04-19: Qualcomm allegedly has begun cutting jobs; Facebook is allegedly building a team to design its own semiconductors; etc.


Qualcomm allegedly has begun cutting jobs as part of the chipmaker’s promise to investors to reduce costs by USD1B. The number of positions being eliminated at the San Diego-based company is large enough that Qualcomm will have to file a so-called WARN notice, or Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, with the state of California. (CN Beta, Reuters, Bloomberg)

Lately foundry is in shortage causing the increase of costs. Global 1st and 2nd largest foundry vendor Japan-based Shin-Etsu Chemical and Formasa Sumco have increased the cost in 1Q18. The 3rd largest foundry vendor GlobalWafers also indicates that the shortage will continue throughout 2018-2019, and cost will go up a lot. (Laoyaoba, EE World, UDN, Money DJ)

Facebook is allegedly building a team to design its own semiconductors, adding to a trend among technology companies to supply themselves and lower their dependence on chipmakers such as Intel and Qualcomm. The company is looking to hire a manager tasked with assembling an “end-to-end SoC / ASIC, firmware, and driver development organization”. (The Verge, Bloomberg, Tencent, Sohu)

Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA, subsidiary of Tsinghua Unigroup has announced that its high-performance mobile chip platform Spreadtrum SC9850 and SC7731E fully support AndroidTM 8.1 (Go version). Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA’s close collaboration with GoogleTM on Android Go will not only shorten the time to market for users of Android devices. (PRN Asia, Laoyaoba, Asia One)

MediaTek will see its 2018 chip shipments for smart voice assistant surge at least 50% from 2017 as it has secured stable orders from heavyweight clients such as Amazon, Google, Alibaba and Tencent, further consolidating its leadership in the market for such chips, according to Digitimes. (Laoyaoba, IT Home, HQEW, Digitimes, press)

Touch Display

Apple is predicted to launch two versions of a rumored 6.1” LCD iPhone later in 2018, one with a starting price as low as USD550 and another potentially outfitted with dual-SIM dual standby (DSDS) technology, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. (CN Beta, Apple Insider)

Samsung is reportedly moving closer to the production of its foldable screen phone. The company is believed to have shared plans with parts manufacturers regarding the upcoming handset. The scale of the manufacturing forecast suggests the device will be a small scale pilot release, with the orders of 500K~2000K units, production beginning Nov 2018. (Android Authority, The Bell, HQBPC)

BOE indicates that semiconductor cycle is weaken. 1Q18 is a traditional slow season, and the industry will reach bottom and stay stable in 2Q18. BOE reveals that the company’s Mianyang G6 flexible AMOLED production line is expected to enter production in 2019. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek, 52RD)

Top display manufacturer HKC is going to build a G8.6 thin film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display (LCD) device production line, with investment amounts to CNY24B. The surface of the production line is about 1000 acre, and the building area is about 720Km2. The production line is to produce IPS LCD panel, mainly for mobile phone, smart wearables, automotive, and other small-sized panel market. The project will begin in 2Q18, and will enter production in 3Q19. (Laoyaoba, SEMI, 52RD, FPDisplay)

According to CINNO Research, thanks to full display demand, TDDI and AMOLED driver IC are getting more attention. CINNO Research forecast that in 2018 TDDI shipment would exceed 300M units, with more than 70% YoY growth. The market share of smartphone using TDDI is to exceed 20%. The company also forecasts that by 2020, the overall TDDI market size would reach CNY5.5B. (CINNO Research, press, Laoyaoba)


University of Maryland researchers at the A. James Clark School of Engineering have created a new water-based zinc battery that uses an aqueous electrolyte instead of the flammable substance in lithium-ion batteries. To keep the batteries powerful and long-lasting the research team added metallic zinc and salt.  (Android Headlines, CNET, Eureka Alert, Mashable, Tencent)


China Telecom joins Huawei to complete flight test of 5G unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) test and patrol business demonstration. This is the first in China based on End-to-end 5G network of professional UAV test flight, the successful implementation of the UAV 360º panoramic 4K high-definition video real-time 5G network transmission. (Laoyaoba, CNII, Xinhuanet, CE, DIY Drones)


The United States has banned American firms from selling parts and software to ZTE Corp for 7 years. The U.S. action could be catastrophic for ZTE since American companies are estimated to provide 25%~30% of the components used in ZTE’s equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks. (Reuters, Android Central, Android Authority, CN Beta, iFeng)

According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), in 1Q18 in US Samsung picked up 39% of activations, while Apple had 31%, and LG came in third with 14%. Other brands collectively represented just 17% of activations. (Apple Insider, CIRP report, CN Beta)

ECoinmerce, the world’s first decentralized and tokenized marketplace, has signed a deal with Smartisan to sell the recently announced Smartisan Nut 3 in North America. Ecoinmerce has also signed deals with about 5 other manufacturers and retailers to offer their products on the site for sale.  (Gizmo China, Globe Newswire, SFW)

ASUS CEO Jerry Shen has stated that you can “expect” the company to design and release a phone that caters to gaming. ASUS has experience in the gaming industry through its Strix and Republic of Gamers (ROG) brands. (My Drivers, CN Beta, Neowin, UDN, Android Authority)

Huawei Honor 10 is announced – 5.84” 2280×1080 FHD+, Huawei Kirin 970, read dual 24MP-16MP + front 24MP, 6GB+64/128GB, Android 8.1, 3400mAh, CNY2599 / CNY2999. (My Drivers, GizChina, Donews)


Intel has confirmed that it plans to shut down the New Devices Group (NDG), and cease development on the Vaunt smart glasses project. The closure will probably result in “some layoffs” from the team that was reportedly around 200 people. (The Verge, The Information, CN Beta)

Internet of Things

Sony Corp has announced that through Sony’s US subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America, it has entered into an agreement with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to collaborate on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics research. Initial R &D efforts will focus on optimizing food preparation, cooking and delivery.  (Ubergizmo, Engadget, PR Newswire, Sohu)


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has revealed that the company has more than 100M Prime members worldwide. Amazon charges USD99 for Prime membership, which includes a slew of perks for the online retailer, including free two-day shipping, access to Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service, exclusive deals, and more. (VentureBeat, SEC, The Verge, Sohu, TechWeb)

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