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09-18: Qualcomm says it is paying USD3.1B to buy TDK’s remaining interest in RF360 Holdings; Apple is reportedly on the verge of investing some USD1B in India manufacturing assets; etc.

Chipsets

Samsung Foundry will begin mass producing Qualcomm’s chips – dubbed the Snapdragon 865 – by the end of 2019 at its EUV-based 7nm process node to aim for release in 2020.  There allegedly two versions of Snapdragon 865 (SM8250), coded Kona and Huracan with both support LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 3.0. One to have integrated 5G modem (SDX55). (The Elec, Ijiwei, Fossbytes, Digitimes)

MediaTek expects to ship 60M 5G chips in 2020. The price of 5G chips will greatly improve MediaTek’s financial situation, because a 5G chip costs as much as USD50, which is 3-4 times higher than MediaTek’s current 4G chip cost of USD10-12, and profit margin is much higher. (CN Beta, UDN)

Qualcomm says it is paying USD3.1B to buy TDK’s remaining interest in an RFFE-focused joint venture called RF360 Holdings, a deal which will enable Qualcomm to fully integrate the technologies into its next-generation 5G solutions. Qualcomm and TDK worked together to expand the former’s expertise in developing RFFE parts that connect cellular modems to antennas. (CN Beta, Qualcomm, Market Watch, VentureBeat)

Display

Lenovo has filed a patent titled “flexible electronic device”. It seems to be a simple variant, so there is no second display. This is placed on the back of the previous model, as an additional notification screen that is used to turn off the phone at the moment. Lenovo offers an obvious lightweight plastic material for this model, rather than a second auxiliary screen, but this may lead to a better feel. (CN Beta, LetsGoDigital)

LG Display (LGD) is reportedly chosen to supply flexible OLED panels for Huawei’s flagship smartphone Mate 30 series. Huawei gets most of the Rigid OLED panels from Samsung Display, but it has been depending mostly on LG and BOE for flexible panels. LGD has earlier 2019 vied against BOE to supply the panels to Huawei P30 Pro. LGD has lost following last-minute quality checks, and is forced to compensate its suppliers for the project billions won. (My Drivers, BitFeed, The Elec)

Strategy Analytics estimates that less than 0.1% of smartphones will have foldable displays in 2019 and share will grow to more than 3% by 2024. Foldable display smartphones will be an ultra-premium category with a limited customer base that can afford the pricy new devices. Foldable display smartphones will initially primarily target business users. (CN Beta, Strategy Analytics)

LG Display (LGD) has announced a voluntary redundancy programme for its domestic production line employees amid mounting financial losses. In the face of China’s competitive pressure, LGD will shift its focus to OLED while adjusting the production of LCD panels. (Laoyaoba, CNBC, MSN)

Memory

The share of eMCP in mobile memory unit shipments has declined for the fourth consecutive quarter in 2Q19 to 58.9% from 65.4% in Q2 2018, according to Counterpoint. On the other hand, shipments of UFS grew rapidly at a rate of 44.3% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) in 2Q19, as almost all Android smartphones, priced around USD400 use UFS memory units. (Counterpoint Research, press)

Battery

VOOC technology was first launched in 2014 and now OPPO has filed over 1700 patents related to the technology. It is now used in over 30 devices and serves more than 145M users. OPPO has also licensed the technology to other companies. (OPPO, Laoyaoba, Gizmo China)

Connectivity

Wi-Fi Alliance has officially started its Wi-Fi 6 certification program. The Wi-Fi 6 certification program is focused on verifying the interoperability and feature sets of IEEE 802.11ax devices. (CN Beta, Wi-Fi, AnandTech, Extreme Tech, CNET)

Softbank will launch commercial 5G in Mar 2020 with network hardware from Ericsson and Nokia, notably using AI-backed multiple antenna arrays to deliver strong performance in urban areas. Softbank now plans to increase staffing and construction efforts so it can finish its early rollout by the first part of 2023 rather than 2025, covering around 60% of Japan with 11,210 base stations. (VentureBeat, Nikkei)

Korean mobile operator SK Telecom (SKT) and network infrastructure vendor Ericsson have completed testing of an end-to-end 5G transmission using handsets, radio equipment and a 5G core, a critical step towards the commercialization of standalone (SA) 5G. (Laoyaoba, ZDNet, Ericsson, RCR Wireless)

Phone

TF International Securities has increased its forecast of Apple iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro in calendar year 2019 alone to 70M~75M units. This is an increase from the previous estimation of 65M~70M units. The analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that demand for the iPhone 11 is stronger in China than in the US, though. (Apple Insider, TF Securities)

According to Counterpoint Research, smartphone shipments from the online channel in India grew 26% year-on-year (YoY) during 2Q19. The top 5 brands captured 84% share of the total online market. Xiaomi alone captured around 46% of the total online market in 2Q19. Its Redmi Note 7 Pro series, Redmi 6A, Redmi Note 6 Pro and Redmi Go drove volumes, contributing to more than 2/3 of Xiaomi’s total online sales. (My Drivers, Counterpoint Research)

According to Counterpoint Research, Wingtech, Huaqin, and Longcheer continued to dominate the global ODM/IDH market. The market is getting increasingly consolidated with the top 3 players accounting for 70% share in 1H19, compared to 52% in 2017 and 65% in 2018. Wingtech grew by 23% due to orders from Samsung and OPPO, while Xiaomi benefited Longcheer’s growth by shifting more orders to the company. Huaqin, unfortunately, was severely affected by the US trade ban to its top client Huawei. (Counterpoint Research, press)

Samsung reportedly will “unify the brand”, and potentially merging the Galaxy S and Note lines into a single range of devices dubbed “Galaxy One” in 2020. If so, Samsung’s new lineup will essentially represent an “S-series with an S Pen”. Also, Samsung is to fill the launch spot vacated by the Galaxy Note series with a successor to the Galaxy Fold. (CN Beta, Phone Arena, MS Poweruser)

Samsung has officially announced it has shipped over 1M units of Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series in 25 days. The previous high was Galaxy S8, which sold over 1M units in its first 37 days, followed by S2 and S10, Samsung said. (GizChina, Korea Times, Phone Arena)

While planning to launch new 4G models in 4Q19, HTC also plans to roll out 5G ones in 2020, HTC Taiwan president Darren Chen added. It is also working to integrate its VR solutions with handsets and 5G networks as a means to differentiate its smartphones from competitions and will also strengthen its cooperation with telecom operators to promote its Viveport VR content platform. (GSM Arena, Digitimes, press, Digitimes, HQEW)

Apple is reportedly on the verge of investing some USD1B in India manufacturing assets through partners like Taiwan-based Foxconn. The move comes as the company plans to begin export of ‘Made in India’ iPhones across the world. (Apple Insider, India Times, EET China, My Drivers)

Xiaomi’s Redmi K20 and K20 Pro have reached another milestone, topping 3M sales worldwide. (GSM Arena, Sina, My Drivers)

vivo NEX 3 5G is announced – 6.89” 1080×2256 FHD+ Super AMOLED ‘waterfall’, Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+, rear tri 64MP-13MP telephoto-13MP ultrawide + front motorized pop-up 16MP, 8/12+256GB (5G) / 8+128GB (4G), Android 9.0, under display fingerprint scanner, 4500mAh 44W, CNY5,698 / CNY6,198 / CNY4,998. (CN Beta, GSM Arena, Pocket-Lint)

Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite (or Mi CC9 in China) is launched in Spain – 6.39” 1080×2340 FHD+ Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, rear tri 48MP-8MP ultrawide-2MP depth + front 32MP, 4+64 / 6+128GB, Android 9.0, under display fingerprint scanner, 4030mAh 18W, EUR319 / EUR349. (GSM Arena, Mi.com, Gizmo China)

Honor Play 3e is announced – 5.71” 1520×720 HD+ IPS, MediaTek Helio P22 MT6762R, rear 13MP + front 5MP, 2+32 / 3+64GB, Android 9.0, no fingerprint scanner, 3020mAh, CNY699 / CNY899. (GSM Arena, Vmall, Gizmo China)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Facebook is allegedly partnering with Luxottica (owner of Ray-Ban, Oakley and other brands) on AR glasses nicknamed Orion. The glasses will function similarly to Snap’s Spectacles glasses and let users record their surroundings through cameras on the frame of the glasses. (Digital Trends, Engadget, The Information, CNBC)

Home

Motorola has unveiled 6 smart televisions for India partnering with Flipkart. The range includes 32” HD model (INR13,999), 43” Full HD TV (INR24,999), 43” 4K UHD TV (INR29,999), 50” 4K UHD TV (INR33,999), 55” UHD variant (INR39,999) and 65” UHD 4K model (INR64,999). (Android Headlines, NDTV, TechRadar)

Automotive

Hong Kong-based startup AutoX it has closed its Series A financing round, bagging USD100M. State-owned Dongfeng Motor, one of China’s largest automakers, led the round, while a fund under Alibaba and Silicon Valley-based incubator Plug and Play’s China fund both joined. Previously, AutoX’s investment list included employers such as OEMs and autopilot upstream chip makers, such as SAIC and MediaTek. (Leiphone, Sohu, SCMP, KrAsia)

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