3-11 #Security : Apple has announced that it plans to increase its corporate spendings in Germany; SMIC’s 14nm process yields have reportedly reached 90-95%, tying TSMC’s equivalent process; Apple is reportedly planning to reduce the production capacity of the new iPhone 12 mini; etc.

NVIDIA has announced AI Enterprise, a software suite of enterprise-grade AI development tools and frameworks supported by NVIDIA with VMware vSphere 7 Update 2. To power the applications in Nvidia AI Enterprise, VMware vSphere 7 Update 2 is now certified for Nvidia A100 Tensor Core GPUs on Nvidia-Certified Systems, which include servers from Dell Technologies, HPE, Lenovo and Supermicro. (CN Beta, NVIDIA, Globe Newswire)

The prolonged suspension of Samsung’s chip plant in Austin due to power shortage caused by freeze is increasing the possibility that smartphone production of Samsung and Apple maybe negatively affected from the fallout. The Austin plant has production capacity of 20,000 wafers per month. Samsung conventionally stocks up a month and a half worth of components, so the suspension of the factory will not affect the company yet. (The Elec, Gizmo China)

Apple has announced that it plans to increase its corporate spendings in Germany with investment amount to EUR1B (USD1.2B). The company wants to set up a new facility in Munich, Germany, called European Silicon Design Center, which will focus on 5G and potentially future wireless technologies. (MacRumors, Apple Insider, Apple, TechCrunch, CN Beta)

Sony purchased 35 patents from Intel in Nov / Dec 2020 with regard to the gate-all-around (GAA) transistor technology as an advanced semiconductor process technology. The GAA can be defined as a next-generation transistor structure capable of further refining chips. (Laoyaoba, Business Korea)

SMIC’s 14nm process yields have reportedly reached 90-95%, tying TSMC’s equivalent process. SMIC is at full capacity for all processes, with orders for some mature processes already scheduled for 2022. The company’s 28nm, 14nm, 12nm, and N+1 technologies have entered volume production at scale, and 7nm technology development has been completed and can enter risky volume production in Apr 2021. (CN Beta, UDN, IT Home, Sohu, CN Techpost, XuanguBao)

E Ink has announced the launch of their new E Ink Kaleido product, E Ink Kaleido Plus (New Kaleido). E Ink Kaleido displays offer 16 levels of grayscale and are capable of displaying 4096 colors. E Ink Kaleido utilizes a new printed Color Filter Array (CFA) technology in conjunction with E Ink’s latest generation, faster and brighter ink layer. (My Drivers, CN Beta, Business Wire, Good Reader)

Xiaomi incoming foldable smartphone will allegedly adopt an internal structural design similar to that of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Z Fold 2. This also includes the hinge design. Xiaomi foldable phone will use a foldable OLED panel supplied by Samsung Display, with a specific size of 8.03”. The phone will also be equipped with a 6.38” secondary screen at the rear. (GizChina, Weibo, Gizmo China)

Demand for notebook computers is expected to remain strong throughout 2Q21 due to the persisting stay-at-home economy that arose in the wake of the pandemic, according to TrendForce. In response to the high demand for notebooks, PC OEMs are actively raising a consistent inventory of components, including client SSDs. Nonetheless, client SSDs are now in increasingly tight supply because the preexisting shortage of NAND Flash controllers is now exacerbated by the power outage at Samsung’s Austin-based semiconductor plant. SSD manufacturers are therefore preparing to raise the prices of SSDs. Accordingly, TrendForce has also revised up its forecast of client SSD prices for 2Q21 from “mostly flat” to a 3-8% increase QoQ instead. (Neowin, TrendForce, TrendForce)

Amazon offers its Amazon One contactless payment device at 9 Seattle-area stores, with more to come. Initially introduced at 2 Seattle-area Amazon Go stores in Sept 2020, Amazon One is a proprietary technology designed to let customers use their unique palm signature to pay or present a loyalty card at a store. Amazon has been gradually adding Amazon One payment at select Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star stores in and around Seattle. (The Verge, Amazon, CN Beta)

HTC has officially announced a next-gen version of its HTC Vive Tracker (now dubbed 3.0) and the much-teased Facial Tracker that clips to the bottom of a headset. The Facial Tracker is an accessory that tracks 38 facial movements, reading motion from a user’s lips, jaw, teeth, tongue, chin and cheeks. Both the Facial Tracker and Vive Tracker 3.0 are priced at GBP129 / USD129 each. (CN Beta, Pocket-Lint, Road to VR)

Samsung has reportedly sold 590,000 devices from its Galaxy S21 series. The numbers are the highest since the Galaxy S8 (620,000 units). (My Drivers, JKN, GSM Arena)

Apple is reportedly planning to reduce the production capacity of the new iPhone 12 mini. In addition, 2 new Apple laptops with Apple Silicon processors have been put on the production schedule. (GSM Arena, Nikkei, Phone Arena)

LG filed 3 patent suits against TCL in Nov 2019. The Mannheim Regional Court has ruled in favor of the South Korean tech giant. This particular suit was regarding the standard essential patent EP 2627146 B1. The 3 patents are used in LTE. (CN Beta, GSM Arena, LG)

Facebook is officially launching Instagram Lite, a less data- and storage-intensive Android-only version of its popular photo and video app. It will take up just 2MB on a phone, and it is going live in 170 countries, with a focus on emerging markets. (TechCrunch, The Verge, Facebook)

According to Omdia, Apple iPhone 11 was the most shipped smartphone in 2020 with 64.8M units in shipments and USD754 ASP (Average Selling Price). Its predecessor (iPhone XR) topped the list in 2019 but the units were less at 46.3M and the ASP was a bit more at USD777. Further, the second, third, seventh, and tenth positions were also occupied by Apple with the 2020 iPhone SE (24.2M), iPhone 12 (23.3M), iPhone 12 Pro Max (16.8M), and iPhone 12 Mini (14.8M). (Laoyaoba, Gizmo China, CN Beta, Phone Arena)

ASUS ROG Phone 5 series is announced featuring 6.78” 1080×2448 FHD+ AMOLED 144Hz HDR10+, pressure sensitive zones (gaming triggers), touch sensor on the back cover, Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, rear tri 64MP-13MP ultrawide-5MP macro + front 24MP, Android 11.0, fingerprint on display, DTS:X stereo speakers (2 dedicated amplifiers), 6000mAh 65W, 10W reverse charging: 5 – 8+128 / 12+256 / 16+256GB, EUR800 / EUR900 / EUR1,000. 5 Pro – 16+512GB, EUR1,200. 5 Ultimate – ROG Vision monochrome PMOLED display, 18+512GB, EUR1,300. (GSM Arena, Neowin, Engadget)

Huawei Mate 40E 5G is launched in China – 6.5” 1080×2376 FHD+ HiD OLED 90Hz, Kirin 990E 5G, rear tri 64MP-8MP telephoto 3x optical zoom OIS-16MP ultrawide + front 13MP, 8+128 / 8+256GB, Android 10.0 (no GMS), fingerprint on display,4200mAh 40W, fast wireless charging 40W, reverse charging 5W, CNY4,599 (USD705) / CNY5,099 (USD785). (GSM Arena, Huawei, MyFixGuide)

Drone delivery Zipline has begun drone delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to selected health facilities within its service area in Ghana. This makes Ghana the first country in the world to deploy drones on a national scale to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. The COVAX Facility shipped 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, from the Serum Institute of India (SII) from Pune, India to Accra, Ghana. (The Verge, Drone Line, Business Insider, CN Beta)

Amazon appears to have reached the “late-prototype stage” in the creation of its secretive home robot codenamed Vesta. Amazon’s Lab126 is reportedly heavily focused on Vesta as one of its biggest current hardware projects. (CN Beta, The Verge, Business Insider, SlashGear)

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