerate Gemtek’s development of IoT and cloud communication solutions to meet clients’ demand, according to Kevin Yang, managing director of Gemtek. (Digitimes, press, UDN, China Times)

Apple is switching 50% of its orders for iPhone modem chipsets to Intel from Qualcomm is part of its self-protection efforts made after filing a lawsuit in Jan 2017 against Qualcomm’s allegedly unfair patent royalty calculation formula involving modem chipsets. Apple is reportedly actively seeking new chip suppliers to absorb more of the remaining orders. MediaTek is a candidate to becoming a supplier modem chips for Apple in 2018, according to Digitimes. (Digitimes, press, Phone Arena, My Drivers, Laoyaoba)

Samsung Electronics is set to become the world’s largest seller of semiconductors in 2017. Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor sales Jan~Sept 2017 stood at KRW53.15T (USD49.2B), up 46% from the year-earlier period. Intel’s sales for the period increased 6%, to USD45.7B. Even after taking exchange rate movements into account, Samsung is certain to surpass Intel for 2017. (Asia Nikkei, Laoyaoba)

Touch Display

Gigabyte Technology has reportedly partnered with touch panel maker TPK Holding to establish a joint venture for obtaining orders from the artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) markets, according to Digitimes. The joint venture is expected to begin operation in Jan 2018 and will be led by Gigabyte’s general manager of network communication business Etay Lee. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

South Korea’s trade ministry said that a committee had approved LG Display (LGD) plan to build a new organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel production facility in China. The approval comes 5 months after LG Display announced it would invest in large-size OLED production in Guangzhou, China, to respond to fast-growing demand for the screens in TVs in overseas markets. (Laoyaoba, WSJ, Reuters, Korea Herald)

According to IHS Markit, at present Samsung Display effectively dominates the global market that reached USD3.04B in 3Q17, the first time ever that the total exceeded the USD3B mark in a three-month period. Samsung Display sales hit USD2.94B in 3Q17, followed by LG Display with little over USD100M or 3.3%, with EverDisplay Optronics trailing at 0.1% market share with sales reaching just USD3.7M. (Korea Bizwire, Yonhap News, TechNews)

Japanese auto parts maker Denso Corp is considering a JPY50B (USD440M) investment in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel maker JOLED. JOLED, a Japan Display Inc (JDI) affiliate, sold its inaugural batch of OLED screens this month, becoming the world’s first OLED maker to market screens which use a lower cost printing process. (Laoyaoba, Reuters, NASDAQ)

According to Sigmaintell, the shipment of full display panels for smartphone would reach about 230M units in 2017, and in 2H17 alone there is about 200M units shipped. LCD panel vendors including BOE, Tianma and AUO full display panel shipment has exceeded 10M units. (Sigmaintell)


Toshiba Memory Corp (TMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toshiba, will establish a company to operate the facility, and invest approximately JPY7B (USD1.062B) in site preparation and initial construction work in 2017. Toshiba currently has Fab 6 (a manufacturing facility) under construction with a completion date estimated for 4Q18. (TechNews, Tom’s Hardware, Storage Newsletter, NHK)

Tsinghua Unigroup said in a statement that “the news about working with SK Hynix on flash memory technology licensing negotiations and cooperation” is purely speculation, there is no factual basis. (CN Beta, Laoyaoba)


Taiwan-based VCSEL (vertical cavity surface emitting laser) device providers, including Visual Photonics Epitaxy (VPEC), Epistar, Advanced Wirelss Semiconductor (AWSC) and Global Communication Semiconductors, are bracing for strong sales in 2018 as more and more smartphone vendors are incorporating 3D sensors into their new models for the coming year, according to Digitimes. The number of smartphones incorporated with VCSEL chips is likely to reach 240M units in 2019. (Digitimes, press, Now News, UDN, HQEW)


Apple is rumored to adjust its pricing for iPhone devices in early 2018 and has even started preparing a prototype iPhone with support of pre-5G features. However, Apple has not officially confirmed any of the rumors. (Digitimes, press, Sina, iFeng)


Pegatron has announced its subsidiary in China has spent NTD1.14B (USD37.8M) acquiring a factory in Chongqing, China. Pegatron said it spent another NTD714.78M purchasing production equipment and facilities for the factory, with investments totaling NTD1.86B. (Digitimes, press, Sina, XCN News)

Counterpoint Research claims that 2.8M Nokia Android smartphones and 13.5M Nokia feature phones were shipped in 3Q17. This has resulted in Nokia Phones climbing to 3rd feature phone vendor and 16th smartphone vendor rankings. (TechNews, Indian Express, NDTV, Forbes, Android Headlines, Nokia Poweruser)

OPPO A75 and A75s are launched in Taiwan – 6” 2160×1080 FHD+ display, MediaTek Helio P23 MT6763T processor, rear 16MP + front 20MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 32 / 64GB (A75s) storage, Android 7.1, face unlock, 3200mAh battery, NTD10,999 / NTD11,990. (Gizmo China, BGR, GSM Arena, OPPO)

OPPO A83 is launched – 5.7” 720×1440 HD+ display, MediaTek Helio P23 MT6763T processor, rear 13MP + front 8MP cameras, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, face unlock, 3180mAh battery, CNY1399. (GizChina, CN Beta)


SEGA Entertainment and premium Virtual Reality (VR) solutions provider StarVR have announced its collaboration to bring StarVR arcade experiences to existing SEGA Game Center locations throughout Japan. (Digitimes, PR Newswire, Focus Taiwan, StarVR)

ZED Mini is attachable to an AR camera, which is still basically a devkit, built by StereoLabs. It is actually two cameras 65mm (2.56”) apart, designed to mimic the human eyes. They can sense user position and depth, so digital graphics can be programmed to interact with real world objects in a way that looks and feels genuine, complete with realistic lighting. (VentureBeat, New Atlas, Heix, VRRB)

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