4-24 #Shopping : Samsung is reportedly interested in NXP Semiconductors; Samsung Electronics and UMC have signed a cooperation agreement; JD.com has announced it has reached 3-year strategic collaboration with OPPO, OnePlus and realme; etc.

Competition is heating up among U.S. states to attract Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor plant worth USD17B. Two sites in Arizona known as candidate sites for Samsung’s semiconductor plant are expected to sell for at least USD127.7M and USD86.13M, respectively. Arizona has recently emerged as a hub for global semiconductor production. It succeeded in attracting a USD12B semiconductor plant from Taiwan’s TSMC in 2020. Intel also announced in Mar 2021 that it would invest USD20B to build two new plants in Arizona. Samsung is currently negotiating with Austin over USD805.47M in incentives over the next 20 years.  (Laoyaoba, Business Korea, Business Korea)

Samsung is reportedly interested in NXP Semiconductors. J.P. Morgan analyst JJ Park believes that Samsung will be looking for U.S.-based automotive semiconductor companies. He believes Texas Instruments (TI), Microchip Technologies and Analog Devices (ADI) are other options. Park, however, does not see potential fits in STMicroelectronics or Infineon Technologies. (Laoyaoba, Barron’s, SamMobile, Business Korea)

Guoxin Micro has revealed that that the company currently mainly adopts manufacturing processes of 40nm and above. The company has said that the current mainstream EDA software used by chip design companies is concentrated in a few companies, and it is difficult to have substitutes and there are risks. FPGA development software is special tool software, not general-purpose software, and cannot be replaced. (NBD, Laoyaoba)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has revealed that it will invest USD2.89Bin spending to increase capacity, responding to a global chip shortage that has affected carmakers in particular. (Yahoo, Reuters, Sina)

Samsung Display supplied 78% of all OLED panels used for Apple iPhone in 2020. However, it will only supply about 65% of all panels required by Apple in 2021. t Apple is expected to source 169M OLED panels in 2021. Samsung is expected to supply 110M units with LG Display and BOE providing 50M and 9M units, respectively. (GizChina, SamMobile, The Elec, GSM Arena)

According to Counterpoint Research, foldable smartphone shipment share will remain in low single digits for the foreseeable future as the industry experiments with various form factors, designs, materials and operating system variants. Foldables accounted for just a fraction of 1% of 1.3B in 2020 total addressable market in smartphones and is expected to reach just 1.2% by 2022. Samsung has led the segment in terms of design, marketing, and shipments, dominating in 2020 with over 80% share of the foldables market. (Gizmo China, Counterpoint Research)

Xiaomi’s new flagship and new foldable phone are rumored to adopt camera under display. Lu Weibing, president of Xiaomi China and GM of Redmi brand, has said that Xiaomi’s 3rd-gen camera under display technology has solved 2 major problems in the industry. One is whether the display in the hole area can be visually the same as other areas (pixel compensation); and two is the transmittance of the camera’s selfie and the color cast caused by it. (My Drivers, Weibo, Gizmo China)

Samsung Electronics and UMC have signed a cooperation agreement to expand the production of image sensors. Samsung has decided to transfer the production of mobile phone Image Signal Processor (ISP) and related panel driver chips to UMC. Samsung will purchase 400 sets of equipment including etching, thin film, yellow light, and diffusion for the fab. UMC plans to start construction this season and mass production in 2023. The target monthly production capacity is planned to reach 27,000 pieces. (Laoyaoba, UDN, EET-China, SamMobile, SemiMedia)

The Ministry of Science and ICT and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has chosen processing-in-memory (PIM) AI semiconductor as a national project. The Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation (IITP) is planning a preliminary review for the project from Jun to Jul 2021. If the project passes the review, it will start before the end of 2021 and get KRW992.4B in funding from 2022 to 2028. The budget is preliminary is like to be cut by up to half. They reportedly expected it to be difficult for the project to proceed as major memory companies Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix would not be part of it. (Laoyaoba, The Elec)

Amazon has announced that it is bringing palm scanners to one of its Whole Foods stores in Seattle, with plans to roll out the new payment system to 8 stores in the Seattle area in the coming months. Customers will hold their hands above the scanner for a contact-free payment method. Amazon has already tried the system, which it calls Amazon One, at some of its own Amazon-branded stores in Seattle, including Amazon Go and Amazon Go Grocery. (CN Beta, The Verge, TechCrunch, Amazon, CNN)

Arbe, a global leader in next-generation 4D Imaging Radar Solutions, has announced that AutoX has chosen its 4D Imaging Radar Platform for their Level 4 autonomous vehicles, RoboTaxis, as well as other autonomous driving projects. Over the next 5 years, AutoX is expected to integrate 400,000 Arbe-based ultra-high resolution radar systems in their Level 4 fleet. (TechCrunch, PR Newswire, Yahoo)

China’s leading autonomous driving technology provider AutoX has announced a partnership with Honda China to deploy Honda cars fitted with AutoX’s autonomous vehicle technology for testing on public roads in China. Honda China will provide two of its models, the Honda Accord and Inspire vehicles, to deploy AV technology and testing in some of China’s most populous cities. (Automotive World, Gizmo China, Caixing Global, Sina, Gasgoo)

Apple is working on technology that could detect a user’s blood pressure by using neutral networks and seismocardiogram data, negating the need for a blood pressure cuff. Apple’s patent application titled “Interpretable neural networks for cuffless blood pressure estimation”, explores the use of neural networks to estimate blood pressure using seismocardiogram data. (Apple Insider, USPTO, Gizmo China)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed that Tesla Solar Panels and Solar Roof will only be sold as an integrated product withTesla Powerwall battery creating the kind of brand synergy he has been seeking. (Engadget, Tesla, Electrek)

Samsung has announced a new service dubbed Pick n Drop in India. It is a pick-up-and-drop service for smartphone and tablet repairs in the country. Samsung is offering this new repair service across 46 cities across India. (Sammy Hub, Gadgets Now, GizChina, Samsung)

Samsung has revealed that only a fraction of the 2B Galaxy phones had found their way back to Samsung’s recycling program as of 2019. Since 2015 when its old phone collection campaign began, just 38,000 old phones had been sent back to the firm as of May 2019. It turns out that 38,000 represents just 0.0019% of the 2B Galaxy devices that the firm had sold as of Feb 2019. (Samsung, Neowin, Gizmo China)

Facebook has announced a suite of new audio products. The company is doing more than just building its own take on Clubhouse, however, it is also announcing tools that allow podcast creators to share long-form audio, a new Spotify integration for music and a brand-new short-form experience called Soundbites. (CN Beta, Facebook, TechCrunch)

JD.com has announced it has reached 3-year strategic collaboration with OPPO, OnePlus and realme: OPPO to achieve CAGR of 100% on JD.com’s sales with 3 years; OnePlus’ total sales on JD.com to achieve 300% YoY in short term, and mid- and long-term goal of 100% CAGR growth; realme’s goal of 2021 JD.com turnover will increase by more than 6 times YoY within a 3-year CAGR of 100%.  (Laoyaoba, Sina, iFeng)

Microsoft claims it is on pace to build 50-100 new datacenters each year. The company manages upwards of 200 data centers in 34 countries with plans to expand its presence into 10 more countries by the end of 2021. (CN Beta, ZDNet, OnMSFT, Microsoft)

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) finds that Apple iPhone 12 models accounted for 61% of US iPhone sales in 1Q21. Of all the iPhone 12 models, the iPhone 12 is the best selling, follows by the 12 Pro Max, 12 Pro, and 12 mini. Apple iPhone 11 has the largest share for a single model at 24%. (GSM Arena, 9to5Mac, CIRP)

Infinix Hot 10S and 10S NFC is launched in Indonesia – 6.82” 720×1640 HD+ v-notch 90Hz, MediaTek Helio G85, rear tri 48MP-2MP depth-AI lens + front 8MP, 6+128GB / NFC 4+128GB, Android 11.0, rear fingerprint, 6000mAh / NFC 5000mAh, USD130 / USD120. (GizChina, GSM Arena)

Xiaomi POCO M2 Reloaded is launched in India – 6.53” 1080×2340 FHD+ v-notch, MediaTek Helio G80, rear quad 13MP-8MP ultrawide-5MP macro-2MP depth + front 8MP, 4+64GB, Android 10.0, rear fingerprint, 5000mAh 18W, INR9,499 (USD126). (GizChina, GSM Arena, Twitter)

realme 8 5G is announced in India – 6.5” 1080×2400 FHD+ HiD IPS LCD 90Hz, MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G, rear tri 48MP-2MP macro-2MP depth + front 16MP, 4+128 / 8+128GB, Android 11.0, side fingerprint scanner, 5000mAh 18W, INR14,999 (USD200) / INR16,999 (USD227). (GSM Arena, Gizmo China)

realme Q3 series is announced in China: Q3 Pro 5G – 6.43” 1080×2400 FHD+ HiD Super AMOLED 120Hz, MediaTek Dimensity 1100 5G, rear tri 64MP-8MP ultrawide-2MP macro + front 16MP, 6+128 / 8+128 / 8+256GB, Android 11.0, fingerprint on display, 4500mAh 30W, CNY1,599 (USD246) / CNY1,799 (USD277) / CNY1,999 (USD308). Q3 5G – 6.5” 1080×2400 FHD+ HiD IPS LCD 120Hz, Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 5G, rear tri 48MP-8MP ultrawide-2MP macro + front 16MP, 6+128 / 8+128GB, Android 11.0, side fingerprint, 5000mAh 30W, CNY1,299 (USD200) / CNY1,399 (USD216). Q3i 5G – 6.5” 1080×2400 FHD+ HiD IPS LCD 90Hz, MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G, rear tri 48MP-2MP macro-2MP depth + front 16MP, 4+128 / 6+128GB, Android 11.0, side fingerprint, 5000mAh 18W, CNY999 (USD154) / CNY1,099 (USD169). (My Drivers, CN Beta, GSM Arena, GizChina, realme)

Xiaomi Mi 11X and Mi 11X Pro are announced in India, featuring 6.67” 1080×2400 FHD+ HiD Super AMOLED 120Hz, side fingerprint, 4520mAh 33W: 11X – Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G, rear tri 48MP-8MP ultrawide-5MP macro + front 20MP, 6+128 / 8+128GB, Android 11.0, INR29,999 (USD400) / INR31,999 (USD426). 11X Pro – Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G, rear tri 108MP-8MP ultrawide-5MP macro + front 20MP, 8+128 / 8+256GB, Android 11.0, INR39,990 (USD533) / INR41,999 (USD559).  (GizChina, GSM Arena, CN Beta)

OPPO Enco Buds are announced in Thailand, priced at THB999 (USD32). They feature an 8mm dynamic audio driver inside. The driver intensity is 100.6dB at 1kHz and the earbuds operate at 20Hz-20kHz frequency range. They support both SBC and AAC codecs and have audio transmission via Binaural Bluetooth.  (GizChina, OPPO, Gizmo China)

Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2S are announced, GPS-enabled and feature up to 25 sports tracking modes, advanced sleep tracking, both priced at USD400: Venu 2 – 1.3” 416×416 AMOLED display, last up to 11 days in smartwatch mode. Venu 2S – 1.1” 360×360 AMOLED, display, last up to 10 days in smartwatch mode. (GSM Arena, Garmin, DC Rainmaker, Gizmo China)

Sony has launched a next-generation wearable air conditioner Sony Reon Pocket 2. The company claims that it can offer twice the level of heat absorption, resulting in more powerful cooling. Sony has improved the sweat-proofing in the Reon Pocket 2, making it more suitable for light exercise situations. It is priced at JPY14,850 (USD138). (My Drivers, Gizmo China)

Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson has indicated that the company is getting ready to release the next version of its augmented reality headset through an early adopter program during 4Q21. The device, which will be optimized for the enterprise, is slated to become generally available in 1Q22.  (CN Beta, Protocol)

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has indicated that Apple plans to showcase its augmented / mixed reality (AR / MR) headset in 2022. He believes that Apple has been changing the mix of its suppliers. Price competition has been going on, but “lens prices are expected to stabilize from 2Q21, and supply pressure will improve significantly from 2H21. Largan Optoelectronics and Genius Electronic Optical (GSEO) are currently working with Apple to develop lenses for 2Q22 AR / MR headsets. (CN Beta, MacRumors, TF Securities)

Huawei has officially announced that it will enter the smart classroom industry and will release the Huawei smart classroom solution. The solution, based on HUAWEI IdeaHub Board and the education cloud platform, aims to address the long-term challenges faced by local educational institutions. (My Drivers, Huawei, IT Home, Huawei Update)

Xiaomi has announced its new flagship Mi QLED TV in India, packing 75” 4K panel with a 120Hz refresh rate with MEMC. It supports for HDR codecs including Dolby Vision. For audio lovers, a 30W six-speaker setup also features, but there is also eARC support for sound bar. The TV features a quad-core Arm Cortex-A55 CPU and a Mali G52 MP2 GPU joined by 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. It is priced at INR119,999 (USD1,599). (Android Authority, Gizmo China, GizChina)

Hero MotoCorp and Gogoro have announced a strategic partnership to accelerate the shift to sustainable electric mobility in India. The partnership brings together Hero, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, and Gogoro, the global leader in urban battery-swapping and smart mobility innovation.  (The Verge, TechCrunch, Gogoro, Financial Express, Reuters)

Volvo Cars, a global leader in automotive safety, and DiDi Autonomous Driving, the self-driving technology arm of Didi Chuxing, have signed a strategic collaboration agreement on autonomous vehicles for DiDi’s self-driving test fleet. Volvo Cars will provide DiDi with XC90 cars equipped with necessary backup systems for functions such as steering and braking. (The Verge, TechCrunch, Volvo, Reuters, Sina, Reuters, Sohu)

Dott has raised a new USD85M Series B funding round — this round is a mix of equity and asset-backed debt financing. Belgium-based investment company Sofina is leading the investment. Dott is a micromobility startup that is better known for its colorful electric scooters that you can find across several European cities. (TechCrunch, Business Insider)

Toyota has announced an electric vehicle strategy that will result in 15 new battery-electric vehicles released by 2025. The company has unveiled a new concept EV at the Shanghai Motor show called the BZ4X. The electric SUV concept will serve as a starting point for other models with the BZ (which stands for “Beyond Zero”) branding in the future. In total, Toyota would release 70 new models by 2025, including battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and gas-electric hybrids. (CN Beta, Toyota, The Verge)

According to Strategy Analytics, although 2020 was tough for ride-hailing operators everywhere, with a decline of 18% in worldwide total revenue (gross bookings) across the sector. Strategy Analytics estimates that global active driver counts for ride-hailing services will grow at a CAGR of 9.8% over the next 10 years, with a global market recovery expected toward the end of 2022. (CN Beta, Green Car Congress, Business Wire)

Sony Group and Vodafone Germany have started a 5G environment driving test of the VISION-S prototype at a test field in Yardenhoven, Germany. Sony VISION-S prototype car is equipped with a 5G network connection, which allows a continuous connection between the in-vehicle system and the cloud to synchronize data and control signals, and perform OTA (over-the-air) updates to the system. (CN Beta, Sony, RPRNA)

Honda has revealed that it will stop selling gas-powered vehicles by 2040. The automaker expects 40% of its sales globally to be comprised of battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles by 2030, followed by 80% in 2035, and 100% of sales by 2040. Honda will invest a total of about JPY5T (USD46.3B) in research and development initiatives, including electrification, over the next 6 years. (CN Beta, TechCrunch, NPR, The Verge, Reuters)

Disney’s Imagineering research and development studio has showcased Project Kiwi. It is a free-standing bipedal robotics platform that can move and act on its own and take the form of many different characters. Most Project Kiwi’s components are custom-made. It has a hollow skeleton that allows circulating air to cool its motors and actuators. (Engadget, TechCrunch, The Verge, CN Beta)

Blockchain-based app development platform Digital Asset has announced that it raised USD120M in series D funding led by 7Ridge and Eldridge. The company plans to use the funding to expand its team and product portfolio with a protocol that enables data to interface across blockchains and databases. Its flagship product is a distributed ledger technology for banks and other financial, health care, and insurance institutions. (VentureBeat, Digital Asset)

According to IDC, organizations are forecast to spend nearly USD6.6B on blockchain solutions in 2021, an increase of more than 50% compared to 2020. Blockchain spending will continue to see strong growth throughout the 2020-2024 forecast period with a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48.0%. In 2024, global spending on blockchain solutions forecast to nearly USD19B in 2024. (Laoyaoba, IDC, The Block)

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