02-17: Samsung will launch Galaxy A phone every month since Mar 2019; TCL is reportedly working at least 5 foldable devices; etc.

Touch Display

TCL, the company behind Alcatel, is reportedly working at least 5 foldable devices. The list includes a tablet folds inward like a clamshell device, a tablet features a display on the outside, a phone that folds in, a phone that folds out, and a phone that can become a smartwatch. Stefan Streit, TCL’s general manager of global marketing, reveals that the company will release its first foldable device in 2020. (Phone Arena, CNET, The Verge, Huanqiu, My Drivers)

Apple has updated a patent with drawings of a foldable clamshell phone. This is a continuation of a patent originally filed in 2011 and updated in 2016 with a drawing of what might be an iPhone with a flexible display. (GSM Arena, USPTO, CNET, CN Beta)

The Fraunhofer FEP institute has teamed up with Korean-based LetinAR to develop an ultra-low-power OLED microdisplay based optic lens for AR applications. LetinAR’s PinMR technology uses the Pinhole Effect with tiny mirrors and embedded them with eyeglass lenses.  (OLED-Info, Fraunhofer FEP)

Universal Display Corporation (UDC), enabling energy-efficient displays and lighting with its UniversalPHOLED technology and materials, has announced an OLED evaluation agreement through its wholly-owned subsidiary UDC Ireland Limited with Seeya Information Technology. UDC will supply Seeya Technology with its proprietary UniversalPHOLED phosphorescent OLED materials for display applications.  (OLED-Info, AP News, UDC, Yahoo)

According to IHS Markit, Samsung monopolized the global flexible OLED production with 80% share in 2016. With the emerging of production capacity of other vendors, Samsung’s capacity share will be diluted. According to the existing production line plan, Samsung’s capacity share will drop sharply to 54% by 2020, when LG Display, BOE, Visionox and CSOT will account for 15%, 22%, 4% and 4%, respectively. (GF Securities report)

As the yield rate increasing, the cost of flexible OLEDs will drop rapidly. According to DSCC’s forecast, Samsung’s 7.3” foldable flexible OLED panel costs nearly USD180 in 2019, but will fall rapidly in the next 3 years, and the cost will fall to around USD90 in 2022, a drop of about 50%. (Everbright Securities report)

According to IHS’ forecast, global foldable OLED panel shipments will reach 1.4M units in 2019, and will increase to 50.5M in 2025, with a CAGR of 81.77%. Since the display area of the foldable OLED panel will increase by a factor of two, the actual demand for flexible OLED panels will be more impressive. (Everbright Securities report)

According to DIGITIMES Research, the production layout of CPI film with Korea-based Kolon Industries relatively fast, and trial production has begun in 1H18. SKC is scheduled to complete the mass production equipment construction of CPI film in 3Q19. At the same time, Korea LG Chem also intends to invest in the CPI film industry. (Everbright Securities report)


According to CICC, from the camera module aspect, single cam cost is about CNY26-27, low-end dual-cam is about CNY80-81, high-end dual-cam is more than CNY100, and tri-cam is about CNY250-300. Therefore, more manufacturers choose to use dual-cam + single-cam method to control costs. With the capacity of module manufacturers such as Sunny Optical, O-Film, QTech, etc. increasing, the price of dual-cam is also under pressure. (CICC report)

The growth of phone camera lenses has brought benefits to the industry. CICC expects that the phone camera lens industry will benefit from the penetration of tri-cam and will maintain double-digit market growth. In the low-end lens, Sunny Optical is constantly grabbing the market share of Largan Precision. With the increase in the number cameras equipped in a phone, CICC believes that it is expected to continue to benefit the growth of the optical industry. (CICC report)


Glasgow University has engineered a flexible supercapacitor made of layers of graphene and polyurethane that can obtain solar energy and store excess energy for future use. Power is generated through solar energy that passes through the top layer of the graphene via a layer of flexible photovoltaic cells below. With 2.5 volts as the new capacitor’s capacity, this newly-developed device can power many electronic devices. (VentureBeat, Science Times, The Engineer)


According to CICC, with 5G, wireless charging, etc., emerging, the glass penetration rate in 2018 is about 46%, up 27% year-on-year. Metal penetration dropped from 44% in 2017 to 28%, impacting the metal mechanical parts supplier Industrial Foxconn Industrial Internet (FII), BYD and so on. According to the calculation of the income and gross profit of the major mechanical components, the overall gross profit margin of the mechanical parts industry in 2018 decreased by 2.6 percentage points to 10.6%.。(CICC report)


Samsung Electronics is reportedly pouring resources into its telecom network equipment business, aiming to capitalize on the security fears hobbling China’s Huawei. (Gizmo China, Reuters, Wallstreet CN)


Samsung is taking another step in a bid to reclaim its lost crown in India from its Chinese rival Xiaomi by planning a multi-channel focused handset series, which is expected to contribute USD4B (over INR28,000 crore) in sales by the end of 2019. The SVP of Samsung India, Ranjiv Singh reveals that they are now creating a whole portfolio for the A series, which they will be launching from Mar. Till Jun, they will launch phones every month. (Android Authority, Economic Times, Sohu, Qianjia)

Samsung is planning to open 3 new retail stores in the US on 20 Feb 2019, also known as Samsung Experience Stores. Samsung will open its newest stores in Los Angeles (The Americana at Brand), New York (Roosevelt Field on Long Island in Garden City), and Houston (The Galleria). (CN Beta, Android Headlines, Android Central, Samsung)

Apple has reportedly agreed to purchase PullString, a San Francisco startup focused on the development and publication of voice apps for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and “internet of things” hardware. The firm’s main product, Converse, is a voice design and artificial intelligence tool that allows customers to create “expressive apps” with custom voices and advanced sound design. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, Axios)


Inventec is reportedly expecting large profits to be made from Apple’s next generation AirPods, which will debut along with the AirPower charging mat “very soon” in Spring 2019. They will cost USD199. Apple is also allegedly using a new exterior material for both the earbuds and the charging case, providing better grip. (CN Beta, IB Times, Techspot, Apple Insider, UDN)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

ARCore is Google’s platform for mobile augmented reality which does not require specialized hardware. ARCore 1.7 features a new Augmented Faces API for the front-facing camera. It creates a “high quality, 468-point 3D mesh” so that apps can overlay fun effects on a user’s face without a depth sensor. (VentureBeat, 9to5Google, CN Beta)

According to Sinolink Securities, the global VR/AR market size is expected to be reach USD13.7B in 2018, about 50% up year-on-year. In the past 2 years, the industry has maintained a high growth rate of over 50% and will continue after 2019. The global VR / AR market size is expected to exceed USD50B in 2021. In 2016, a large amount of capital poured into the VR industry. With the heat of 2 years of capital subsiding, but the industry is still developing rapidly. With the launch of Apple iPhoneX equipped with 3D sensing function in 2017, the AR industry picks up. (Sinolink Securities report)


Amazon.com would lead a USD700M investment in U.S. electric pickup truck startup Rivian Automotive, in Amazon’s biggest bet on technologies with potential to reshape the automotive sector. The deal represents a major endorsement of Rivian’s electric vehicle technology by the world’s largest online retailer. (TechCrunch, VentureBeat)

Companies with a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California with a safety driver reported their technology drove more than 2M miles during the most recent reporting period, according to disengagement reports recently submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Waymo shows a marked decrease in 2018 while driving more miles. (CN Beta, Market Watch, 9to5Google, Medium, DMV, DMV)

Didi Chuxing is reportedly planning to take on U.S. rival Uber in some of Latin America’s fastest-growing markets, recruiting managers in Chile, Peru and Colombia. (VentureBeat, SCMP, China Times)

According to the statistics of the China Automobile Association, the sales volume of new electric vehicles (EVs) reached 1.256M in 2018, which was 16.8 times of the sales volume in 2014. The CAGR for 2014-2018 reaches 102.5%. According to “Long-term Development Plan for the Automobile Industry”, the annual production and sales target of new EVs will reach 2M by 2020, while the sales volume in 2018 has reached 62.5% of the target, exceeding the target of the planning target. (Sealand Securities report)

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