08-03: Tesla is creating its own chips optimized for machine learning; Starbucks has officially struck a partnership with Alibaba Group; etc.


According to Qualcomm, sales from chips for smart watches and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices in 2018 will bring the company more than USD1B, or roughly USD250M per quarter. For comparison, in 2Q18 Qualcomm’s total revenue was USD5.6B.  (Phone Arena, Reuters, Tencent)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk indicates that the company is creating its own chips optimized for machine learning. Tesla has created what Elon Musk described as “the world’s most advanced computer specifically for autonomous operation”. (TechCrunch, Ars Technica, Sohu, Baijiahao)

Touch Display

Global shipments of notch smartphones – models with a u-shape notch at the top of the display – from the top-six vendors totaled 86.1M units in the first half of 2018, according to data from Sigmaintell Consulting. Huawei was the top vendor of notch-type smartphones with shipments totaling 25.4M units in 1H18; Apple ranked second with a shipment of 20.7M units, followed by OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi. (GSM Arena, Digitimes, press, Sigmaintell, press)

Ford has developed “Feel the View” that uses haptic feedback transmitted via the window to create a tactile representation of what’s outside of it. A camera captures the exterior scene and converts it to 255 levels of gray that are each assigned a level of feedback, imparted to the glass via an attached haptic motor. It gives the visually impaired person some impression of what’s outside. (CN Beta, CNET)

Toshiaki Arai, Chief Technologist of JOLED has revealed that in the future the company also aims to produce large displays – for TVs and signage applications, in addition to monitors, tablets and laptop medium-sized displays. (OLED-Info, JOLED, PJ Time)


China Unicom and Alibaba have announced jointly form a new company “Yun Li Smart Technology” , with investment amount to CNY353M. The new company will use Unicom’s platform and Alibaba’s big data and cloud computing, aiming at finance, security and manufacture segments. (CN Beta, STCN, Tencent, CC Time)


Samsung indicates that looking to the future, the company will continue to reinforce product competitiveness based on hardware leadership, by adopting cutting-edge technology and new form factors and gaining leadership in 5G. (Ubergizmo, Samsung)

Sometimes keeping ahead of the game means learning some tricks from rivals – a strategy Samsung has not been too proud to adopt in India where Xiaomi and other Chinese brands have made hefty inroads. Pages pulled from their playbooks include becoming savvier with online marketing to millennials as Samsung seeks to reinvent itself as a ‘younger brand’, as well as providing sales staff for smaller stores and even finding a new love for cricket with a sponsorship deal. (The Hindu, CN Beta, The Daily Star, Economic Times)

Apple is speaking with Chinese telecom firms to find ways to reduce spam received through its messaging service. (Ubergizmo, Reuters, iFeng)

Huawei consumer business group CEO Richard Yu is meeting with Suning Commerce Group chairman Zhang Jindong again. In Aug 2017, both companies have reached a strategic partnership agreement that Suning will sell Huawei’s products with a total value of CNY30B on Suning’s e-commerce platforms in 2018-2020, and both parties have agreed that this target would be met. (iFeng, Selerity Corp)

Moto Z3 is announced – 6” 2160×1080 FHD+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 834, rear dual 12MP-12MP + front 8MP, 4GB+64GB, Android 8.1, side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 3000mAh, USD480; and Moto 5G mod to be launched in early 2019. (CN Beta, Android Authority, Liliputing, GSM Arena)

BlackBerry Evolve and Evolve X are announced in India featuring 5.99” 2160×1080 FHD+ LTPS, Android 8.1 (DTEK by BlackBerry), rear fingerprint scanner, 4000mAh: Evolve – Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, rear dual 13MP-13MP + front 16MP, 4GB+64GB, INR24,990. Evolve X – Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, rear dual 12MP-13MP + front 16MP, 6GB+64GB, INR34,990. (Liliputing, GSM Arena, Crack Berry, Gizmo China)

Samsung Galaxy On8 is launched on Flipkart India – 6” 1480×720 HD+ Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, rear dual 16MP-5MP + front 16MP, 4GB+64GB, Android 8.0, 3500mAh, INR16,999. (Gizmo China, GSM Arena, Flipkart, XDA-Developers)

Transsion’s Infinix Smart 2 is launched in India on Flipkart – 5.45” 1440×720 HD+, MediaTek MT6739, rear 13MP + front 8MP, 2GB+16GB / 3GB+32GB, Android 8.1, 3050mAh, INR5999 / INR6999. (GizChina, Economic Times, India Today)

Xiaomi’s crowdfunded QIN multi-parent AI phone Qin1 / Qin1s (4G) goes official – 2.8” 240×320 display, MediaTek MT6260A / Spreadtrum SC9820E (4G), 8MB+16MB / 256MB+512MB (4G), T9 physical button, USB Type-C, 1480mAh, CN199. (Sina, Laoyaoba, GSM Arena, Globe Mobiles, You Pin)

GOME U9 is announced, featuring triple layer of security namely voice, facial and fingerprint recognition – 6.18” 2246×1080, MediaTek Helio P23, rear dual 12MP-5MP + front 16MP, 6GB + 64/128GB, GOME OS 3.0, 3160mAh, CNY1799 / CNY1999. (CN Beta, CNMO, Sohu)

PCs / Tablets

The worldwide tablet market declined 13.5% during 2Q18 as global shipments fell to 33M, according to IDC. Slate tablets accounted for the majority of the market with 28.4M units, down 14.5% from the previous year. Meanwhile, detachable tablets also declined during the quarter largely due to the high-profile product launches in 2Q17 and the absence of timely updates to those products in 2Q18. (VentureBeat, IDC, press, Tencent)

Strategy Analytics shows an extremely competitive tablet market where many Android vendors are losing share and revenue due to falling prices and little innovation compelling new consumer sales. Apple, Huawei and Microsoft each showed shipment growth in 2Q18 and combined to take 40% market share. Despite these successes from market leaders, the tablet market declined 6% year-on-year to 40.9M units in 2Q18 as demand for Android Slates took a beating. (Phone Arena, Strategy Analytics, press, 199IT, Sina)

Global tablet shipments are expected to hit the level of 40M units in 3Q18, up from 37.08M units in 2Q18, with the growth momentum to be partly generated by the launch of new models by Apple, Digitimes Research estimates. The global tablet shipments for the whole 2018 are forecast to reach 150M units, down 4%-5% on year. (Digitimes, press)


According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), the total smart speaker market has now reached 50M units in the United States. Among the installed base of U.S. devices, Amazon has 70%, Google has 24% and Apple has 6%, which means Apple has sold approximately 3M HomePod speakers to date in the U.S. (Ubergizmo, Cult of Mac, Sohu, CN Beta)


Grab, the ride-hailing service that struck a deal to take Uber out of Southeast Asia, has announced that it has pulled in USD2B in new capital as it seeks to go beyond ride-hailing to offer more on-demand services. The USD2B figure includes a USD1B investment from Toyota which is announced in Jun 2018. (TechCrunch, Baijiahao, iFeng)

Daimler has teamed up with Swiss company Luxoft, which specializes in global IT services to develop a software platform that will power the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system which will be installed in all the new Mercedes A-class models. (CN Beta, Tyres and Parts, Automotive Business Review)


Starbucks president and CEO Kevin Johnson reveals that Starbucks has officially struck a partnership with Alibaba Group with a multipronged plan to boost the beverage company’s digital and physical presence in China. (NY Times, CN Beta, CNBC)

The Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance (AACA) led by Alibaba Group now has 105 members, from 16 countries and regions. AACA has destroyed 247 workshops producing and selling fake goods over 2017, and helped police detain more than 300 suspects, adding the amount of money involved in the cases was CNY1B (USD145.6M). (CN Beta, Laoyaoba, My Drivers, China Daily)

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