03-24: Apple is reportedly working on a foldable phone to be launched in 2020; Sharp reportedly will realign its LCD panel production lines in 2018 with plans to ramp up the output of IGZO and OLED panels; etc.

Chipsets

Samsung Electronics expects to maintain its edge over Chinese rivals in the chip segment. The chief of Samsung’s device solutions division indicates that technological barriers in chips are relatively higher than in other industries. The division raked in KRW108T (USD100B) in sales in 2017, accounting for 45% of the total revenue.  (The Investor, Android Authority, CN Beta)

Touch Display

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan, Apple is reportedly working with its Asian partners on a foldable phone, which is believed to launch in 2020. (Engadget, CNBC, iFeng, Tencent)

Sharp reportedly will realign its LCD panel production lines in 2018 with plans to ramp up the output of IGZO and OLED panels, and at the same time to pare down LTPS and a-Si panel production. The company plans to transfer part of the capacity of its 6G fab in Kameyama from LTPS to IGZO production in 4Q18. (Digitimes, press, Laoyaoba)

Camera

It is rumored that some of the orders from Largan Precision has been grabbed by Sunny Optical. However, KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo indicates that this is only short term. He expects Largan’s new fab yield rate will improve in Apr~May 2018, and it will win back the orders from Huawei and other Chinese vendors. Largan’s production capacity is 4~5 times of Sunny Optical. In addition to high end lenses, Largan will win the more orders for low-end 4P, mid-range 5P lenses. (TechNews, OfWeek, Sohu, China Times)

Biometrics

Synaptics has announced its FS9500 Clear ID optical in-display fingerprint sensors are built-in the new vivo X21 UD smartphone. Synaptics said its FS9500 Clear ID optical in-display fingerprint sensor family is the world’s first mass production sensor for smartphones. (Laoyaoba, Globe Newswire, Telecompaper)

Battery

Samsung’s patent with WIPO showing a technology that collects power on a particular device in the room and uses a reflective board to provide a transmission avoiding obstacles encountered. Thereby, all devices in the room can be charged wirelessly.  (GizChina, TechRadar, SlashGear, Galaxy Club, Laoyaoba)

Connectivity

Deutsche Bank Markets Research noted that it “expects 1Q18results to showcase improving ARPU/service revenue and margin results.” The analysts pointed to 2 key factors driving their new assessment: 1) A “healthier pricing backdrop” that includes some increases in carriers’ pricing plans; and 2) “Near record low” postpaid phone churn across the three largest carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile). (Android Headlines, Fierce Wireless)

Phones

Nanchang-based Black Shark, a newly formed company backed by Xiaomi is gearing up to launch its first gaming smartphone, has struck out of a deal with JD.com for sales and promotions of the phone. Black Shark has become the first smartphone to have a strategic partnership with JD.com. (Gizmo China, iKanchai, CNMO, My Drivers)

TCL Corp. with Shenzhen China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) and TCL Multimedia jointly build a USD75M international merger fund and CNY201M domestic merger fund. The overseas venture will be established in the Cayman Islands, and named as TCL Ventures Fund L.P. (Laoyaoba, Sina, CNFOL)

Late 2017, Xiaomi made a grand entry into Spain, which is the first ever European country that Xiaomi is exploring. Now, Xiaomi has officially landed in Portugal and it is currently selling its products through Worten, Fnac and Media Markt. (GizChina, iFeng)

Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime 2 is launched in India – 5.5” FHD IPS, Samsung Exynos 7870, rear 13MP + front 13MP, 3GB+32GB, 3300mAh, INR13,990. (Gizmo China, India Today, Indian Express, GSM Arena, Samsung)

Wearables

Casio has announced its next smartwatch with Android Wear 2.0 for true adventurers – the limited-edition WSD-F20SC. Only 700 units will be available for purchase in late Jun 2018 when the smartwatch will be released. (Phone Arena, Casio)

Internet of Things

In India, while some of these cheaper TV offerings are compelling from Samsung, LG and Sony, they all struggle to overcome a trust deficit among Indian consumers (in terms of after-sales service and long-term reliability) and are hurt by limited distribution and brand recognition. As a result, many people settle for an entry-level product from a top multinational company rather than a much better product from these domestic brands. Xiaomi is now targeting this audience, aiming to what it has successfully done before and disrupt the industry. For starters, it has adopted disruptive pricing to sell high-end TVs through Flipkart (its exclusive online partner), Mi.com (its own site) and its 30 exclusive Mi Home Stores.  (Android Headlines, Business Line, Forbes, Sina, 52RD)

According to TechSci Research, the television market in India is anticipated to cross USD9B by the end of 2021. With a population of over 1B, India is one of the major developing countries with huge middle class population base and rising per capita income. In recent years, Indian television market has witnessed drastic transformations, with consumer preference changing from CRT TVs to Smart TVs.  (Forbes, Techsci Research, Baijiahao)

Toyota, JapanTaxi, KDDI, and Accenture have announced plans to pilot an artificial intelligence (AI) taxi dispatch system in Japan. The system combines historical data, weather reports, local event schedules and public transport availability before using AI learning models and algorithms to predict the demand for hired transport. (CN Beta, CNET, Bloomberg, ZDNet)

Commercial drone data company Skycatch, and DJI, the world’s leading manufacturer of civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, have extended their partnership to manufacture and deliver a fleet of 1,000 high-precision drones for Komatsu Smart Construction.  (Ubergizmo, Business Insider, Engadget, Huanqiu, CN Beta)

Nissan is hoping to achieve a target of selling 1M electrified vehicles (EVs) across its portfolio by its fiscal 2022. The target is part of its overarching strategic mid-term plan leading up to 2022. To be included in the sales total, models sold by Nissan need to either be pure electric or e-POWER vehicles.  (TechCrunch, Sina)

Economy

JPMorgan has found an 18% chance of an economic meltdown over the next year, increasing to 52% over two years and to 72% over three. Going off those findings, JPMorgan concludes that the economy is in the “twilight of the mid-cycle”. The analyst John Normand argues that declining profit margins and tightening Federal Reserve monetary policy could derail those cyclical trades, and he stresses defensiveness in the event one of those drivers transpire. (Business Insider, article, TechNews)

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