04-28: Qualcomm said it would cap the phone price that is the basis of the revenue calculation at USD400; MediaTek is planning to export to ZTE would first have to apply for an official license to do so before reporting the export plans to customs; etc.

Chipsets

Most Qualcomm licensing revenue is calculated as a percentage of the selling price of a smartphone. That so-called device-level licensing model has been at the center of regulatory disputes in China, Korea and the United States and also in its disputes with Apple. Qualcomm said it would cap the phone price that is the basis of the revenue calculation at USD400. More expensive phones, which can sell for USD1,000, would still be treated as USD400 for the purpose of the Qualcomm license fee. (Android Authority, Reuters, My Drivers)

Xiaomi is currently fabricating its Surge S2 application processors at TSMC using a 16nm process. Although the initial order volume is not significant, allegedly the follow-up orders from Xiaomi could expand substantially along with its improving chipset-developing capability, according to Digitimes. (GSM Arena, My Drivers, Digitimes, press)

Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has reportedly ordered all of the island’s companies including MediaTek that sell to Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE to suspend shipments until they obtain approval. Taiwanese companies planning to export to ZTE would first have to apply for an official license to do so before reporting the export plans to customs. (UDN, CN Beta, SlashGear, Asia Nikkei, Reuters, Taiwan News, CN Beta)

Storage

According to law firm Hagens Berman, competition between Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix were forcing prices to drop on RAM, despite record demand for the memory. Starting 1Q16 and through 3Q17, Hagens Berman alleges that the trio’s revenues from global DRAM sales more than doubled as a result of the production decrease and price-fixing scheme.  The new suit accuses Samsung, Micron and Hynix of breaking federal antitrust competition laws and also accuses the DRAM manufacturers of violating state consumer protection laws. (Apple Insider, Hagens Berman, Business Wire, Qianzhan)

Connectivity

According to figures from GlobalData, 15.8M new SIM cards were issued in Europe in 2017, with Machine-to-Machine (M2M)’s increase helping offset declines in the handset market. (Android Headlines, TechRadar, GlobalData)

Phones

Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi has lowered his iPhone forecast for Apple’s fiscal 3Q18 to 38.8M units from 41M units versus the 43M units average estimate. The firm also predicts Apple will forecast revenue in the range of USD47B~49B. (Phone Arena, CNBC, 36Kr)

According to Counterpoint Research, Chinese smartphone shipments slowed in 1Q18 with YoY decline of 8% and sequential decline of 21%. The top 5 brands captured a record 82% of the market with other OEMs struggling to grow. (CN Beta, Counterpoint, press)

Shenzhen Samsung Electronics Communication is closing down, laying off its about 320 employees except 6 high-level Korean executives. (CN Beta, Sina)

According to Canalys, smartphone shipments in China suffered their biggest ever decline in 1Q18, down by more than 21% annually to 91M units, a number first passed some 4 years ago in 4Q13. 8 of the top 10 smartphone vendors were hit by annual declines, with Gionee, Meizu and Samsung shrinking to less than half of their respective 1Q17 numbers.  (Canalys, press, Apple Insider, 36Kr)

Gionee is launching 2 new smartphones in India: S11 Lite – 5.7” 1440×720 HD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, rear dual 13MP-2MP + front 16MP, 4GB+32GB, rear fingerprint scanner, Face Unlock, 3030mAh, INR13,999. F205 – 5.45” 1440×720 HD+, MediaTek MT6739, rear 8MP + front 5MP, 2GB+16GB, Android 7.1.1, Face Unlock, 2670mAh, INR8,999. (Android Headlines, NDTV, Economic Times, Gizmo China, India Today)

Samsung Galaxy J2 (2018) debuts in India – 5” qHD Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, rear 8MP + front 5MP, 2GB+16GB, Android 7.1, 2600mAh, INR8,190. (Android Headlines, NDTV)

OPPO A3 is announced – 6.2” 1080×2280 FHD+, MediaTek Helio P60, rear 16MP + front 8MP,  4GB+128GB, Android 8.1, 3400mAh, CNY2099. (GSM Arena, Gizmo China, GizChina)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Snap has released the next generation of Spectacles, its wearable camera, with new features for taking photos and water resistance. They are priced at USD149. Over the lifetime of the Spectacles, Snap sold just 220K units, the company says, eventually writing off unsold inventory worth almost USD40M. (Android Headlines, TechCrunch, The Verge, The Guardian, Tencent, Baijiahao, Sina)

Apple is reportedly working on a headset capable of running both AR and VR technology, which will feature 8K display for each eye. The project, codenamed T288, is still in its early stages but is slated for release in 2020.  (CN Beta, The Verge, CNET)

Automotive

Japan’s SoftBank Group is reportedly in talks to purchase a large chunk of shares in the upcoming initial public offering of Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO, a move that could help bolster a multibillion-dollar valuation for the startup. (CN Beta, WSJ, BizJournal)

Artificial Intelligence

The European Commission has now proposed a 3-prong series of measures intended to bolster A.I. on the continent, including investments of up to EUR20B– around USD1.8B– by the end of 2020. The overarching goal of the approach is to boost both the presence of A.I. in Europe and the E.U.’s competitiveness in the market for the technology.  (Android Headlines, The Guardian, Reuters, EU Commission, Sina, CN Beta)

According to Stone Temple based on its tests, Google Assistant is the most efficient virtual assistant as compared to its top rivals. Apple’s Siri came out last for efficiency in the same set of tests. (Stone Temple, blog, 199IT)

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