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08-02: MediaTek 5G chipset based on 7nm mass production will start in 1Q20; Sharp will eventually withdraw from the business of manufacturing OLED panels for smartphones; etc.

Chipsets

MediaTek CEO Cai Lixing has revealed that the 5G chipset based on the 7nm process will deliver samples to customers in 3Q19, whereas, mass production will start in 1Q20. At the same time, more 5G SoC products will be launched in 2020, and the second 5G SoC will be available in 1H20, he further added. (GSM Arena, TME, MediaTek, My Drivers)

ZTE’s Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer, Wang Xiang has confirmed that the 7nm based 5G chipset will be available later in 2019. He has further added that 5G smartphones are costlier than 4G because it uses 50% more antennas. Another reason is that the 5G chips have not been mass-produced. Yet he believes that the price of 5G smartphones will come close to 4G ones by 2H20. (Gizmo China, My Drivers)

Touch Design

LG’s new foldable phone patent shows a tri-fold phone. The idea of a tri-fold display is an interesting one, because if each side has an 18:9 aspect ratio, it would be 3:2 when completely unfolded. (CN Beta, TME, Neowin)

U-Best Innovative Technology, a chemical material specialist, has said that it has begun small volume shipments of its clear hard coat films for production of flexible OLED panels for foldable smartphone and notebook applications. (Digitimes, press, U-Best)

Sharp will eventually withdraw from the business of manufacturing organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels for smartphones. Sharp shipped a total of 60,000 smartphone OLED panels in 2Q19, according to IHS Markit. However, Sharp has not been producing OLED panels for smartphones since Jul 2019. (My Drivers, TechNews, Business Korea, Money DJ)

Camera

Huawei has filed 2 trademark applications with EUIPO, namely Air Glass and SuperSensing. Air Glass trademark includes covers for smartphones; cases for smartphones; Protective glasses; covers for tablet computers; protective films adapted for smartphones; Stands adapted for mobile phones. SuperSensing is SuperSpectrum sensor, the ISP (Image Signal Processor) and the Kirin 980 chipset work together in such a way that they can capture 40% more light. (CN Beta, LetsGoDigital, GizChina, GizChina)

Memory

Western Digital (WD) and its manufacturing partner Toshiba Memory Co (TMC) has resumed normal operation of almost all of their joint production lines at their Yokkaichi Operations campus in Japan. Damages to wafer and manufacturing tools will cost WD up to USD339M in total. A 13-minute unexpected power outage in the Yokkaichi province in Japan on 15 Jun 2019 affected the manufacturing facilities jointly operated by Western Digital and TMC. WD said in late Jun that the accident would reduce its NAND flash wafer supply in 3Q19 by approximately 6 EB (exabytes), which is believed to be about a half of the company’s quarterly supply of NAND. (CN Beta, AnandTech)

Contract prices for mobile DRAM memory are set to register another sequential drop of 10%-15% in 3Q19, and will continue trending downward in 4Q19, according to TrendForce. The price falls are expected to decelerate in 4Q19, nevertheless. Disappointing smartphone sales continue to drag down the overall mobile DRAM demand. The global smartphone unit production is forecast to decline nearly 5% in 2019. (TrendForce, TrendForce, press, Digitimes)

According to IC Insights, despite a 38% sales decline expected in 2019, the DRAM market is forecast to remain the largest of all IC product categories again in 2019 with sales reaching USD62.0B, down from USD99.4B in 2018.  IC Insights believes the DRAM market will account for 17% of total IC sales in 2019.  By comparison, DRAM sales accounted for 23.6% of the total IC market in 2018. (Digitimes, IC Insights, press)

Battery

References to reverse wireless charging that appear in the latest MIUI China betas suggest that Xiaomi plans to implement the feature in an upcoming smartphone sooner rather than later. The references also reveal that reverse wireless charging will be disabled if charging does not start within 90s. (Android Authority, XDA-Developers, CN Beta, Sina)

Electrify America, the entity created to spend Volkswagen diesel emissions fines on zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, and charging company Stable Auto plan to open a pilot charging site in San Francisco in early 2020. The charging stations for the pilot site will be provided by Electrify America, while Stable will provide the robotic arms and manage the overall project. (CN Beta, Digital Trends)

Didi Chuxing has announced that it has formed a joint venture with BP, the British gas, oil and energy company, to build electric-vehicle charging infrastructure in China. The charging stations will be available to Didi and non-Didi drivers. (TechCrunch, Caixin, Auto Home)

Phone

HTC is reportedly planning to re-enter the Indian smartphone market in Aug 2019 by launching new smartphones. The company ended its operations in the country soon after its South Asia head and in-charge of Indian business Faisal Siddiqui resigned back in 2018. HTC will reportedly sell its smartphones through Inone international distribution network. (GSM Arena, 91Mobiles, CN Beta)

ByteDance has introduced a search function in ByteDance’s Toutiao news app. Users can try the function in the app and provide feedback and suggestions on the new function. (TechCrunch, Leiphone, IT Home)

Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users will total 1.5B units in 2019, a 2.5% decline year over year, according to Gartner. However, Gartner expects smartphone sales to grow again in 2020, driven by broader availability of 5G models and the promotion of 5G service packages in various parts of the world by communications service providers (CSPs). (Gartner, press, data, TechCrunch, Teller China)

According to Digitimes, Global shipments of 5G-enabled smartphones might come higher than market expectations, with some market watchers believing that such shipments are likely to reach 150M~200M units or an over 10% share of global handset shipments in 2020. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

Google has explained the stock “Phone” app is getting the new feature. This is an automated voice service feature and so basically when a user is trying to contact an emergency service, the automation will relay the information to the 911 operator, including advising of the likelihood that the user cannot speak and also the user’s location. (Android Headlines, Google, CN Beta)

In China, Redmi Note 7 series sales have exceeded 15M units since it went on sale for the first time. In India, Xiaomi is celebrating selling 5M units of the Note 7 series. (Gizmo China, Twitter, iGeek)

Wearables

Redmi has just announced that the Redmi AirDots crossed 1M sales in a month recently. It features Bluetooth 5.0 chipset, and priced at CNY99.9. (GizChina, My Drivers, IT Home)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

BBC Studios is working with developers from Preloaded, the corporation is bringing Micro Kingdoms to Magic Leap, providing a new way of interacting with the content. (Pocket-Lint, Preloaded, Yivian)

Fintech

According to various Bitcoin blockchain explorers and market information websites, over 17,850,000 Bitcoin (17,850,600 according to CoinMarketCap) have been mined and are classed as being “in circulation”. That is a hair over 85 percent of the cryptocurrency‘s supply limit of 21M coins. Looking forward, May 2020 will see the next reduction in miner payouts — from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC per block. (CN Beta, TNW, Coin Telegraph, Blockchain)

Economy

President Trump, frustrated by increasingly fruitless negotiations with China, has said that the United States would impose a 10% tariff on an additional USD300B worth of Chinese imports in Sept 2019. The new tariff would come on top of the 25% levy that Mr. Trump has already imposed on USD250B worth of Chinese imports, resulting in the United States taxing nearly everything China sends to the United States. (Engadget, NY Times, VOA Chinese, BBC)

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