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11-24: OPPO is reportedly planning to release a mobile SoC designed in-house; Xiaomi is currently building a huge 5G factory that’s highly efficient and automated; etc.

Chipsets

OPPO is reportedly planning to release a mobile SoC designed in-house. According to a trademark filed in EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), OPPO’s chip will be called OPPO M1. (GSM Arena, LetsGoDigital)

Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon has offered a comprehensive visual roadmap for the global rollout of 5G networks. The mid-band (sub-6GHz) flavor of 5G is going to spread far and wide during 2020, including initial rollouts in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Austria, France, Turkey, India, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Africa. Additionally, faster but shorter-distance millimeter wave 5G will be deployed in Japan, South Korea, and Russia during 2019. (Gizmo China, VentureBeat)

Intel vice president Michelle Johnston Holthaus has issued an official public apology for on-going chip shortage. She says that despite taking steps to ramp up production of 10nm and 14nm processors, “we have not yet resolved this challenge”. (Liliputing, Intel, Laoyaoba)

Intel has revealed new information about its Xe Graphics Architecture. The first Xe Graphics Architecture for HPC and AI will arrive as the 7nm “Ponte Vecchio” graphics card. Intel calls it the company’s “first exascale graphics card,” and it will debut in the Aurora Supercomputer—the world’s first exascale computer—at the Argonne National Laboratory in 2021. (CN Beta, Tech Report, The Inquirer, Techspot, Tom’s Hardware)

Apple and Intel have jointly filed an antitrust lawsuit against Fortress Investment Group, alleging the SoftBank Group unit stockpiled patents to hold up tech firms with lawsuits demanding as much as USD5.1B. (Mac Rumors, Reuters, AnandTech, IT Home)

In 2020, TSMC’s 7nm production capacity for MediaTek’s 5G SoC is increasing quarter by quarter, initially set at 7M for 1Q20, 10M for 2Q20, 21M for 3Q19, and 27M for 4Q20. This means that in 2020, MediaTek’s MT6885 and MT6873 will have a total shipment of more than 60M 5G SoCs. (Laoyaoba, KK News, ECCN)

According to Founder Securities, market demand has driven the global production center to gradually shift to mainland China. Domestic and foreign semiconductor manufacturing companies have increased their investment in domestic semiconductor production lines, such as Intel, Samsung, SK Hynix, TSMC, etc., or plan to build in China. Factory or foundry, not fully combed, domestically built or proposed 12” fab reaches 25 units. (Founder Securities report)

Touch Display

Xiaomi has two patents for foldable phones, one of which is a double-hinge foldable phone with 3 cameras, and the other is a clam-shell foldable design. One of the patents outlines a foldable phone with 3 parts and 4 cameras. The phone is designed with an asymmetric 3-stage double hinge design. (CN Beta, Dealintech, Gizmo China)

Samsung’s patent indicates that the company is working on a phone with “waterfall” display. The patent sketches reveal waterfall display only on one side but think it to be generic and the final product will have them on either side. (GizChina, LetsGoDigital, CN Beta)

The Hefei-based Seeya project opening ceremony is held in the Hefei New Station High-tech Zone, marking the official launch of the world’s largest silicon-based OLED production plant. The total investment of the project is over CNY2B, of which the first phase investment is CNY1.28B with a total construction area of 43,000 square meters, of which the fixed assets investment exceeds CNY1B. (Laoyaoba, Sina, China News)

Xiaomi is reportedly working on a new phone with quad rear cameras. A new patent suggests that Xiaomi could launch a dual-display smartphone. The patent hints that the phone will feature ultra-slim bezel design. The secondary rear display is nearly as big as the quad-camera housing at the back. (CN Beta, BGR)

Visionox has showcased a rollable flexible AMOLED panel. In addition, the company showcased a couple of interesting products like a foldable clamshell smartphone. Visionox’s rollable display had a dynamic curl radius of 7mm. (GSM Arena, IT Home, IT Home, GizChina)

Camera

A new bug has been found by security firm Checkmarx in the camera app from Google, Samsung, and other OEMs, which can secretly spy on the owner using their own phone’s cameras. For the hijacking to succeed, all the malicious app needs is to be granted data storage permissions. Currently Google and Samsung have issued patches. (Gizmo China, Checkmarx, Kuaibao, CNMO)

OnePlus 8 Pro’s design sketch shows that the phone is equipped with a display with 2 punch-holes, i.e., front dual cam; and rear triple cam—main camera + telephoto + ultrawide + 3D ToF. (Laoyaoba, 9to5Google, SlashGear, TNW, True Tech)

Smart Micro Optics (SMO) is launching Diple, which is a kit that is is capable of giving 1000x magnification using smartphone or tablet as monitor. The kit is expected to ship in May 2020. (CN Beta, Kickstarter, Tech Foe)

Redmi brand general manager Lu Weibing, has revealed that Xiaomi is working hard to overcome the screen camera technology. (GizChina, Sina)

Memory

SK Hynix has announced that they have started sampling products based on their 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory, which will soon start showing up in end-user devices. SK Hynix announced in Jun 2019 that their 128L 3D NAND had moved from development to mass production, and now it has been incorporated into SSDs and UFS modules that are sampling to major customers. (CN Beta, AnandTech, SK Hynix)

In Dec 2016, the China’s national storage project was officially started, and the first phase of the project in Sept of the following year was capped in advance. On 11 Apr 2018, the production chip machine was officially put into installation, which marked the national storage base entering the mass production preparation stage. At the end of the year, the 32-layer 3D NAND flash memory chip is trial-produced, and the 1Q19 capacity climbed to 5,000 pieces/month. Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC) storage capacity has climbed to 20,000 pieces / month. (Founder Securities report)

Biometrics

Facebook has once built an internal app that let employees identify people using facial recognition and their phone cameras. The app, which is developed between 2015 and 2016, utilizes Facebook’s vast collection of user identities to automatically recognize the person at whom the phone’s camera was pointed. (VentureBeat, Business Insider)

EgisTec expects its shipments to be lower-than-expected in 4Q19, due to customers’ intention to work off their existing inventory at quarter-end to settle accounts. Customers’ transition from old to new products will also drag down EgisTec’s shipments during 4Q19. Samsung Electronics, and several China-based first- and second-tier smartphone vendors are reportedly among EgisTec’s customers. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

Battery

South Korea’s ITM Semiconductor has supplied battery Protection Module Packages (PMP) to Samsung Galaxy S11. ITM takes the battery cells manufactured by LG Chem in Nanjing of China, applied PMP and packaged them from its Vietnamese plant. The smartphone battery size can go down by up to 57% to result in bigger battery capacity. (My Drivers, The Elec, Phone Arena)

Massive investments in battery manufacturing and steady advances in technology have set in motion a seismic shift in how we will power our lives and organize energy systems as early as 2030. Over the past 10 years, a global ecosystem has emerged to provide a foundation for rapid innovation and scaling of these new technologies. (Rocky Mountain Institute report)

Li-ion batteries’ scaling pathway is unlike that for silicon photovoltaic cells; investment continues to differentiate among chemistries with performance attributes that are best suited to specific use cases. As investment in Li-ion grows, companies are pursuing different battery chemistry compositions with widely varying performance attributes. (Rocky Mountain Institute report)

Connectivity

OPPO and Dutch network operator T-Mobile have announced that they will jointly develop a 5G test program in the Netherlands. The results of the research will be used to optimize 5G connectivity on the Dutch market. OPPO is committed to implementing 5G products and services worldwide within the “5G Landing Project”. (CN Beta, LetsGoDigital)

Phone

Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun revealed that the company is currently building a huge 5G factory that’s highly efficient and automated. He has revealed that this future 5G factory has the ability to manufacture 1M smartphones in a month. (CN Beta, Xianji, GSM Arena, My Drivers, Gizmo China, Reuters)

Redmi’s general manager, Lu Weibing, has revealed that in 2020 Xiaomi aims to break through Europe’s high-end products market. He has indicated that Xiaomi / Redmi phone market share in 3Q19 exceeded 10%, an increase of 73%. Good products “with kind prices are moving people” are also possible in high-income countries/markets. (GizChina, IT Home)

OPPO’s ColorOS design director Chen Xi has indicated that the functions of the phones are almost the same. The manufacturers not only selling hard-core technology, and ultimately they have to return to the user experience. If there is no emotional experience, it is thus meaningless to talk about technology. (My Drivers, 52RD)

According to Qualcomm’s study on global look at the key drivers of consumer audio use cases and purchasing decisions, brand trust and feature spec are the top factors driving spending for audio consumers worldwide. Ease-of-use is most important to Japanese consumers. Brand matters most in India. High-end features rank top of the list for purchase drivers in Germany. Style or fashion is the least important buying factor for audio consumers. (Qualcomm report, Qualcomm report)

vivo U20 (vivo U3 in China) is announced in India – 6.53” 1080×2340 FHD+ IPS, Qualcomm Snapdragon 675, rear tri 16MP-8MP ultrawide-2MP macro + front 16MP, 4+64 / 6+64GB, Android 9.0, rear fingerprint, 5000mAh 18W, INR10,990 (USD155) / INR11,990 (USD169). (GizChina, GSM Arena)

vivo V17 (rebranded vivo S1 Pro) is launched in Russia – 6.38” 1080×2340 FHD+ Super AMOLED, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, rear quad 48MP-8MP ultrawide-2MP macro-2MP depth + front 32MP, 8+128GB, Android 9.0, under display fingerprint, 4500mAh 18W, RUB22,990 (USD360). (GizChina, GSM Arena)

Wearables

Demand for Apple’s AirPods Pro has been “much higher” than expected. The shipment of AirPods line are expected to hit 60M units in 2019, doubling previous year estimates on the back of strong demand for the new AirPods Pro model. Inventec, Luxshare Precision Industry and Goertek manufacture AirPods for Apple. (Mac Rumors, Bloomberg, Apple Insider, CN Beta)

Artificial Intelligence

Sony has announced the establishment of Sony AI. This new organization, with offices globally in Japan, Europe, and the United States, will advance fundamental research and development of AI. Sony AI will combine world class fundamental research and development with Sony’s unique technical assets, especially in Imaging & Sensing Solutions, Robotics and Entertainment (Games, Music and Movies), driving transformation across all existing business domains and contributing to the creation of new business domains. (CN Beta, Sony)

Xiaomi has revealed that its Xiao AI is used by 49.9M users each month, and Xiao AI 3.0 supports multi-turn conversation like Amazon’s Alexa Conversations and Google’s Continued Conversation. It will allow for interruptions of the assistant at any time with new requests or commands. (VentureBeat, IT Home, IT Home, My Drivers)

Automotive

Audi has unveiled E-Tron Sportback, the company’s second electric car. The top-tier version of the new premium EV will offer up to 446km of range (277 miles) and is powered by dual electric motors with a total power output of 265kW, or around 350 horsepower. (The Verge, TechCrunch, CNET, Audi)

Tesla has unveiled the company’s first electric pick-up truck “Cybertruck”. The exterior is made from a newly developed stainless steel alloy. The base version of the truck will start at USD39,900. Cybertruck has a range of up to 500 miles (available in 250 and 300 mile versions). (CN Beta, Tesla, Digital Trends, Business Insider, CNN)

General Motors has confirmed that its upcoming electric pickup truck not only going to debut soon, but it will launch in 2021. (CN Beta, Jalopnik, CNN, CNET)

Byton, the Chinese electric-car startup with grand plans for a tech-filled SUV, has made its US introduction plans that much more credible. The company has announced a partnership with Electrify America, subsidy of Volkswagen Group that will provide free charging for Byton customers. (CN Beta, CNET, Electrive)

Robotics

Taking a little inspiration from the slimy world of slugs and snails and mixing in some modern-day robotics, University of Bristol has built a small, stretchy machine that can shuffle across surfaces and be stuffed into a pocket. The team imagines a host of applications for its so-called ElectroSkin, including deploying it in dangerous areas or even as an automated wall cleaner. (CN Beta, India Times, New Atlas)

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