1-25 #Read : Nvidia is rumored quietly preparing to abandon its purchase of Arm; Sony plans to use the 40nm process of TSMC’s Nanke Fab 14B plant for its 48MP CIS; Micron is allegedly disbanding its Shanghai R&D center; etc.

Worldwide semiconductor revenue increased 25.1% in 2021 to total USD583.5B, crossing the USD500B threshold for the first time, according to Gartner. Samsung Electronics has regained the top spot from Intel for the first time since 2018, with revenue increasing 31.6% in 2021. Its memory revenue grew 34.2% in 2021, in line with the growth rate of the overall memory market. Intel has dropped to the No. 2 position with 0.5% growth in 2021, delivering the lowest growth rate among the top 25 vendors.  (Gartner, CN Beta)

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) have developed a new programming language for quantum computing, “Twist”. The language is specifically aimed at addressing data entanglement issues. If adopted by the developer community, Twist could help reduce bugs, errors, and improve the quality of data. MIT claims that the Twist language can describe and verify which pieces of data are entangled in a quantum program. (Neowin, POPL2022, Financial Review, MIT News)

Nvidia is rumored quietly preparing to abandon its purchase of Arm from SoftBank after making little to no progress in winning approval for the USD40B chip deal. Nvidia has told partners that it does not expect the transaction to close. SoftBank, meanwhile, is stepping up preparations for an Arm initial public offering (IPO) as an alternative to the Nvidia takeover.  (TechCrunch, Bloomberg, Neowin, The Verge)

BOE has set a target to manufacture OLED panels for Apple iPhone 15 Pro series in 2023. It is hoping to achieve this by successfully applying low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) technology on the OLED panels it will manufacture at its latest factory B12 at Chongqing, China. So far, BOE has only supplied 6.06” OLED panels for lower-tier iPhones. It will be supplying the same panel for the standard model in the iPhone 14 series launching in the fall 2022. In 2021, BOE supplied 15M-16M units of OLED panels for iPhones, much higher than anticipated. It manufactured OLED panels for iPhones mostly from its B7 and B11 lines at Sichuan Province so far. The OLED panels for iPhone 14 series will also be manufactured at B11 in 2022. B12 is BOE’s third Gen 6 (1500×1850mm) flexible OLED panel factory. Like B7 and B11, B12 will have a capacity of 48,000 substrates per month once it is completed.(CN Beta, The Elec)

Sony plans to use the 40nm process of TSMC’s Nanke Fab 14B plant for its 48MP layer chip. It will also upgrade and expand the use of the 28nm mature special process in the future. However, Sony will not abandon the joint venture fab JASM in Kumamoto, Japan. In addition, the logic layer chip at the core of Sony’s ISP will also be handed over to TSMC for mass production using the 22nm process of Zhongke’s Fab 15A. However, the color filter film and microlens process in the latter stage will still be shipped to Sony’s own factory in Japan. Regarding Sony’s decision, the industry believes that this is mainly to meet the demand for Apple iPhone 14.(GizChina, My Drivers, CTEE, CNYES)

Micron Technology is allegedly disbanding its Shanghai R&D center with about 150 employees, and has selected more than 40 core R&D personnel to provide qualifications for immigrating to the United States. The company allegedly would disband the DRAM design department, which had more than 100 people in total. (IT Home, My Drivers, UDN)

Apple is rumored to not introduce in-display Touch ID on the iPhone 14, only the “Pro” models will feature a 120Hz ProMotion display, similar to how Apple has implemented it on current flagship models. (CN Beta, Trusted Reviews, Twitter)

Samsung Electronics has introduced its new fingerprint security IC (integrated circuit) ─ S3B512C ─ with enhanced security features. The new solution is EMVCo and Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level (CC EAL) 6+ certified and performs in line with Mastercard’s latest Biometric Evaluation Plan Summary (BEPS) specifications for biometric payment cards. S3B512C combines a fingerprint sensor, Secure Element (SE) and Secure Processor, adding an extra layer of authentication and security in payment cards. (Gizmo China, Samsung, Engadget, CN Beta)

Panasonic will start mass production of new lithium-ion batteries that increase the range of electric vehicles over 15% as early as 2023, with the first deliveries heading for Tesla. The new batteries promise to boost the range of electric cars, and make them more affordable to produce and sell.(The Verge, Asia Nikkei)

Addionics, a chemistry-agnostic battery technology company, has announced it has raised USD27M in a Series A funding round to scale up its efforts to redesign battery architecture with the company’s Smart 3D Electrodes, which improves the cost and performance of batteries with any chemistry – existing or emerging.(VentureBeat, Globes, Reuters, Business Wire)

According to SellCell, Apple’s iPhones took 9 places in the top 10 most traded-in handsets of 2021, with the iPhone 11 topping the table. The iPhone XR took second place, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max taking third spot. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, along with being the third most traded-in smartphone, held its value best in 2021, losing only 31.7% of its value since launch. Good news for anyone who traded in their 12 Pro Max in 2021. Motorola fared poorly in 2021; 3 of its handsets appeared in the top 5 smartphones with the highest depreciation, losing a whopping 85.7% of its value. The Motorola Razr did not perform much better, losing 85.3% of its value. (Android Headlines, SellCell)

Apple has failed to satisfy the requirements set by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) regarding payment systems for dating-app providers. ACM has come to this conclusion following an investigation into Apple’s statements of 15 Jan 2022. This means that Apple now has to pay ACM the first penalty payment of EUR5M. Apple must adjust its conditions for access to the Dutch App Store for dating-app providers. In the App Store, dating-app providers must also be able to use payment systems other than Apple’s payment system. In addition, dating-app providers must have the ability to refer to payment systems outside of the app. (CN Beta, TechCrunch, ACM, GSM Arena)

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a way to analyze data from wearable technology such as Fitbit and other smartwatches, to help detect people who have an increased risk of depression. Using indicators such as heart rate and sleeping patterns, the system has proven to have 80% accuracy rate of detecting individuals with a high risk of depression. It was observed that the at-risk individuals had more varied heart rates between 2 am and 4 am, and then again between 4 am and 6 am (as measured by the Fitbits). This falls in line with findings from earlier studies, which suggest that variations in heart rate while sleeping could be a valid physiological indicator of depression. (CN Beta, NCBI, New Atlas, Today Online)

Facebook’s Meta Platforms is introducing the AI Research SuperCluster (RSC), which they believe is among the fastest AI supercomputers running today and will be the fastest in the world once fully built out in mid-2022. RSC will help Meta’s AI researchers build better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples; work across hundreds of different languages; seamlessly analyze text, images and video together; develop new augmented reality tools and more.(CN Beta, TechCrunch, WSJ, Facebook)

Nreal, the company behind the Light AR Glasses, and Cinedigm have announced a partnership that will see Cinedigm bring three of its most popular streaming TV channels to the Nreal Light. The deal will allow fans of streaming services Bloody Disgusting TV, Realmadrid TV and CONtv to enjoy an immersive viewing experience, bringing them closer to their favorite content, via a virtual HD screen of up to 220” provided by the Nreal Light AR glasses.(Android Headlines, Yahoo, Cinedigm)

IPRdaily, a comprehensive intellectual property information service provider, released the TOP100 VR/AR global invention patent rankings since 2020. The data is intercepted from VR/AR-related invention patent applications published from Jan 2020 to Dec 2021. The list shows that the top ten are Samsung, Tencent, Baidu, Sony, OPPO, Ping An Group, SenseTime, Canon, Huawei, and Microsoft. Among them, the top 3 patents of Samsung, Tencent and Baidu are 4094, 4085 and 3094 respectively. (CN Beta, 199IT, IPDaily)

According to Crunchbase, 4Q21 was unlike any other as far as venture interest in the VR/AR space. Nearly USD1.9B of venture capital rolled into startups in the virtual and augmented reality software and hardware space—more than any quarter ever, according to Crunchbase data. That year-end bump helped make 2021 the second-best year ever for VR/AR investment with nearly USD3.9B of venture coming to startups—trailing only 2018 which saw nearly USD4.4B thanks to some large rounds by companies like Magic Leap and SenseTime. While it is easy and convenient to pin the venture funding increase in VR to a catchy term, renewed interest in the space stems from something deeper. Joel-Oskar Raisanen, investor at GP Bullhound’s venture capital funds, said the basic concept of the metaverse is the amalgamation of one’s digital identity and their more physical place in the world. (CN Beta, Crunchbase, 199IT)

Starship Technologies, the world’s leading provider of autonomous delivery services, has today announced that the company agreed on a EUR50M quasi-equity facility agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB). The money will be used by the US and Estonia-based startup to strengthen its research and development capabilities and to build “thousands more robots” at its Tallinn facility. Starship Technologies claims to have completed over 2.5M deliveries in the EU, UK and the US in cities, university campuses and industrial campuses. (TechCrunch, CN Beta, Verdict, European Commission)

Coinbase, one of the largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, is adding a new tax center to its app and website to help US customers work out how much they might owe to the IRS as a result of their crypto transactions. The section is designed to gather every taxable transaction into one place to simplify matters come tax day. According to Coinbase, its new section will show “a personalized summary of taxable activity on Coinbase, broken out over time by realized gains/losses and miscellaneous income”. This information can then be taken to an accountant or used with tax software like TurboTax. (CN Beta, IRS, CNET, The Verge)

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