04-21: Alibaba is developing its own neural network chip; Alibaba will fully acquire local chip designer C-SKY; etc.

Chipsets

MediaTek smartphone SoC expects to recover in 2Q18, and will expect to drive the gross profit. The market forecasts MediaTek smartphone SoC shipment could reach 100M units. Also, 2H18 MediaTek might lauch lower-cost P series to sustain its market shar ein the mid-range segment. (Laoyaoba, China Times)

Alibaba is developing its own neural network chip, the Ali-NPU, which will be used in AI applications, such as image video analysis, machine learning, and other scenarios. (TechNode, Yicai)

Alibaba will fully acquire local chip designer C-SKY. Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems is an integrated circuit design house. The company has developed 7 types of CPUs covering applications including IoT, digital audio and video, information security, network and communications, industrial control and automotive electronics. (TechNews, TechNode, CNBC)

Touch Display

Apple’s efforts to line up a second supplier for its high-end smartphone screens—and reduce its dependence on Samsung Electronics—have hit a hurdle because LG Display is struggling to make them. Apple reportedly plans to produce 100M units of iPhone in 2018, 50% of which will be equipped with OLED display. (CN Beta, WSJ)

According to IHS Markit senior analyst Joy Guo, China LTPS panel shipment is growing fast, from 25% in early 2017 to 48% in early 2018, and mainly driven by Tianma. Joy indicates that China #1 LTPS panel Tianma would exceed Japanese vendor Japan Display Inc (JDI) in 1Q18, becoming the biggest global LTPS panel supplier. (Laoyaoba, OfWeek)

According to IHS Markit senior analyst Joy Guo, there are a lot of panel vendors expanding their LPTS LCD production, yet the cost, yield rate and quality diversity among these vendors are huge. With OEM vendors continue to increase adoption of LTPS LCD, and the average surface is getting bigger, she expects in 2H18 LTPS LCD supply might be tight. (Laoyaoba, Money DJ, TTV)

IHS Markit senior analyst David Hsieh, panel vendors will oversupply in 2018 and may have to face lose pressure in 2Q18. In the coming 2~3 years, panel industry might require consolidation to recover, such as Samsung closing down G7 fab. He expects by 2022, there would be 19 panel fabs in China for large-size panels, and 20 panel fabs for mid-to-small sized panels. In 2018, the focus would be on BOE’s G10.5 and two CEC’s G8.6 fabs. (Laoyaoba, CNA, China Times, CNYES, Laoyaoba, Money DJ)

Battery

Molex and Ossia have announced that the companies have launched a joint project to collaborate on the next- generation Cota antenna designs. The project will include several new patch antenna designs which will service a variety of commercial applications. Cota wireless power delivers power without plugs, wires, or charging pads. It can power multiple devices in motion, without a line-of-sight, at a distance.  (Android Headlines, Molex, PR Newswire, Computer World)

Connectivity

Huawei Enterprise Business Group deputy general manager Alexander Stoliyatov in Moscow claims that Huawei plans to become the leader of the Russian enterprise network equipment market within the next 5 years. According to stoolotov, 85% of Huawei sales in Russia so far are the supply of network equipment, servers and data storage systems in the enterprise. HUAWEI ranked first in the growth rate of network equipment supply in Russia, with a server market share of 11.1% and a storage system market share of 12%. (CN Beta, Waonews)

According to Ryan Perera, the head of optical equipment maker Ciena’s India business, the three main operators — Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea — have publicly announced their plans for the next 2 years. He estimates there would be around USD1.5B investment, and the number of base stations will go up from 450K to 850K by 2020. (Android Headlines, Light Reading, 10JQKA)

There will be 9.0B user-linked subscriptions to wireless services by 2023, up from 7.7B in 2018 according to Strategy Analytics.  User-linked mobile 5G connections will grow from 5M in 2019 to 577M in 2023 (excluding fixed wireless applications and industrial IoT). These will account for 10% of connectivity revenue in 2018. (Strategy Analytics, press, Laoyaoba)

Phones

Samsung, Sony and LG are the three most trusted brands in India, according to The Brand Trust Report 2018 released by TRA Research (a Comniscient Group company). Trust is measured through the company’s proprietary tool, The Brand Trust Matrix. (CN Beta, Exchange4Media, The Investor, Business Today)

Flickr has been purchased by photo-sharing service SmugMug. The company says it plans to “breath new life” into Flickr by pouring in the necessary resources and focus. (Android Central, USA Today)

Microsoft Translator has added new capabilities that allow users and developers to get artificial intelligence-powered translations whether or not they have access to the Internet. Microsoft has released offline language packs for Translator (on Android, iOS and Amazon Fire devices) that use AI for translation when offline regardless of hardware.  (Engadget, Microsoft, CN Beta)

Google has been quietly corralling every major phone carrier on the planet into adopting technology to replace SMS. It is going to be called “Chat,” and it is based on a standard called the “Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services”. This is a new standard that it set to replace SMS and will soon be compatible across most major carriers around the world. The Universal RCS Profile supports read receipts, typing notifications, larger image and video file sharing, and will work over Wi-Fi and LTE. (GSM Arena, The Verge, Sohu, Sohu)

According to eMarketer, adults in China will spend 2 hours, 39 minutes a day on mobile devices in 2018, up 11.1% over 2017, accounting for 41.6% of their daily media time. By comparison, adults will spend 2 hours, 32 minutes per day watching TV, down 2% over 2017, representing 39.8% of daily media time. (eMarketer, TechCrunch, Xinhuanet, Sohu)

Apple has a robot called “Daisy” that has been designed specifically for recycling iPhones and can work at speeds of up to dismantling 200 iPhones per hour. (Ubergizmo, Apple, Sina, Sohu)

Morgan Stanley’s analyst Katy Huberty lowers her Jun 2018 quarter Apple iPhone unit estimate to 34M from 40.5M versus the nearly 43M average forecast. She has also lowered the revenue to USD46B, lower than the consensus prediction of USD61B. (Laoyaoba, Business Insider, CNBC)

Wuhan East Lake Hi-Tech Development Zone has signed a collaborative contract with TCL Group to build a TCL Group Industry Research Lab in Optics Valley, focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and new display technology research and development. (Laoyaoba, XueHua, East Day, OfWeek)

According to Digi-Capital, Tencent led or participated in over USD4 of every USD10 invested in games companies worldwide in the last 12 months to the end of 1Q18. Digi-Capital tracked a total of nearly USD22B total games market investments and M&As (not just Tencent) in the last 12 months, as well as forecasting global games software/hardware market revenue to top USD165B in 2018 and over USD230B by 2022.  (VentureBeat, Digi-Capital, press, CN Beta)

Moto E5 series is launched: E5 – 5.7” 1440×720 HD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, rear 13MP + front 5MP, 2GB+16GB, Android 8.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 4000mAh, EUR149. E5 Play – 5.2” 1280×720 HD, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 / 427, rear 8MP + front 5MP, 2GB+16GB, Android 8.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 2800mAh. E5 Plus – 6” 1440×720 HD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, rear 12MP + front 8MP, 3GB+32GB, Android 8.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 5000mAh, EUR169. (Android Central, GSM Arena)

Moto G6 series is announced: G6 – 5.7” 2160×1080 FHD+ IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, rear dual 12MP-5MP + front 8MP, 3 / 4GB + 32 / 64GB, Android 8.0, front fingerprint scanner, face unlock, USB-C, 3000mAh, USD249. G6 Play – 5.7” 1440×720 HD+ IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 427, rear 13MP + front 8MP, 2 / 3GB + 16 / 32GB, Android 8.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 4000mAh, USD199. G6 Plus – 5.9” 2160×1080 FHD+ IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, rear dual 12MP-5MP + front 8MP, 4 / 6GB + 64 / 128GB, Android 8.0, front fingerprint scanner, face unlock, USB-C, 3200mAh, EUR299.  (Gizmo China, Android Central, GSM Arena, Liliputing, TechRadar, The Verge)

nubia Red Magic is announced – 6” 2160×1080 FHD+ IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, rear 24MP + front 8MP, 6GB+64GB / 8GB+128GB, Android 8.1 (nubia Red Magic OS), USB Type-C, 3800mAh, CNY2499 / CNY2999. (GSM Arena, Android Headlines, CN Beta)

vivo V9 Youth Edition is announced in India – 6.3” 2280×1080 FHD+ Full View 2.0, Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, rear dual 16MP-2MP + front 16MP, 4GB+32GB, Android 8.1,  rear fingerprint scanner, 3260mAh, INR18,990. (GizChina, Gizmo China, Facebook, Twitter)

PCs / Tablets

Apple CEO Tim Cook remains against the idea of merging the Mac and iPad to create one unified hardware and software experience. He believes if you begin to merge the two, you begin to make trade offs and compromises. (CN Beta, Mac Rumors, Sydney Morning Herald)

Wearables

iQiyi, the Baidu-owned video streaming service, has announced that it will release the world’s first 4K VR headset with 8K panoramic video playback capabilities. The headset will apparently be called VR II, and it is scheduled to launch in May 2018. (VentureBeat, PR News, Qianlong, XCN News)

Osmo has been a prolific producer of augmented reality (AR) games for Apple iPads and iPhones in its short history. And the company is revealing that those games have reached 1M iPads, which is becoming a primary educational device for young kids. (VentureBeat)

Internet of Things

Daimler is open to supplying Volvo with engines and could even take a small stake in the Swedish carmaker, Manager Magazin said, raising the possibility of increased cooperation between Mercedes-Benz and China’s Geely. Daimler allegedly could buy “a couple of percen” in Volvo Cars. (CN Beta, Reuters, Autoblog)

Philips’ new sleep-promoting Somneo Connected lamp pairs with a smartphone app for not only tracking but improving bedtime experience. Latest in the company’s range of therapeutic light systems, it is a nightstand lamp and alarm clock with a sensor on the back. (CN Beta, SlashGear)

ARM Internet of Things Smart City Innovation Center” project is the collaboration between Hefei high-tech science innovation center and ARM semiconductor company, with investment of about CNY120M. This would be the future top IoT smart city innovation center. (CCIDNet, Laoyaoba, ST Daily)

Audi is showcasing the world’s first 95kWh battery for the upcoming all-electric Audi e-tron SUV. The Audi e-tron will use a 95kWh battery that, on the European test cycle, is rated for up to 400km or around 249miles. When using a 150kW charging station, the production version of the e-tron electric SUV takes approximately 30mins for an 80%charge. (CN Beta, SlashGear, Pocket-Lint)

FinTech

According to Morgan Stanley, bitcoin’s price needs to break and sustain above the USD8,600 level to ensure bitcoin mining remains a profitable venture. Bitmain’s mining business only requires a bitcoin value of USD5,000 to be profitable. (BTC Manager, Laoyaoba, CNBC)

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