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09-03: Xiaomi is testing the popular 5G band with its new device; A research shows that a phone is dirtier than a toiler; etc.

Chipsets

China’s chip designer and manufacturer Sanan Optoelectronics is reportedly in talks to acquire Israel-based communication chips company ColorChip. The deal discussed values the latter at around USD300M. (Laoyaoba, Laoyaoba, Reuters, CTech, Channel News Asia)

Huawei has designed the Kirin 980 to be 5G ready by building in compatibility with their Balong 5000 5G modem standalone chip, devices that include the Balong 500 modem will be 5G ready at launch. (CN Beta, My Drivers, Audroid, AnandTech)

Touch Display

FocalTech Systems accuses that Taiwan-based Novatek Microelectronics TDDI product with model NT36672A has infringed the company’s “touch display device, driver circuit and method” related patents. FocalTech has already filed a suit at Taiwan intellectual property court to ban Novatek from selling the product. (Laoyaoba, HQEW, China Times, 51Touch)

Foundry vendor production is tight in 1H18, and this would become more severe entering 2H18. The increasing demand of driver IC impacts the large-size panel driver IC shipment, in turns causing the shortage. IC design manufacturer (IDM) has increased the cost of driver IC up 10%. Novatek, Himax and other driver IC vendors are hoping to have revenues increase in 3Q18. Since 1H18, the 8” wafer of UMC and VIS is in shortage. (Laoyaoba, China Times, Yahoo, Taiwan News, Taipei Times)

Credit Suisse points out that TDDI chip penetration in smartphones is expected to reach 20%~30% in 2018, and more smartphones will be introduced into full screen in 2019, with penetration even reaching 40%. CINNO Research estimates that the actual shipment of TDDI chips will exceed 300M in 2018, up 70% from 2017, and the market size of TDDI will reach CNY5.5B by 2020, nearly double the CNY3B in 2018. (Laoyaoba, EE World, EEPW)

Camera

Samsung is allegedly working on a new Android smartphone that is equipped with a quadruple-camera setup on the back and is planned to be released later in 2018. (Android Headlines)

Memory

According to MIC senior analyst Chris Hung, thanks to the increase of the memory cost, in 2018 Taiwan memory industry value has grown 25% to NTD205.3B. However, as new production is open, especially from Mainland China, memory costs will be loosening since 2Q18. It expects that the cost will go down in 2H18, and the memory costs are difficult to increase in the coming 2 years. (MEM, Laoyaoba)

Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (XMC) 2nd phase of fab construction has begun, amount to total USD1.78B, aiming for flash memory, micro-controller and 3D special technology platforms. Till end of 2017, XMC’s NOR Flash wafer shipment has exceeded 750K units. Currently, XMC has monthly production of 12K of programmable flash and 15K units of CMOS image sensors. (Laoyaoba, HQEW, Sina, ESM China)

Biometrics

TrendForce estimates that ultrasonic and optical in-display fingerprint sensors will account for 13% of all fingerprint sensor technologies in 2019, significantly up from 3% in 2018. The cost of the optical in-display fingerprint sensor of Synaptics was USD12~15 each in 2017, but has a chance to decrease to lower than USD8 in 2019, as Goodix, Silead and other companies in turn enter the field.  (TrendForce, press, TrendForce[cn])

Connectivity

Xiaomi’s president, Lin Bin shows the test device, which is believed yet to be launched Mi MIX 3, showing a successful 5G signals tests. Xiaomi is testing the popular 5G band – band N78 (20MHz). There is also a second band (Band N257 – 100MHz). (CN Beta, Gizmo China, Weibo, Twitter)

Phone

IDC forecasts worldwide smartphone shipments to decline 0.7% in 2018 to 1.455B units, down from 1.465B in 2017. However, IDC believes the market will return to positive growth in 2H18 with volumes up 1.1% compared to 2H17. IDC expects the overall smartphone market to reach 1.646B units shipped in 2022. (CN Beta, IDC, press)

Insurance2Go, a gadget insurance provider based in Portsmouth, has undertaken a research using Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel, which shows that the average smartphone screen carries 3 times more bacteria than are visible to the eyes. More than a third of the respondents (35%) have never cleaned their phone with wipes, a cleaning fluid or a similar product, the research found. On average, each device had 84.9 units of infection whilst the average toilet seat contains about 24 units. (Laoyaoba, Metro, Digit, Insurance2go, China Times, Baijiahao)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Apple has acquired a startup focused on making lenses for augmented reality (AR) glasses, Longmont, Colorado-based Akonia Holographics. Akonia said its display technology allows for “thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images”. (Ubergizmo, Ubergizmo, 9to5Mac, Reuters, Fast Company, Bloomberg, VentureBeat, Sohu, Leiphone, )

Artificial Intelligence

[IFA2018] CEO of Samsung Electronics, HS Kim reveals that the company invested USD14B in research and development. The company has committed USD22B of investment over the next 3 years to advance artificial intelligence (AI). (CN Beta, Laoyaoba, The Sun, Daily Mail)

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