5-23 #Reality : Huawei is reportedly expanding its smart car partnership with Chongqing Changan Automobile; STMicroelectronics is considering an offer for Nordic Semiconductor; Ford has announced that it will form a joint venture with SK Innovation; etc.

Ampere CEO Renee James has indicated that the company plans to race ahead with even more powerful chips in the next couple of years. Ampere’s Altra processor shipping now has 80 cores and operates on much less power per core than rival Intel and AMD chips. The Altra Max processor has 128 cores and is going to ship later 2021. Ampere’s next-generation processor will be sampling on a 5nm manufacturing process (where the width between circuits is 5 billionths of a meter) in 1H22. (VentureBeat)

Huawei Technologies has filed an application for registration of the Kirin Processor trademark. Huawei is allegedly developing the next-generation Kirin 9010 mobile chipset; which is expected to be manufactured in accordance with the 3nm manufacturing process. (GizChina, Huawei Central, 163)

Huawei Technologies is reportedly expanding its smart car partnership with state-owned Chongqing Changan Automobile to include the design and development of auto-use semiconductors. The two companies, which unveiled their smart car tie-up in Nov 2020, have been working together informally on chips for the last few months. They might soon form a joint venture for chip development. (CN Beta, Reuters, Auto News)

Qualcomm has announced the 315 5G IoT Modem-RF System, the company’s first Internet of Things (IoT) modem solution equipped with 5G connectivity and optimized for Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem complements the company’s existing portfolio of LTE IoT modems, making it easier for customers to upgrade from legacy products without changes to existing hardware. The modem also supports global 5G NR sub-6 GHz bands, operates in 5G Standalone (SA) only mode. (CN Beta, Qualcomm, QualcommEET-China, Sina)

Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics is considering an offer for Nordic Semiconductor after preliminary talks with its Oslo-listed rival. Nordic Semiconductor sells wireless chips and devices designed for ultra-low power consumption. (Laoyaoba, Reuters, NASDAQ, EE Focus)

Revenues of the top 10 largest packaging / testing (OSAT, outsourced semiconductor assembly and test) companies reached USD7.17B in 1Q21, a 21.5% increase YoY, with most of these companies recording double-digit growths, according to TrendForce. This bullish performance is primarily attributed to the fact that the post-pandemic new normal, which entails such activities as WFH and distance education, adopted by the general public had become commonplace, as well as the fact that vaccinations in Europe and North America began to somewhat abate the intensity of the pandemic in those areas, with cities successively terminating lockdown measures. (Laoyaoba, TrendForce, TrendForce)

QuTech in the Netherlands has established the first multi-node quantum network, by connecting three quantum processors through the mysterious process of entanglement. Before now, connecting multiple processors using entanglement was more a theory than a reality; previously, only 2 quantum devices have shared a direct physical link. But this new, rudimentary example of a multi-node quantum network is the first workable version. (CN Beta, Latest Broadcasting, Cosmos, Science)

Samsung is planning on the Galaxy Z Flip 3 being the main seller for 2H21. Samsung reportedly plans on selling 3M units of just that phone. This makes up almost half of its 7M unit goal for the year 2021. (Android Headlines, The Elec)

Snap has allegedly acquired WaveOptics, the supplier of the augmented reality (AR) displays that power its new Spectacles glasses, for more than USD500M. WaveOptics primarily makes waveguides, a display technology that allows for the overlaying of virtual objects onto the real world through a transparent surface like glass, and accompanying light projectors. (TechCrunch, The Verge)

Samsung has recently trademarked the name “Z Slide” with the European Intellectual Property Office. The trademark is listed under Class 9, indicating a smartphone, mobile, telecommunication apparatus, or tablet computer. (GSM Arena, LetsGoDigital)

For the past 2 years, brands such as Samsung, LG, TCL, and Xiaomi have successively released their own Mini LED backlight TVs, which are expected to reach a yearly shipment of about 2.6-3M units in 2021 because Korean brands have successfully trailblazed the high-end market, and because Chinese brands have also been ramping up shipment via highly cost-effective models, according to TrendForce. (Laoyaoba, TrendForce, TrendForce)

TCL Technology has announced that it intends to increase the capital of its subsidiary TCL China Star Optoelectronics (CSOT). TCL Technology has increased its capital to TCL CSOT by CNY5B with its own funds. As of 31 Dec 2020, TCL CSOT’s total assets are CNY175.174B and net assets are CNY64.84B; in 2020, TCL CSOT will achieve operating income of CNY46.77B and net profit of CNY2.41B. (Laoyaoba, CE, Sohu)

Redmi is working on launching another Redmi smartphone with a 50MP camera with Samsung’s 1/1.12” GN2 sensor. Xiaomi has recently launched the Mi 11 Ultra in China with a 1/1.12” sensor. It will also support Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). (GizChina, MySmartPrice, Twitter, Weibo)

Shanghai-based OPNOUS has announced the completion of a Series B financing of over CNY100M. OPNOUS claims that the company is currently the only chip company in China that has achieved mass production of ToF Sensor. It is expected to launch a ToF sensor with the smallest pixel size (diamond pixel) in the industry with a resolution of up to 1MP in 2021. (EET China, Laoyaoba)

SK hynix has revealed that it has earned approval from Europe’s antitrust watchdog for its acquisition of Intel’s NAND business. In Oct 2020, SK hynix signed a deal to buy Intel’s NAND business for USD9B, which includes the US firm’s solid state drive business and a NAND flash chip plant in Dalian, China. Following the deal, the company has to obtain approval from antitrust regulators in major countries. (CN Beta, Bloomberg, Korea Herald, Kit Guru)

Ford has announced that it will form a joint venture with SK Innovation to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles at scale. The joint venture called BlueOvalSK that would produce approximately 60GWh annually in traction battery cells and array modules, starting 2025, with potential to expand. (The Verge, Ford, Xcar)

University of Marburg, Germany and Aalto University, Finland have tapped carbon atoms but coaxing them into new orientations. Biphenylene network is the result is made up of hexagons, squares, and octagons, a more complex mesh than graphene forms. It has distinctly different electronic properties that could unlock breakthrough batteries. (CN Beta, SlashGear, Phys)

Maxeon Solar Technologies, a global leader in solar innovation and channels, has announced the commercialization of its new Maxeon Air technology platform. The result of five years of research, development and testing, this new technology platform enables the production of frameless, thin, lightweight and conformable solar panels with efficiency and performance equivalent to standard solar panels. (CN Beta, PV Magazine, PR Newswire)

Commercial vehicle manufacturer Daimler Truck AG and lithium-ion battery manufacturer and developer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co have announced the intensification of their existing partnership based on their shared vision of CO2-neutral electrified trucking. CATL will be the supplier of lithium-ion battery packs for the Mercedes-Benz eActros LongHaul battery-electric truck, which is planned to be ready for series production in 2024. The supply will go beyond 2030. (Laoyaoba, My Drivers, Auto News, Channel News Asia, PR Newswire)

Firefly Aerospace, a leading provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, has announced that it has awarded a contract to SpaceX to launch its Blue Ghost lunar lander in 2023. The first lander launching under CLPS is scheduled to fly sometime in 4Q21, and a total of 6 are currently awarded and planned for tentative launches through 2023. (CN Beta, Business Wire, Firefly, TechCrunch)

Apple’s iPhones dominated the best-selling models’ list for 1Q21 both in terms of volume as well as value, according Counterpoint Research. The global smartphone revenues crossed the USD100B mark in 1Q21, setting a first-quarter record driven by the flagships, which grabbed most of the earnings. (Counterpoint Research, GSM Arena)

ZTE nubia Z30 Pro is announced in China – 6.67” 1080×2400 FHD+ HiD AMOLED 144Hz, Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, rear quad 64MP OIS-64MP-8MPperiscope telephoto 5x optical zoom OIS-64MP ultrawide + front 16MP, 8+256 / 12+256 / 16+512GB, Android 11.0, fingerprint on display, 4200mAh 120W, CNY4,999 (USD776) / CNY5,399 (USD838) / CNY5,999 (USD931). (Laoyaoba, GizChina, GSM Arena, Weibo)

Infinix Hot 10s launched in India – 6.82” 720×1640 HD+ v-notch IPS LCD 90Hz, MediaTek Helio G85, rear tri 48MP-2MP depth-AI lens + front 8MP, 4+64 / 6+64GB, Android 11.0, rear fingerprint, 6000mAh, INR9,999 (USD137) / INR10,999 (USD151). (Gizmo China, NDTV)

Spotify announces offline music, playlist and podcast downloads on Apple Watch. Spotify says the feature has been “highly requested” and the equivalent provision was also announced for Wear OS earlier. (Pocket-Lint, Spotify, The Verge)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 reportedly would run the new Wear OS, feature 2D glass, a narrower bezel and 5nm processor. That means it will sport more transistors than Samsung’s current watches that use 10nm Exynos chips. (Pocket-Lint)

Samsung has indicated that Tizen still is the default platform for their smart TVs going forward, after Google has announced that the company is working with Samsung for unified Wear OS and Tizen platform. (Pocket-Lint, Engadget, Protocol)

Apple now says that both the HomePod and HomePod Mini will support lossless audio after a future software update. When Apple Music has announced the release of lossless music, Apple has stated that HomePod and HomePod Mini do not support lossless music, but support Dolby Atmos. (CN Beta, The Verge, Apple)

realme’s TechLife division which focuses on AIoT devices has announced its own sub-brand called “D”. The newly announced brand will focus on a broad range of smart home devices. (GSM Arena, Business Standard, Phandroid)

Chinese robotaxi startup Pony.ai has been given permission by California regulators to pilot its autonomous vehicles without a human safety driver behind the wheel in 3 cities. (TechCrunch, 163)

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