2-18 #PeaceOfMind : Samsung has temporarily halted chip production at its facilities in Austin; Baidu has appointed a CEO and decided on a brand for its EV venture with Zhejiang Geely; Amazon is setting up its first device manufacturing line in India to make Fire TV sticks locally; etc.

Taiwan-based IC design houses continue to see their clients make efforts to build up inventories, which may result in pressure on the supply chain, according to Digitimes. Fabless chipmakers continue to see their foundry partners’ capacity supply fall short of demand. Tight supplies of ICs are set to persist throughout 2021, with chip prices also being driven up. Production lead times at foundries, particularly 8” ones, have been extended to 4-6 months or even longer. The 8” foundries have already seen their capacity “sold out” in 2021. (Digitimes, press, Digitimes)

IBM claims to have developed one of the world’s first energy-efficient chips for AI inferencing and training built with 7nm technology. IBM says its 4-core chip, which remains in the research stages, is optimized for low-precision workloads with a number of different AI and machine learning models. Low-precision techniques require less silicon area and power compared with their high-precision counterparts, enabling better cache usage and reduce memory bottlenecks. This often leads to a decrease in the time and energy cost of training AI models. (VentureBeat, IBM)

Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li has revealed that the cloud general-purpose chip Kunlun 1, self-developed by Baidu, has been widely deployed in Baidu search engines and intelligent cloud ecosystem partners, with high performance. The next-generation 7nm Kunlun 2 chip is about to be mass-produced, and its performance is 3 times higher than that of Kunlun 1. (Laoyaoba, Sina, Sohu)

Samsung has temporarily halted chip production at its facilities in Austin, TX in response to the region’s power outages brought on by Winter Storm Uri. NXP Semiconductors has to shut down its wafer fab and assembly plants in Austin, Texas as well. The same has happened to fabs run by Infineon in the area. (The Verge, Austin American-Statesman, Data Center Dynamics, Extreme Tech)

According to Digitimes, Apple has reportedly tapped LG Display (LGD) to aid in the development of a foldable display for a future iPhone. LGD is helping with development of a folding display. Along with LGD, Apple is also said to be sourcing prototype displays from Samsung Display for a so-called “iPhone Fold” device. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, Digitimes)

OmniVision has announced OV50A image sensor, combining 50MP resolution, 1.0 micron pixel size, selective conversion gain and a 1/1.5” optical format with quad phase detection (QPD) autofocus technology and on-chip remosaic. QPD enables 2×2 phase detection autofocus (PDAF) across the sensor’s entire image array, for 100% coverage. (GSM Arena, OmniVision, XDA-Developers, Sohu, Sina)

Samsung has developed the industry’s first High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) processing power — the HBM-PIM. It can push out (up to) 1.2TFLOPS of embedded computing power, allowing the memory chip itself to perform operations that are usually reserved for CPUs, GPUs, ASICs, or FPGAs.  (CN Beta, GSM Arena, Samsung, Tom’s Hardware)

imec showcases the first IEEE 802.15.4z impulse-radio ultra-wideband (IR-UWB) transmitter chip striking a balance between UWB’s accurate and secure ranging capabilities for indoor localization and the need for increased energy efficiency. The chip is fabricated in 28nm CMOS (with an occupied core area of only 0.15mm2). It has been custom-developed to achieve a record-low power consumption of 4.9mW in a standard-compliant operation. (Laoyaoba, imec, Sohu, Techxplore)

According to Wave7 Research, OnePlus is a big success at Metro by T-Mobile, boosting OnePlus’ sales share there to nearly 15%. Metro sells 15-16M devices per year, which means if OnePlus keep this up, it could sell more than 2M Nord phones in 2021 at Metro alone. (PC Mag, GSM Arena, GizChina, Android Authority)

According to IDC, Chromebooks outsold Apple Macs for the first time over the course of a full year in 2020, a year largely driven by commercial demand for lightweight, powerful, and affordable personal computers. For the full year of 2020, the market share of Windows was down 4.9% in 2020 compared to 2019, while the Mac grew from 6.7% to 7.5%. IDC’s data includes collective information about desktops, laptops, and workstations. Chrome OS includes products made by Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo. (MacRumors, GeekWire)

With 40% of smart speakers being shipped in 4Q20, the total shipments for the year crossed 1M mark for the first time in India.  In terms of value, smart speakers worth INR463.4 crore (USD63.6M) are consumed during the period. Amazon’s market position will continue to remain strong. In India alone, Amazon has more than 30,000 skills to offer to users. (Gizmo China, MySmartPrice, techARC)

LG announces the global rollout of its 2021 TVs with products that give consumers more choice than ever before with an expanded lineup that features new OLED, QNED Mini LED and NanoCell TVs. Guaranteed to deliver an exceptional home entertainment experience, the comprehensive collection offers a wider range of screen sizes from the most compact 43” to a new-to-market 83” and a mesmerizing 88” so there is a perfect LG TV for any size room or user needs. (CN Beta, LG)

Kroger Health, the health care division of The Kroger, has announced plans to offer the first smartphone-enabled, at-home Gauss COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Kit to patients nationwide. The new at-home testing solution, which is currently awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), will offer affordable access to cutting-edge testing technology developed by Gauss, a leader in computer vision-aided healthcare diagnostics. (Mac Rumors, PR Newswire, Kroger, Sohu, CN Beta)

According Baidu CEO Robin Li, Baidu has appointed a chief executive officer and decided on a brand for its electric vehicle (EV) venture with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. He has also said that they would try to launch a new EV model in 3 years. (Laoyaoba, Reuters, Reuters, Sina)

Li Auto (Li Xiang) accumulative delivery volume of its electric vehicle has exceeded 40,000 units. Since its Li Auto One being launched on 4 Dec 2019, the company has delivered 40,000 units within 14.5 months, setting a record for the fastest delivery of new EVs. Its next generation EV dubbed X01 is equipped with lidar, with its supplier basically decided, to be launched in 4Q22.  (Laoyaoba, Sohu, New Today, Electrek)

Amazon is setting up its first device manufacturing line in India to make Fire TV sticks locally and has partnered with Cloud Network Technology, a subsidiary of Foxconn, to begin producing the device at its Chennai plant later 2021. It has reiterated its commitment to invest USD1B into the country to digitize 10M small and medium businesses by 2025. (Laoyaoba, The Verge, Nikkei, India Times, Live Mint, Amazon, CN Beta)

Amazon has announced the acquisition of Selz, which makes tools to help businesses launch their own online stores. It remains to be seen how Amazon is planning to utilize Selz. The company’s tools could give Amazon a competitive edge against the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce, among others. (Gizmo China, Selz, WSJ, IT Home)

Blockchain.com has announced that it has raised a USD120M funding round. The company develops a popular cryptocurrency wallet as well as an exchange, an explorer and more. Blockchain.com has built an open-source bitcoin wallet — it now supports more cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. (TechCrunch, Medium, Sina)

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