6-26 #AngelicLaughters : MediaTek has allegedly revised down the production volume of 3Q22; Demand for handset-use CIS may disappoint in 2H22; The global smartphone inventory is “exploding”; etc.

Carmaker Stellantis will halt production at its Rennes-La Janais Citroen plant in Brittany 3 July 2022 due to a chip shortage. Another production halt at the Sochaux Peugeot plant in eastern France was extended until the end of Jun 2022, Stellantis added, also citing semiconductor supply problems. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares assumed in Apr 2022 that it will take ‘certainly until the end of 2022’. (CN Beta, Euro News, CNA, Reuters, Ruetir)

GlobalFoundries (GF), a global leader in feature-rich semiconductor manufacturing, has announced that its first tool has been moved into the company’s new facility on its Singapore campus. In Jun 2021, GF announced it would invest approximately USD4B to expand its Singapore campus as part of the company’s overall plan to grow its global manufacturing footprint and capacity to meet the increase in demand for GF-made semiconductor chips. The factory is expected to ramp in 2023. Once complete, the new facility will have the capacity to manufacture 450,000 wafers (300mm) per year, raising the total capacity of GF’s Singapore site to approximately 1.5M wafers (300mm) annually.(CN Beta, Design-Reuse, Strait Times)

Pony.ai has announced that its Autonomous Driving Controller (ADC), powered by the Nvidia DRIVE Hyperion compute architecture (DRIVE Orin), has been sampled to customers with plans to mass produce the ADC starting in 4Q22. Since Jan 2022, Pony.ai has been conducting road tests optimizing the software to run at low latency and with real-time performance. Pony.ai’s autonomous fleets will feature the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin system-on-chip (SoC) as the centralized compute and AI engine. Pony.ai’s latest ADC offers single or dual NVIDIA DRIVE Orin configurations, delivering 254 and 508 trillion operations per second (TOPS), respectively. Pony.ai develops some of its core hardware in-house. This includes the heterogeneous computing unit based on the NVIDIA chip, which was applied to PonyAlphaX, the company’s fifth-generation autonomous driving system. As of May 2022, Pony.ai has accumulated 13M real-world autonomous kilometers, including more than 200,000 driverless kilometers.(Laoyaoba, Business Wire, Bloomberg)

SoftBank Group Corp’s founder and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son has reiterated the Japanese conglomerate was most likely to list British-based chip designer unit ARM on Nasdaq, while stressing no decision has been made. The UK government has debated the use of national security legislation to compel SoftBank to list ARM in London, as the world’s largest tech investor reconsiders holding an initial public offering for the company exclusively in the US. SoftBank purchased Arm in 2016 for $32bn. The Cambridge-based company was listed in Britain at the time, with a secondary listing in the US. A planned sale to California-based Nvidia collapsed in 2022 over regulatory concerns, pushing Son to reconsider a public listing.(Laoyaoba, Sina, Digitimes, Reuters, FT, The Register)

Intel is postponing the groundbreaking ceremony for its planned chip-making facilities in Ohio because the US government has not yet provided it with funding. Intel announced its USD20B plan to build two semiconductor plants in New Albany, Ohio earlier this year, noting that its expansion to potentially include up to eight plants will “depend heavily on funding from the CHIPS Act”. The CHIPS Act reserves USD52B in funding for semiconductor companies, including Intel, to promote chip manufacturing in the US. While the Senate and House have approved their own versions of the bill, movement on its finalization has stalled in Congress. Intel told US lawmakers and government officials that it is delaying its ceremony “due in part to uncertainty around” the CHIPS Act. Intel spokesperson William Moss reiterates that the “scope and pace” of the company’s project rely on funding from the CHIPS Act.(CN Beta, CNBC, NBC4i, Washington Post)

Affected by the impact of the poor global environment on end consumer demand, it is said that the inventory of mobile phones has approached 50 days, and the inventory of mobile phone factories still has 30M units, which puts pressure on upstream component manufacturers. Recently, MediaTek has allegedly revised down the production volume of 3Q22 and slowed down the speed of new chip production. In this regard, MediaTek does not comment on market-related rumors, and reiterates that the 2Q22 and full-year growth prospects have not changed. Judging from the chips launched in 4Q22, most of the industry will gradually clear the inventory in 1H22, and then launch new chips in 3Q22, and mass production in 4Q22. However, due to the significant decrease in the sales of mobile phones at all price points, MediaTek also revised down the estimated production volume. (CNYES, CMMedia)

Sales of semiconductor equipment in Japan continued to boom. In May 2022, sales increased for 17 consecutive months, hitting the second highest in history. From Jan to May 2022, sales soared by 30%, breaking a record. According to statistics from the Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ), the sales of chip-making equipment in Japan in May 2022 increased by 0.8% from the same month in 2021 to JPY307.718B, showing growth for the 17th consecutive month, and monthly sales hit the second highest in history record. During the period from Jan to May 2022, the cumulative sales of chip equipment in Japan reached JPY1,529.117B, an increase of nearly 30% (up 28%) compared with the same period in 2021, and the sales reached a record high in the same period of the previous year. (Laoyaoba, UDN, iFeng, MoneyDJ)

The supply of automotive MCUs is expected to stay tight through 2H23, according to Digitimes. The electrification of cars is driving the use of electronic products in cars, and demand for key automotive MCUs continues to be hot, with Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturers estimating that 20-30 MCUs are needed in a car. Future luxury models could require as many as 100 MCUs, up from an earlier estimate of 70. In terms of automotive MCUs, mainland Chinese manufacturers continue to make progress. (Digitimes, Laoyaoba)

China’s chip industry is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, after US sanctions on local champions from Huawei Technologies to Hikvision spurred appetite for home-grown components. 19 of the world’s 20 fastest-growing chip industry firms over the past 4 quarters, on average, hail from the world’s No. 2 economy, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compared with just 8 at the same point last year. Those China-based suppliers of design software, processors and gear vital to chipmaking are expanding revenue at several times the likes of global leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) or ASML. That supercharged growth underscores how tensions between Washington and Beijing are transforming the global USD550B semiconductor industry — a sector that plays an outsized role in everything from defense to the advent of future technologies like AI and autonomous cars. (Laoyaoba, Bloomberg, Taipei Times, Times)

TCL CSOT has announced the world’s first ultra-low frequency OLED wearable technology, with ultra-low frequency flicker-free, ultra-narrow bezel, low power consumption, wide-band free switching, TDDI (touch and display driver integration), and highlights such as no change in low-frequency color. The OLED display can achieve full grayscale without flicker when the screen is displayed at 0.016Hz ultra-low frequency; when the watch is in a constant bright mode in a strong light environment, it can maintain a flicker-free display effect, allowing the watch it can still display stably in the standby clock state and supports refresh once every minute without feeling.(Laoyaoba, EET-China, Sina, RPRNA)

TCL CSOT’s has achieved higher upgrade of its integrated ambient light sensor, with 2 advantages of high integration and high precision. The ambient light and color temperature sensors are integrated on the TFT glass through In-cell technology, and the ambient light and color temperature monitoring functions are realized at the same time; the 0.5 Lux / Step @0-300lux brightness monitoring accuracy and ±250 K color temperature monitoring accuracy have achieved the industry’s first-class level. The company has showcased the world’s first ambient light sensor integrated screen. The 6.53-inch ambient light Sensor integrated LTPS product adopts CSOT’s LTPS technology and integrates an ambient light photosensitive device on the back panel to realize real-time detection of external ambient light. The screen brightness can be adaptively adjusted according to the ambient brightness, allowing users to obtain a better visual experience.(Laoyaoba, EET China)

Samsung Display (SDC) will reportedly supply OLED panels used in automotive displays for BMW. SDC will supply OLED panels for use in displays inside new BMW sedan car models of which production will begin in 2024. During 6-7 years after the production begins, SDC will supply OLED panels for use in 4M BMW sedan cars. SDC will end production of TV-use LCD panels at the end of Jun 2022, possibly a reason for it to actively tap the international market of car-use OLED panels. While LG Display started production of car-use OLED panels earlier and currently has a much larger global market share than SDC, the two have monopolized global supply of car-used OLED panels currently. (The Elec, SamMobile, Digitimes)

Samsung has introduced the 200MP ISOCELL HP3, the image sensor with the industry’s smallest 0.56-micrometer (μm)-pixels. Since its first 108MP image sensor roll-out in 2019, Samsung has been leading the trend of next-generation, ultra-high-resolution camera development. Through the steady launch of new image sensors and advancements in performance, the company is once again forging ahead with the 0.56μm 200MP ISOCELL HP3. The ISOCELL HP3, with a 12% smaller pixel size than the predecessor’s 0.64μm, packs 200M pixels in a 1/1.4” optical format, which is the diameter of the area that is captured through the camera lens.(Android Authority, Android Headlines, Samsung, GSM Arena)

Demand for handset-use CMOS image sensors (CIS) may disappoint in 2H22, as handset vendors are likely to slow down or even hold back their orders due to flat business prospects, according to Digitimes. The mobile phone and business performance of some industry players may even decline in 2H22 compared to 1H22, and there is basically no expectation for the traditional peak season. There are 3 parts to observe. One is that the incoming wafers received from the back-end packaging and testing, such as wafer recombination (RW) industry, are decreasing. The second is that the distributor channel also generally feels the weakness of the system factory’s ability to pull goods. There are even more unconfirmed noises in the market. The major CIS wafer fabs (such as Sony to TSMC) that mainly invest in mature semiconductor manufacturing processes may have default risks. (Facebook, Digitimes, Digitimes)

Global installed capacity for image sensors was 1M 200mm-equivalent wafers per month at the end of 2021. According to the Knometa Research, image sensor capacity is forecast to increase 13% in 2022. By the end of 2026, installed capacity for image sensors is projected to be 1.8M 200mm-equiv. wafers per month. That’s an average annual growth rate of 12.5% over the forecast period, making image sensor capacity among the fastest growing segments. While Sony in Japan is the industry’s leading CMOS image sensor supplier, the combined CIS capacity of Samsung and SK Hynix made Korea the industry’s biggest source for production of image sensors at the end of 2021. (Laoyaoba, Knometa Research, Evertiq, UDN)

Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC) PC300 series adopts its own third-generation 3D NAND flash memory chips with Xtacking 2.0 chip stack architecture, with capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. M.2 2242 and M.2 2280 are available in two forms, with lengths of 42mm and 80mm and weights of 4g and 8g respectively. The former is especially suitable for equipment with strict requirements on volume and size. The specifications of the two are the same, and both support interface protocols such as PCIe 4.0 x4 and NVMe 1.4, with a mean time between failures of 2M hours, and technically support TCG-Pyrite, OPAL, LDPC error correction, full-path data protection, etc.(CN Beta, YMTC)

American technology firm BeBop Sensors has developed a device that allows military robots to have a human-like “sense of touch” capability. Called the RoboSkin, the tech is a flexible fabric equipped with up to 80 sensors to mimic human touch when mounted on a robotic fingertip. The sensors are reportedly capable of measuring and analyzing up to 50kg of pressure. BeBop has said that the cutting-edge device also has a “nervous system” that enables unmanned systems to perform missions with greater dexterity and autonomy. The RoboSkin is composed of a polyester or nylon non-woven fabric with changing electrical characteristics as it is affected by pressure, shear, or bending. (CN Beta, The Defense Post, BeBop Sensors, Life Wire)

Samsung Australia has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay USD14M in penalties after it admitted misleading consumers about the suitability of various Samsung Galaxy phones to be submerged in pool or sea water, in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). The false or misleading claims were made about the water resistance of the S7, S7 Edge, A5 (2017), A7 (2017), S8, S8 Plus and Note 8 Samsung Galaxy phones. There were more than 3.1M of these Galaxy phones sold in Australia. Between Mar 2016 and Oct 2018, Samsung Australia conducted a marketing campaign that included 9 ads, published across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, on its website, and in-store, which represented that these Galaxy phones were suitable to be used in pool and sea water. (Neowin, The Guardian, Android Authority, ACCC)

A plan from Dish Network to use the 12GHz radio spectrum for the company’s 5G network risks degrading the Starlink satellite internet service across the US, according to SpaceX. The company has made the allegation(Opens in a new window) as both SpaceX and a coalition of companies, including Dish Network, are battling for regulatory access to the 12GHz spectrum. SpaceX currently uses the 12GHz band for its satellite internet service so that Starlink users can download content from the web. However, Dish Network has been lobbying the FCC for access to the 12GHz band to run a 5G cellular network on the ground. SpaceX has told the FCC opening the 12GHz spectrum to wireless network providers such as Dish Network represents a direct threat to Starlink’s usability. (Digital Trends, CNBC, PC Mag, Fierce Wireless)

Huawei Technologies has entered into a patent license agreement with Nordic Semiconductor. The agreement grants a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) royalty-bearing component-level license of Huawei’s low power wide area (LPWA) cellular IoT standard essential patents (SEPs) to Nordic and its customers.(Laoyaoba, Huawei)

The global premium (USD400 and above wholesale ASP) smartphone market sales volume declined 8% YoY during 1Q22, but it still performed better than the overall smartphone market, which declined by 10%, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple continued to lead the premium market, exceeding 60% share for the second consecutive quarter. This was driven by the iPhone 13 series. The iPhone 13 has been the best-selling model globally each month since Oct 2021. This was also the highest first quarter share for Apple in the premium segment since 1Q17. Samsung’s share declined in the segment. This was mainly because of a delayed launch of the Galaxy S22 series as compared to the S21 series launch in 2021. Xiaomi remained the third largest brand in the premium segment for the third consecutive quarter. (CN Beta, Counterpoint Research)

The global smartphone inventory is “exploding”. Samsung has nearly 50M inventory to be digested, which is nearly double the normal water level. Most of them are mid-range A-series models; the inventory of Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo, Honor and other non-Apple brands has surged at the same time. The industry estimates that the total inventory of the above-mentioned 5 major brands has exceeded 100M units. According to the statistics of Chaodian Think Tank, a well-known market research institution in mainland China, as of 1Q22, the mobile phone inventory of OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, Honor and other brands in mainland China exceeded 30M units. According to industry analysts, the strict closures and controls in Shanghai and Beijing at the beginning of 2Q22 will make it even more difficult to digest inventory. In addition, mobile phone brand factories continue to release new phones, and there is a high probability of doubling to 50-60M units by the end of 2Q22. In addition, Samsung’s 50M units Inventory, the total number of smart phone inventories in the market at the end of 2Q22 may exceed 100M units, equivalent to half of Apple’s iPhone sales in a year, “a very considerable amount”. (Digitimes, Digitimes, UDN)

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple’s rumored Mixed Reality (MR) headset is “very likely” to debut in Jan 2023, which will accelerate the growth of the entire headset market. Although Apple has repeatedly reiterated its focus on AR, he believes Apple AR / MR supporting video see-thru could also offer an excellent immersive experience. Therefore, the launch of Apple AR / MR will further boost the demand for immersive gaming/multimedia entertainment. (CN Beta, Twitter, Medium)

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Meta’s Quest 2 Pro mixed reality (MR) headset is expected to be cheaper than Apple’s rumored AR device. He has said Meta expects to use mini-LED technology for the Quest 2 Pro along with a 2P Pancake lens to improve visual quality. The Quest 2 Pro will also support eye tracking, facial expressions, and 3D sensing, all thanks to the inclusion of up to 16 cameras, 10 of which are on the headset and 3 on each controller. Additional cameras will support multiple technologies simultaneously, enabling mixed reality immersive sessions including AR and VR applications. (CN Beta, Twitter)

TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has indeicated that Meta has postponed all new device / AR / MR headset hardware projects beyond 2024 and lowered its 2022 shipment forecast by 40% to 7-8M units from 10-11M units. (Twitter, Laoyaoba)

In 2021 Amazon’s Ring sold more than 1.7M video doorbells in 2021 to expand its lead on its competitors and enable the company to all but cement itself at the top of the video doorbell market according to Strategy Analytics. Strategy Analytics estimates the top five video doorbell brands globally as of the end of 2021 are, in order: Ring, SkyBell, Google’s Nest, smart home provider Vivint, and ADT. These five companies combined to sell more than 3.5M doorbell cameras, or about 30%, of the nearly 12M video doorbells Strategy Analytics estimates were sold to consumers globally in 2021. At 1.4M units, Ring sold nearly as many video doorbells by itself in 2021 as SkyBell, Nest, Vivint, and ADT combined. Tier 2 companies Remo+, Arlo, SimpliSafe, Wyze, and Zmodo rounded out the Top 10 globally. (Laoyaoba, Strategy Analytics)

Google introduced Android Auto in 2015 as a way to use maps, navigation, and music playback on Android smartphones without too much distraction. It offered bigger UI elements for a better viewing experience. However, the company is now shutting down the app that was made for phone screens. The Android Auto for phone screens app is being shut down. The original Android Auto app is now limited to in-car infotainment systems.  (Android Headlines, SamMobile, 9to5Google, GizChina)

Avatr Technology and Huawei have issued a statement saying that the two parties signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement to jointly build high-end smart cars. Based on the new generation of intelligent electric vehicle technology platform CHN, the two parties will jointly create a series of high-end intelligent electric vehicle products and continue to iterate, and launch 4 new models by 2025. (CN Beta, Sina, Jiemian)

BlackBerry has announced that Strategy Analytics has determined BlackBerry QNX software is now embedded in over 215M vehicles worldwide, an increase of 20M from the year before. BlackBerry is the market leader for safety-certified embedded software in automotive, trusted by OEMs and Tier 1s across the industry, including BMW, Bosch, Continental, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Visteon. Automakers rely on BlackBerry QNX software for a broad range of critical systems for the vehicles of today and for the next generation software-defined vehicles of the future, as exampled by the growth announced and the company’s design wins with 24 of the top 25 Electric Vehicle OEMs.  (Laoyaoba, Automotive World, BlackBerry)

Amazon has introduced its new warehouse robot called “Proteus”. This robot is the first fully autonomous warehouse robot from the company. Amazon says Proteus moves in the warehouse without any human guide and moves packages from one place to another. The company shown the robot moving under the carts and transporting them to other locations. Proteus uses an “advanced safety, perception and navigation technology” to prevent interference with human employees. To do so, Proteus emits a green beam and stops working if a human worker appears in front of it. Amazon says its goal is to minimize the need for human force to move package carts around its facilities. Also, it wants to create a safer workspace for its employees.(Android Headlines, Amazon)

HALO Trust, a demining enterprise with multiple U.S. government contracts to work in Ukraine, will use “Spot”, a Boston Dynamics-made robot dog, to remove mortar shells and cluster munitions in formerly Russian-controlled areas near the capital of Kyiv, said Chris Whatley, the group’s executive director. Deploying a robotic arm in place of its head, Spot could help drag unexploded munitions—such as cluster bombs—to pits containing other munitions, allowing them to be safely exploded far from civilians in batches of up to 50 to 100 shells, and without endangering any of HALO’s 10 teams that have been deployed in Bucha and Brovary. (CN Beta, 163, Yahoo, Foreign Policy)

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