02-22: Qualcomm’s a series of announcement; Huawei might use HiSilicon SoC on their mid-rangers; etc.

Chipsets

Qualcomm has announced Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine (AI Engine). The Qualcomm AI Engine uses the existing CPU, GPU and DSP components found in some of the leading Snapdragon processors (the 845, the 835, the 820 and the 660). The key component in these processors is the inclusion of the Hexagon DSP with the Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX). (Android Central, Android Authority, Qualcomm, NX Update)

Qualcomm has revealed its Snapdragon 845 Xtended Reality (XR) platform for both mobile virtual reality and augmented reality mobile headsets. The new platform will be the brains of standalone mobile VR headsets.  (Android Headlines, VR Focus, VentureBeat, CN Beta)

Qualcomm has announced new Internet of Things (IoT) development kits based on the QCA4020 and QCA4024 system-on-chips (SoCs). The QCA4020 and QCA4024 are actually fairly similar, in terms of specs. With the only major difference being that the QCA4020 sports WiFi, while the QCA4024 only has Bluetooth.  (Android Headlines, PR Newswire, TechCrunch)

Qualcomm has announced it is making it easier to stream audio from phone to multiple devices by adding these capabilities to its Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform. Qualcomm Broadcast Audio enables a single audio stream to be shared to multiple devices with perfect synchronization using Bluetooth.  (GizChina, Android Authority, Qualcomm, Sina)

Qualcomm has announced their intention to expand their decade-long foundry relationship into EUV (extreme ultra violet) lithography process technology, including the manufacture of future Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets using Samsung’s 7nm LPP (Low Power Plus) EUV process technology. (GizChina, ZDNet, Android Central, Qualcomm, ZOL, iFeng)

Qualcomm has announced its new WCN3998 802.11ax Wi-Fi chip. Qualcomm will start sharing samples of the silicon, designed for smartphones, tablets and notebook computers, with hardware OEMs in 2Q18, in advance of when the Wi-Fi Alliance is expected to finalize the 802.11ax standard. (CN Beta, The Verge, WCCFTech, Qualcomm, Mobile Syrup)

Broadcom has cut its bid for Qualcomm by 4% to USD117B as it objected to Qualcomm’s decision to raise its own bid for NXP Semiconductors to USD44B. (CN Beta, Phone Arena, Reuters, UDN, TechNews, iFeng)

Huawei has reportedly adjusted its strategy in 2018, and will expand its usage of HiSilicon mobile SoC. In 2018, mobile phones manufactured by Longcheer will begin to use HiSilicon SoC. In the past, HiSilicon SoC penetration in Huawei’s mobile phone volume is less than 50%, and in the future it will aim for 50% or even more. (UDN, UDN, Today Chemical, Semi Insights)

ARM introduces new technologies to deliver SIM grade identity for cellular IoT at a cost point that scales to billions of devices. ARM Kigen family delivers integrated SIM functionality to IoT SoC designs, and a flexible remote provisioning server solution for OEMs, MNOs and IoT platforms. (Ubergizmo, ARM, Sina)

Touch Display

Samsung Display will slash output of its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels in response to its customer Apple’s decision to cut production of iPhone X amid weak demand. Samsung Display now plans to make OLED panels for 20M or fewer iPhones at the South Chungcheong plant in 1Q18, significantly lower than its initial goal of supplying panels for 45M~50M iPhones. (GSM Arena, Reuters, Asia Nikkei, ChinaZ, Tencent)

Samsung Display is reportedly extending its marquee full-screen display design to mid-range smartphones as part of efforts to further improve profitability. (Gizmo China, The Investor, TMT Post)

Battery

Apple is reportedly in talks to secure long-term cobalt supplies directly from miners, a strategy designed to buffer reserves of the key lithium ion battery ingredient as the company competes with car makers looking to use the metal in electric car production. (Engadget, Bloomberg, Apple Insider, iFeng, Tencent)

Connectivity

AT&T has announced the regions for its 5G launch later 2018. The carrier said that parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco will receive early 5G coverage before the end of 2018. The company has promised to deliver 5G in a total of 12 cities before the end of 2018.  (Android Authority, AT&T, Engadget, Tencent, CN Beta)

KT Corporation, Qualcomm and Samsung announce the successful completion of multi-vendor 5G NR interoperable testing compliant with the recently completed 3GPP Release-15 Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G NR global standard.  (Android Headlines, Qualcomm, Sohu)

Nokia has signed a 5-year deal with major European telecom Tele2 that will see the two developing and building out a wide range of IoT solutions, including 5G networks and IoT implementations based on 5G. (Android Headlines, Globe Newswire, NASDAQ, Telecom Paper, VIPSMT)

Phones

Samsung India is targeting sales of more than USD10B (INR64,000 crore) this calendar year after having recorded nearly USD9B in 2017. Sales will be driven by smartphones, premium television and appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, which will be the focus areas of the company in 2018. (Android Headlines, Economic Times, PC Pop, Sina)

Hon Hai Precision Group (Foxconn) will initiate the mobile phone ecosystem layout in India after 2018 Chinese New Year, and will use Southeast Asia as the focus of overseas expansion. Hon Hai reveals that the company will submit a brief plan to realize its investment plan in Maharashtra, India, which amounts to USD5B. (Laoyaoba, UDN, World Journal, Taiwan News, UDN)

HTC has laid off a large portion of its US team, though the exact number is not known. The company also has confirmed its smartphone and VR businesses share the same leadership. (Android Authority, Digital Trends, China Times)

BLU Vivo X is launched –6” 1440×720 HD+, MediaTek Helio P25, rear dual 13MP – 5MP + front dual 20MP – 8MP, 4GB + 64GB, Android 7.0, 4010mAh, USD250. (GSM Arena, GizChina)

PCs / Tablets

T-Mobile and AT&T have added their commitments to support the new Windows 10 Always Connected PC devices that use Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platform when they arrive at some point in 2018. Verizon and Sprint announced their commitments earlier in 2018. (Android Authority, Digital Trends, The Verge, CN Beta)

Wearables

VSP Global has announced the launch of Level smart glasses, featuring activity-tracking technology seamlessly embedded inside the temple of an optical frame. The technology tracks activity via an accompanying smartphone app and as users reach daily step goals they earn points redeemable for a donation of vision care services to individuals in need. (Engadget, Business Insider, Design Boom, Morning Star, VSP, PC Online)

HTC has launched the Vive Business Edition headset at a price of INR126,990 in India. It can be purchased via Amazon India and Imol.in. The headset would allow organizations to order Vive VR systems with additional services adapted for business and commercial environments. (Gizmo China, NDTV, Financial Express)

Apple is reportedly working on upgrades to its wireless AirPods headphones with an improved wireless chip and the ability to activate Siri voice commands just by saying “Hey Siri”. (The Verge, Bloomberg, iFeng, Tencent)

Internet of Things

Sony has announced that it has plans for a joint venture to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based taxi hailing system. Sony plans to build the AI-based hailing platform with Daiwa Motor Transportation and five other domestic taxi firms. (Android Headlines, TechCrunchCNBC, Asia Nikkei, Sina)

A new survey of 520 US consumers from Gene Munster’s Loup Ventures found 89% of smart speaker owners are satisfied with their device, but despite coming packed with virtual assistant technology, most use the to play music or check the weather.  (Apple Insider, Loop Ventures, press)

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