5-14 #PerfectFriday : Samsung Electronics is reportedly talking with foundry clients about charging as much as 20% more; Samsung Display has demonstrated a wide range of new innovative display; Xiaomi’s Surge C2 ISP has allegedly appeared in the code related to the Xiaomi Mi 12 Ultra; etc.

According to TrendForce, global smartphone production volume in 1Q22 was 310M units, a QoQ decrease of 12.8%, primarily attributed to ongoing inventory adjustments in various distribution channels performed by a number of brands and the cyclical off-season, which led to relatively weak production performance in 1Q22. In 2Q22, a resurgence of the pandemic in the world’s largest consumer market, China, exacerbated the drop in global 2Q22 mobile phone production to 309M units. However, compared to the same period in 2021, when a resurgent pandemic in India and Southeast Asia caused a sharp drop in total production, mobile phone production grew slightly by 0.7%. TrendForce further indicates that the war between Russia and Ukraine continues to exacerbate the rising global inflation issue. High inflation means that personal disposable income will shrink and will inevitably lead to prolonged replacement cycles and reduced purchasing budgets for individual devices. Summarizing 2022, corrections in 1H22 were primarily due to the impact of China’s lockdowns on the economy while corrections in 2H22 highlight the inflation crisis. The total production forecast for the entire year will be revised down to 1.333B units and there is still room for downward revisions in the future. (Android Headlines, TrendForce, TrendForce)

Google has announced Android 13. The first developer preview for Android 13 arrived in early Feb 2022, granting us an early look at Google’s next major release. A month later, as expected, Google dropped Android 13 DP2, which laid the groundwork for the first Beta release that hit phones on 26 Apr 2022. The next beta release, coming in Jun 2022, will reach what Google calls Platform Stability, which means it will have the final Android 13 SDK and NDK APIs as well as final app-facing system behaviors.(Android Headlines, GSM Arena, Android, Android Police)

Pixelate claims that that 650,000 Apple App Store apps have not been updated in over 2 years, while the Google Play Store features 869,000 such “abandoned” titles. The Pixelate research company describes an app as abandoned if it has not been updated in over two years. It calls apps “super-abandoned”, if they have not been updated in 5 or more years. Its figures claim that 33% of all apps have not been updated in 2 or more years. And 11%, or over 500,000, have not been updated in over 4 years. (CN Beta, Apple Insider, Pixalate, report)

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter is “temporarily on hold” pending confirmation that spam and fake accounts do represent less than 5% of users. Twitter has estimated in a regulatory filing that those types of accounts represented 5% of its monetizable daily active users during 1Q22. Elon Musk has confirmed he is still “committed to the acquisition”.(Engadget, Reuters, Twitter, Twitter)

Google Pixel 6a is unveiled – 6.1” 1080×2400 FHD+ HiD OLED, Google Tensor, rear dual 12.2MP 1.4µm OIS-12MP 1.25µm ultrawide + front 8MP, 6+128GB, Android 12.0, fingerprint on display, IP67 rated, stereo speakers, 4410mAh 18W, USD449.  (GSM Arena, Google)

Google has teased Pixel Tablet, which is planned to be launched in 2023. Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services and head of the Pixel program, has confirmed that the tablet is coming to fill out the range of Pixel devices and provide a complete ecosystem in Google’s lineup.(CN Beta, The Verge, CNET, TechCrunch)

Google and Samsung have announced Health Connect, a new initiative that will simplify the connectivity between health and fitness apps to allow users to share their data across apps. Currently, accessing and syncing this data this relatively difficult for developers, so Health Connect will give them a series of services and APIs to make this easier. Essentially, Health Connect will function as the on-device clearinghouse for health and fitness data. All of the data is on the device and encrypted to ensure privacy.(Android Headlines, Android Developers, TechCrunch)

Google has announced Emergency SOS is coming to Wear OS. This is a feature that is already available on smartphones, but is coming to smartwatches. Google has also announced an improved Earthquake Alert system will soon arrive on smartphones. Once available, Emergency SOS can easily be activated, with a prompt appearing to select emergency services or user’s trusted contacts.(Android Central, Phone Arena, Android Headlines, Engadget)

Google has announced Pixel Buds Pro, priced at USD199. The Pixel Buds Pro offer active noise cancellation, a transparency mode, multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, and an IPX4 water resistance rating, among other features.Google says that the hardware inside the Pixel Buds Pro is all custom, from the six-core processor and the drivers to the aforementioned algorithms that run on the earbuds. (Android Central, Google, The Verge, CNET)

Google has announced Pixel Watch, which has a circular, domed design and features a “tactile” crown and side button. It is made of recycled stainless steel and has swappable proprietary bands. It will also run on an “improved” Wear OS 3 that features a “refreshed UI” with better navigation and smart notifications.(CN Beta, The Verge, CNBC, Android Police)

Google has teased a new pair of smart glasses that will be able to live translate languages on the fly. Google’s focus with these glasses appears to be helpful features such as language translation. Google acquired smart glasses maker North in 2020, and its work with Google Glass pioneered smart eyewear nearly a decade ago.(Android Central, CNBC, CNET)

LiteWave is a laptop-sized HUD developed by BAE Systems, which is designed to be mounted above a pilot’s head to present critical information, such as direction, altitude and speed, directly in their line of sight.LiteWave is a 15-lb (6.8kg) laptop-sized electronics package that can be installed in under 20 hours even in cockpits with very limited space and is 70% smaller in both size and weight than comparable devices. From this package extends a 1365 x 1024-pixel transparent display unit that provides a 30° x 20° field of view while providing the pilot with critical information, including bearing, altitude, and speed.(CN Beta, BAE, Optics.org, The Engineering, New Atlas)

Google has revealed that Android TV now has over 10,000 apps. Up from 7,000 in 2020, the Android TV OS platform, which encompasses Google TV, Android TV, and Pay TV experiences from select companies, now has 10,000 apps designed for the big screen in the Play Store. Google has also reiterated its figure from earlier 2022 that Android TV OS has over 110M monthly active devices, and that Android TV OS is in use by 7 of the top 10 largest smart TV OEMs including TCL and Hisense.(CN Beta, 9to5Google, TechCrunch)

Apple plans to launch a new version of the Apple TV in 2H22, according to TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The new Apple TV will have an improved cost structure, suggesting that the device could have a lower price. (MacRumors, Twitter, CN Beta)

Google has announced that its Workspace team has been working on a couple of AI-powered ways to improve virtual meetings. Portrait Restore can automatically improve and sharpen image even over a bad connection or through a bad camera. Portrait Lighting can provide a set of AI-based controls over how the user is lit. Google is planning to roll out a new tool that generates automatic summaries of Spaces activity, so users can log on in the morning and catch up without having to read hundreds of messages. It is also launching an automated transcription service for Meet meetings, with plans eventually to also summarize those.(The Verge, CN Beta, Google)

Google has announced several AI-powered features to Voice, Lens, Assistant, Maps and Translate:

  • Google Voice: “search within a scene,” which expands on Google Voice search and Google Lens, and enables users to point at an object or use live images coupled with text to define search capabilities.
  • Google Lens: Google is similarly building out the capability for users to multi-search to instantly glean insights about multiple objects in a scene.
  • Google Assistant: With a “look and talk” feature, users no longer have to say “Hey Google” every time for the system to recognize that they are talking to it. Another feature announced regards quick phrases, or very popular phrases – such as “turn it up,” “answer a phone call,” or stop or snooze a timer.
  • Google Maps: Leveraging advances in AI and computer vision are fusing billions of images from Street View with aerial photos to provide immersive views in Google Maps. Google Maps also recently launched the capability to identify eco-friendly and fuel-efficient routes.
  • Google Translate: It has been updated to include 24 new languages, bringing its total supported languages to 133.

(VentureBeat, Indian Express, Google, BBC, Popular Science)

Facebook Pay will soon be renamed Meta Pay, according to Meta’s head of fintech, Stephane Kasriel. With the rebrand, the company is focusing on enhancing the payments experiences it already provides with Facebook Pay in regions where it’s seeing good adoption, as opposed to focusing on expanding to new countries. (CN Beta, Medium, The Verge, TechCrunch)

Google has announced that Google Wallet is coming back as a standalone feature. This will be available for Android and Wear OS devices in the coming weeks in “over 40 countries”. Wallet will be the place to store digital versions of cards and other personal documents, while Google Pay will remain the place for contactless payments. Wallet will store payment cards, transit passes, memberships, tickets, airline travel information and vaccine passports, among other documents.(Engadget, CN Beta, GSM Arena, Google)

In Feb 2022, Qualcomm announced its fifth-generation 5G modem design: the Snapdragon X70. Qualcomm has announced new features and milestones for the Snapdragon X70 5G modem ahead of its commercial availability. Qualcomm has now introduced Smart Transmit 3.0, which extends these optimizations and enhancements to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. The newer version enables real-time averaging of transmit power across 2G-5G, mmWave, Wi-Fi (2.4GHz, Wi-Fi 6/6E/7), and Bluetooth (2.4GHz) radios for extended coverage, improved uplink speeds, and more reliable connectivity. The Snapdragon X70 is the first 5G modem to support standalone mmWave connection, enabling carriers to deploy services using mmWave exclusively. (Android Headlines, XDA-Developers, Qualcomm)

MediaTek has unveiled its new Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) Genio platform and the first chip in this lineup, the Genio 1200. The Genio 1200 is equipped with an octa-core CPU, five-core graphics, a dual-core AI processor, and advanced multimedia engine. It is designed for smart home appliances, industrial IoT applications, and other AI-embedded devices. The Genio 1200 supports high-speed interfaces, including PCI-Express, USB 3.1, and GbE MAC, and also supports MediaTek Wi-Fi 6E and sub-6 5G modules.(CN Beta, MediaTek, Taiwan News, TechRadar)

Intel has announced 7 new mobile processors for the 12th Gen Intel Core mobile family. The 12th Gen Intel Core HX processors use desktop-caliber silicon in a mobile package to deliver high levels of performance for professional workflows like CAD, animation and visual effects. The HX processors are unlocked out of the box and available in Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9 models. The 12th Gen Intel Core HX processors enable mobile workstation platforms by providing 65% more performance in multithreaded workloads with more cores, more memory and more I/O while utilizing Intel Thread Director technology to leverage high-power Performance-cores and Efficient-cores so pros can create, program, render and work with maximum efficiency in the office, at home or on the go.(VentureBeat, Intel, Windows Central, PC World)

Intel has unveiled Project Amber (Assisted Model Building with Energy Refinement) as a security foundation for confidential computing, secure and responsible AI, and quantum-resistant cryptography. It will provide organizations with remote verification of trustworthiness in cloud, edge and on-premises environments.In its first version, Project Amber aims to support confidential compute workloads deployed as bare metal containers, virtual machines (VMs) and containers running in virtual machines using Intel TEEs. The initial release will support Intel TEEs, with plans to extend coverage to platforms, devices and other TEEs in the future. Intel is also working with independent software vendors (ISVs) to enable trust services that include Project Amber. (VentureBeat, Intel)

Samsung Electronics is reportedly talking with foundry clients about charging as much as 20% more for making semiconductors in 2022, joining an industry-wide push to hike prices to cover rising costs of materials and logistics. Contract-based chip prices are likely to rise around 15%-20%, depending upon the level of sophistication. Chips produced on legacy nodes would face bigger price hikes, they said. New pricing would be applied from 2H22, and Samsung has finished negotiating with some clients, while it is still in discussions with others. Samsung is increasing its manufacturing capacity and is building a new USD17B chip manufacturing plant in Texas. (Bloomberg, Link News, SamMobile, Android Authority, My Drivers)

Samsung Foundry has announced that it was set to begin producing chips using its 3GAE (3 nm-class, gate-all-around transistors, early) process technology in the second quarter. While the industry’s first 3 nm-class node with GAA transistors is a noteworthy achievement by itself, one thing that is particularly important is that to make GAA transistors efficiently, fabs have to be equipped with new production tools. Fittingly, Applied Materials has recently outlined their next generation of tools that will be used to enable Samsung (and other fabs) to build their first GAA chips. Applied Materials has introduced innovations that help customers continue 2D scaling with EUV and detailed the industry’s broadest portfolio of technologies for manufacturing next-generation 3D Gate-All-Around transistors.(CN Beta, Applied Materials, AnandTech)

Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), has shown a prototype device from BOE fitted with the new rollable display. The prototype device has some content displayed on the screen. And as the additional screen space rolls out, the content automatically fits into the new aspect ratio. At present, supply chains and mobile phone manufacturers such as BOE and OPPO are promoting scrollable display, and it is expected that mass production and commercial use will not be too far away. (CN Beta, Twitter, Tech Scurry)

Samsung Display has demonstrated a wide range of new innovative display. Samsung Display has exhibited prototypes of its Flex G and the Flex S foldable displays. The Flex G folds twice, rather than the single folds of current models, while the Flex S folds both inward and outward. Other displays including Flex Bar (horizontal folders like in the Z Flip line), Flex Square (vertical folders like the Z Fold series), Flex Note (a foldable laptop whose halves can be used as both a screen or an input area), Flex Slide (a slidable display where the two ends can be pulled apart to form a larger panel); and Flex Roll (a rollable display device where most of the screen can be tucked at one end when not needed).(Phone Arena, The Verge, Korea JoongAng Daily, PR Newswire)

In the Flex OLED zone, various concept prototypes featuring flexible OLED are introduced

BOE has showcased the industry’s first 500+Hz ultra-high refresh rate gaming display. BOE has innovatively developed the advanced Oxide technology and metal copper (Cu) process, which greatly improves the mobility and greatly reduces the resistivity. While using new liquid crystal materials, BOE innovatively optimizes the pixel structure and industry-leading circuit drive OD (overload drive) to achieve an ultra-fast response speed of 1ms.(CN Beta, Display Specifications)

TCL China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) has developed ultra-thin active high privacy display technology. Not only does the active privacy display boast better privacy-focused reflective angular efficiency compared to the passive privacy screen protectors, but also since the screen is utilising active technology, the display can change privacy modes with a simple click. At a 45º angle with privacy mode turned on, the nearest side-looker will not able to see the screen as with the display’s electronic configuration and chemical properties, the screen shall only let through 1.12% of the display’s light through to the side-looker.  (Gizmo China, 163, SZCSOT)

Xiaomi’s Surge C2 ISP has allegedly appeared in the code related to the Xiaomi Mi 12 Ultra. Another highlight of the machine is the first batch of Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus processors (Qualcomm SM8475), which is built on TSMC’s 4nm process. It is said that the Mi 12 Ultra adopts a rear tri-cam solution, which is a 50MP wide-angle main camera (Sony IMX989 + OIS) + 48MP ultrawide angle (OIS) + 48MP telephoto (120x zoom) + ToF, the main camera is being tunned by Leica.(CN Beta, GizChina, Xiaomi UI)

REpowerEU is the EUʼs flagship strategy to reduce Europeʼs energy dependance on Russia. The strategy provides the perfect opportunity for the EU to not only wean itself off Russia energy but to also cut the fossil fuel umbilical cord by slashing demand for fossil energy. In addition to plans to increase spending on carbon reductions, the EU will invest an additional EUR195B (approximately USD205B) to achieve its ambitious goal of zero carbon emissions. The European Commission’s draft shows that the EU will present a package on 18 May 2022 to implement the RePowerEU strategy, proposing to increase the clean energy target for 2030 from the current 40% to 45%, and asking member states to base their forecasts on 2020 reduce energy consumption by at least 13% compared to the previous target of 9%. In addition to spending money, the EU is also preparing to stop the sale of new gasoline vehicles in 2035. The European Commission has said the bloc is expected to cut Russia’s gas imports by two-thirds by 2022 and urged member states to replenish their gas storage facilities by the winter of 2023. This strategy will support the Green Deal’s efforts to achieve greater emissions reductions by 2030, and could save the EUR80B a year in gas, EUR12B in oil and EUR1.7B in coal imports. The EU plans to produce 10 M tons of renewable hydrogen domestically and import 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030. Biomethane production target is 35B tons. (CN Beta, CAN, Clean Technica, Transport Environment)

Apple is allegedly testing future iPhone models that replace the current Lightning charging port with the more prevalent USB-C connector, a move that could help the company conform with looming European regulations. In addition to testing models with a USB-C port in recent months, Apple is working on an adapter that would let future iPhones work with accessories designed for the current Lightning connector. That could mean a Lightning-to-USB-C adapter for things like credit card scanners or flash drives that plug into existing iPhones. (The Verge, Engadget, Bloomberg)

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