5-7 #HomeLife : U.S. law firm Hagens Berman filed a consumer class-action lawsuit against Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron; Offline retailers in India have said they are staring at about 50,000 job losses due to Covid-19; etc.

Apps processors developed by MediaTek were used in nearly 50% of the 151M smart speakers and smart displays to be sold worldwide in 2020 according to Strategy Analytics. Synaptics was the second largest player in 2020 followed by Allwinner and Amlogic. Synaptics has become a major player in the smart speaker business following its acquisition of Marvell’s Multimedia Solutions unit in 2017. The top 5 apps processor vendors supplied the processor chipsets for 87% of all smart speakers sold in 2020. (Strategy Analytics, Laoyaoba)

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has announced worldwide sales of semiconductors totaled USD123.1B during 1Q21, an increase of 3.6% over the previous quarter and 17.8% more than 1Q20. Global sales for the month of Mar 2021 were USD41.0B, an increase of 3.7% compared to the previous month. SIA represents 98% of the U.S. semiconductor industry by revenue and nearly two-thirds of non-U.S. chip firms. (SIA, Laoyaoba, RPRNA)

A vulnerability discovered by security firm Check Point Research could allow a malicious app to skip the usual security features giving it access to call and text history. It also gives an attacker the ability to record conversations. The Qualcomm Modem Interface (QMI) software is normally impossible for third-party apps to access, but if key aspects of Android are hacked, the QMI vulnerability can be used to listen in and record an active phone call, steal call and SMS records. QMI is used on as much as 40% of Android handsets. Qualcomm says that it has made fixes available to “many” Android phone vendors. (Phone Arena, Check Point, Android Police)

Major foreign carmakers here have been struggling recently, concurrently hit by poor sales, chip shortages and union management conflicts, leading to speculation that Renault Samsung and GM Korea, and the owners of SsangYong Motors, are contemplating abandoning the Korean arms of their businesses if the situation gets worse. (Laoyaoba, Business Korea, Korea Times)

Worldwide semiconductor revenue grew to USD464B in 2020, an increase of 10.8% compared to 2019, according to IDC. IDC forecasts the semiconductor market will reach USD522B in 2021, a 12.5% YoY growth rate. IDC anticipates continued robust growth in consumer, computing, 5G, and automotive semiconductors. Supply constraints will continue through 2021. While shortages initially occurred in automotive semiconductors, the impact is being felt across the board in semiconductors manufactured at older technology nodes. (Digitimes, IDC)

OPPO’s patent application has revealed that the company is working on a clamshell foldable smartphone with a rotating hinge. The size of the hinge was found to be wider than that of the phone, which suggested that it would allow the phone to rotate at different angles ranging 30º-190º. (CN Beta, 91Mobiles, Gizmo China, LetsGoDigital)

According to Omdia, in 2020, the total demand for display driver chips shows double-digit year-on-year growth, reaching 8.07B units. Large-sized display driver chips account for 70% of the total needs, of which driver chips used by LCD TV panels take up more than 40% of the total requirements for large sizes. Omdia predicts that by 2021, the growth of IT applications will remain strong. At the same time, due to the increase in the penetration rate of higher resolution in TV panels, the total demand for display driver chips is expected to grow to 8.4B in 2021. (Laoyaoba, Asian Tech Press, Sohu)

The Management Committee of Hefei High-tech Zone and Lianchuang Electronics have signed agreement on the smart driving vehicle imaging module R&D and manufacturing center project. Founded in 2006, Lianchuang Electronics focuses on the development of new optical and optoelectronic industries such as optical lenses, image modules, and touch display devices. The company has customers such as Tesla, Samsung, BOE, Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE, DJI, etc. (Laoyaoba, NBD, CSIA)

Samsung has announced the immediate availability of its next-generation 2.5D packaging technology Interposer-Cube4 (I-Cube4). Samsung’s I-Cube is a heterogeneous integration technology that horizontally places one or more logic dies (CPU, GPU, etc.) and several High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) dies on top of a silicon interposer, making multiple dies operate as a single chip in one package. (My Drivers, Samsung, HPC Wire, Sam Mobile)

U.S. law firm Hagens Berman filed a consumer class-action lawsuit with the California Northern Federal District Court on 3 May 2021. The defendants included Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and Micron Technology. The law firm has asserted in the petition that Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron, which have an almost 100% control of the global DRAM market, have more than doubled DRAM prices to make huge profits. (CN Beta, My Drivers, Law Street Media, Business Korea)

General Motors (GM) has issued a recall last fall for its 2017-2019 Chevy Bolt EVs over concerns about a risk of them bursting into flames if fully charged. GM says Bolt owners will need to take their car to their local GM dealership for service, where a mechanic will perform an assessment of the battery and replace it if they find any “anomalies”. They will also install new diagnostic software GM says can detect potential issues before they become serious. (The Verge, Chevrolet, Engadget, CNET, Sina)

Nokia has launched Nokia Smart Node, a unique indoor mobile module solution delivering high-quality 4G and 5G indoor mobile coverage for residential and small-medium enterprise use. The compact, ‘plug and play’ modular design can be deployed readily in any environment. (Neowin, Nokia)

Newzoo forecasts that 2021’s global games market will generate revenues of USD175.8B, a slight YoY decline of -1.1%. By the end of the year, there will be 2.9B players worldwide. Newzoo  forecast the PC games market to decline -2.8% YoY to USD35.9B in 2021. Of that, USD33.3B will be spent on downloaded / boxed games, and USD2.6B will be spent on browser games. Newzoo forecast mobile gaming to generate USD90.7B in 2021, growing +4.4% YoY. (VentureBeat, Newzoo)

TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide for Apr 2021 with more than 59M installs. The countries with the largest number of TikTok installs were from Brazil at 13%, followed by Douyin in China at 12%. Facebook was the second most installed non-gaming app worldwide in Apr 2021 with more than 53M installs. (Android Central, Sensor Tower)

China Mobile Labs’ “The second phase of 5G terminal consumption trend report in 2020” shows that the replacement cycle of China mobile phone users has been further lengthened, reaching an average of 25.3 months, which is 0.7 longer than the previous report in Oct 2020 and  a full month longer than the first report in 2019. In terms of branding, Apple iPhone users are the most stable, with an average of 27.1 months for replacement, while Xiaomi users change the most frequently, with an average of only 22.8 months. In addition, Honor is 26.4 months, OPPO 26.3 months, and Huawei 25.6 months. , Vivo 25.5 months, Samsung 24.5 months. (CN Beta, Hexun, Zhihu, China Mobile Labs)

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, offline retailers in India have said they are staring at about 50,000 job losses as a result. Counterpoint Research has indicated that offline retail in India, which saw stellar growth in the past couple of quarters, will account for 55% of the smartphone market in 2021, compared with the initial estimate of 60%, and has warned that it could fall even lower, depending on the duration of the second wave of Covid-19. Strategy Analytics has said offline sales could drop below 50% in upcoming quarters, pegging the full-year offline sales at 52% of the total volume. (Gizmo China, India Times)

Google is announcing the launch of a new series of docks as part of the “Works With Chromebook” certification program it launched in 2020. Launch partners including Targus, Belkin, Acer and Hyper. There are 2 different types of docks — one designed for remote working and the other for office / enterprise. (CN Beta, Google, ZDNet, TechCrunch)

OPPO Band Vitality Edition is launched in China. It features 1.1” AMOLED display, supports continuous blood oxygen detection, sleep monitoring, 24-hour heart rate detection and up to 12 daily exercise modes. It is priced at CNY149 (USD23). (Sina, IT Home, GizChina, GSM Arena)

According to Digitimes Research, the global True Wireless Stereo (TWS) market will continue to grow at a high level in 2021, with an estimated shipment of 259M units, a growth of 40.5%. Among them, Apple AirPods series will remain high, accounting for 40% market share. However, as competitors launch products with similar software and hardware functions and user experience, and more cost-effective, it is expected that Apple’s share of the TWS market share is being challenged. (Digitimes)

Samsung has filed a trademark application of “Dreamground” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The trademark may tie in to Samsung’s existing AR service, AR Zone, which is a collection of Samsung’s AR games and apps. (CN Beta, MS Poweruser, LetsGoDigital)

OPPO Smart TV K9 series is announced in China with 43”, 55” and 65”. They are powered by MediaTek MT9652. It supports HDR 10+, has 1.07B colors, 93% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, ΔE<2, Dolby sound 30W speakers, and supports low blue light eye protection mode. The 43” is CNY1,799 (USD279), 55” is CNY1,999 (USD309) and 65” is CNY3,299 (USD510). (GSM Arena, GizChina, Laoyaoba)

SoftBank has picked its bet in China’s flourishing industrial robotics space. Youibot, a 4-year-old startup that makes autonomous mobile robots for a range of scenarios, said it has notched close to CNY100M (USD15.47M) in its latest funding round led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, the Seoul-based early-stage arm of the global investment behemoth. (TechCrunch, Yahoo, Sina, 36Kr)

Google has revealed Broadcast is expanding to users in a newly created “Google Family Group”, including their smartphones, and Family Bell is getting more languages. Other new features include more stories, games, and some easter eggs. (GSM Arena, Google, Sina)

Google introduces Woolaroo AI translation app to preserve endangered languages. Queensland-based Yugambeh Museum has worked with Google Arts and Culture to develop an open-source, artificial intelligence-based digital language tool called Woolaroo aimed to teach and preserve endangered languages. (CN Beta, Woolaroo, Google, TechXplore, ZDNet)

DeepMind, the London-based artificial intelligence (AI) lab acquired by Google in 2014, has extended its hunt for the world’s best AI researchers to Toronto, Canada. DeepMind, which also has offices in Montreal and Edmonton, employs 51 people across the country. (CN Beta, CNBC)

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