1-18 #Nightmare : Samsung has introduced its latest 200Mp ISOCELL HP2; Google is rumored to be working on a Bluetooth tracking tag; Meituan has announced that it has completed more than 100,000 drone deliveries by 2022; etc.

Google is rumored to be working on a Bluetooth tracking tag similar to Tile, Apple’s AirTag, and Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTag. The device is currently in development under Google’s Nest team, which is generally the smart home division of Google’s hardware. (Android Headlines, Twitter, Android Authority)

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has recently filed a lawsuit against Voyager Labs for allegedly creating tens of thousands of fake Facebook accounts to scrape user data and provide surveillance services for clients. Meta alleges that Voyager Labs created over 38,000 fake Facebook user accounts to scrape information from over 600,000 Facebook users and groups belonging to employees of non-profit organizations, universities, news media organizations, healthcare facilities, the armed forces of the United States, and local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as full-time parents, retirees, and union members. (Android Headlines, US Courts)

The 2022 edition of the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard analyses the 2500 companies that invested the largest sums in R&D worldwide in 2021. These companies, with headquarters in 41 countries, and more than 900K subsidiaries all over the world, each invested over EUR48.5M in R&D in 2021. The total investment across all 2500 companies was EUR1093.9B – an amount equivalent to 86% of the world’s business-funded R&D and passing the trillion Euro mark for the first time. Alphabet rules over the R&D investment in the first place, followed by the FaceBook and Instagram parent, Meta in second and Microsoft comes third. Moving on, Apple numbered the fifth spot. (ZOL, My Drivers, Techgoing, Huawei Central, EU)

Samsung Electronics America has announced the expansion of its Self-Repair Program to include 5 new Galaxy devices. The expanded program now features genuine repair parts for the Galaxy Book Pro 15” and Galaxy Book Pro 360 15” PCs, as well as the Galaxy S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra family of products. In collaboration with iFixit, the leading online repair community, Galaxy Book owners will have access to seven authentic components to take repair into their own hands. This includes the case front, case rear, display, battery, touchpad, power key with fingerprint reader, and rubber foot. (Android Authority, Samsung)

According to Canalys, the global PC market ended 2022 on a low note, with total shipments of desktops and notebooks down by 29% to 65.4M units in 4Q22. This represents a fourth consecutive quarter of decline as holiday season spending was muted amid a worsening economic environment. This pegged total shipments for full-year 2022 at 285.1M units, a 16% drop from the highs of 2021 when all end-user segments saw peak demand. Nevertheless, shipment volumes remain favorable compared to pre-pandemic, with total 2022 shipments 7% higher than in 2019. Notebooks underwent a larger decline, down by 30% to 51.4M units in 4Q22 and 19% to 223.8M units for the full year. Desktops fared slightly better, undergoing a decline of 24% to 14.1M units in 4Q22 and a drop of 7% to 61.3M units across 2022. (Canalys, GSM Arena)

Global shipments for traditional PCs fell below expectations in 4Q22 as 67.2M PCs were shipped, down 28.1% from the prior year, according to IDC. The 4Q22 shipments are comparable to 4Q18, when the market was constrained by Intel’s supply challenges. It is clear the pandemic boom is over for the PC market, but despite recent declines, annual shipments for 2022 were well above pre-pandemic levels at 292.3M units for the full year. However, demand remains a concern as most users have relatively new PCs and the global economy worsens. (IDC, Laoyaoba)

Macroeconomic weakness is hindering all consumer device markets right now, with virtual and augmented reality devices (VR and AR) — often combined as “extended reality” (XR) — being no exception. CCS Insight’s forecast projects global unit sales in this segment to remain just short of 10M in 2022 before growing to 11.4M in 2023. CCS Insight predicts that unit sales of XR devices will build up more slowly than previously projected, reaching 67M units in 2026. Of these, 11M will be sold to businesses and other organizations, where XR is showing great promise for uses in customer support, training, marketing and more. But the bulk of sales will be to consumers eager to get their hands on the latest technology. (Laoyaoba, CCS Insight)

Statistics from Sigmaintell show that global flat-panel TV shipments in 2022 is 218M units, a YoY decrease of 6.3%. It is estimated that shipments in 2023 will be 217M units, a YoY decrease of 0.8%. Market demand remains weak on a low basis. The agency pointed out that global TV brand competition is changing. In 2022, the world’s top ten TV private brand shipments will be Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Hisense, TCL, Xiaomi, Skyworth, Sony, Philips, Vizio, Haier, etc.  (Sigmaintell, Laoyaoba)

Global automaker Stellantis will mass produce an electric vehicle take-off and landing aircraft for Archer Aviation as part of an expanded partnership that includes giving the startup-turned-publicly traded company access to up to USD150M in additional capital over the next 2 years. Stellantis kicked off its partnership with Archer Aviation in 2020, offering it access to its global supply chain and other expertise. In February 2021, Stellantis expanded its relationship with the aviation startup through a collaboration agreement. That same month Archer announced plans to go public via a merger with special purpose acquisition company Atlas Crest Investment. The companies plan to start producing the Midnight aircraft at the factory in 2024. (CN Beta, Stellantis, TechCrunch)

Indonesia coordinating minister Luhut Pandjaitan has indicated that Indonesia is finalising agreements with China’s automaker BYD Group and U.S. carmaker Tesla to invest in electric vehicle (EV) production facilities in the Southeast Asian country. Indonesia is aggressively promoting investment into batteries and EVs at home to take advantage of its rich nickel resources. Once a major nickel ore exported, it has banned exports to ensure enough raw materials for investors. (CN Beta, Teslarati, Reuters)

SoundHound, a voice AI company, has allegedly laid off nearly half of its remaining staff (roughly 200 people) in a major company-wide downsizing. The severe cuts come just 2 months after another round of layoffs that saw 10% of the company’s workforce eliminated and others burdened with salary reductions. SoundHound’s workforce numbered 450 prior to the layoffs, but staff has been cut more than 50% in just 3 months, according to the former employees. (Engadget, Gizmodo)

Meituan has announced that it has completed more than 100,000 drone deliveries by 2022, an increase of more than 400% year-on-year. The drone delivery service that started in 2017 is officially launched Normal trial operation in early 2021. As of the end of 2022, Meituan drones have landed in Shenzhen and Shanghai, serving nearly 20,000 households, covering 18 communities and office buildings. The company’s drones can currently deliver more than 20,000 products FMCG supermarkets including catering, beauty and cosmetics, as well as new products such as Apple iPhone and vivo can also be delivered by drones. (Gizmo China, IT Home, 163.com, Sohu)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said he saw gradual progress in talks over new restrictions the United States wants it to implement on exporting chip-making technology to China. Rutte said it was important for Western countries to not lose their leading position in advanced semiconductor technologies and that advanced chips should not be used for military purposes “in countries where you do not wish that to happen”. But he also warned that global supply chains for simpler technologies should not be disrupted by export restrictions. (Laoyaoba, US News, Reuters)

SFA has signed a contract worth KRW142.1B won with Tianma to supply display production equipment. The South Korean equipment maker will be supplying its logistics equipment to the Chinese display panel maker. Tianma will be using these kits for its Gen-8.6 liquid crystal display (LCD) production factory being built at Xiamen.  (The Elec)

Annual global shipments of foldable smartphones are projected to climb from around 12.8M units for 2022 to around 18.5M units for 2023, says TrendForce in its latest report on the market for OLED displays. Among the key components for a foldable smartphone, hinges play a critical role in determining the cost of the whole device. In a foldable smartphone, hinges are responsible for the durability or flex life of the foldable display, the visibility of the fold crease on the display, the feel of flipping the device, and many other functions that are vital to user experience. In other words, the quality of hinges will directly affect consumers’ willingness to purchase a foldable smartphone. With the penetration rate of foldable models rising in the smartphone market, the value of the global market for hinges used in foldable OLED smartphones will rise by 14.6% YoY to above the level of USD500M for 2023. (GizChina, Android Headlines, TrendForce, TrendForce)

Samsung Electronics has introduced its latest 200-megapixel (MP) image sensor, the ISOCELL HP2. The ISOCELL HP2 packs 200-million 0.6-micrometer (μm) pixels in a 1/1.3” optical format, a sensor size that is widely used in 108MP main smartphone cameras. With Samsung’s advanced pixel-binning technology, Tetra2pixel, the HP2 adds more versatility to the camera as it simulates different pixel sizes to accommodate varying lighting levels. When in low-lit environments, the sensor transforms either into a 1.2μm 50MP or 2.4μm 12.5MP image sensor by binding four to 16 neighboring pixels.(Android Authority, Android Headlines, Samsung)

The folded zoom actuator for Apple iPhone 15 series to be launched in 2023, will be allegedly supplied by two Korean companies, LG Innotek and Jahwa Electronics, replacing Japan’s Alps Alpine and Mitsumi, an existing iPhone camera actuator partner, as it is expected to have difficulty supplying actuators for Apple’s folded zoom in 2023. LG Innotek and Jahwa Electronics are expected to account for 70% and 30%, respectively, of OIS actuators for the iPhone 15 series folded zoom that Apple will release in 2H23. Apple plans to apply Folded Zoom for the first time =to the top model of the iPhone 15 series, the Pro Max.(Neowin, Patently Apple, Apple Insider)

According to Counterpoint Research, global smartphone image sensor shipments were down mid-teens compared to 2021, with all major vendors suffering different degrees of decline. But when it came to the revenue in dollars, Sony managed to achieve a YoY growth as Apple, which was estimated to have contributed half of Sony’s mobile CIS revenue, further improved the iPhone camera specs during the year. In the Android camp, Samsung LSI also benefited from the camera enhancement trend and improved its product mix, which partially offset the significant loss in shipments. Taking the first-mover advantage in mass-producing sub-0.7μm high-resolution sensors, Samsung shipped an estimated 200 million affordable 50MP image sensors in 2022. (GSM Arena, Counterpoint Research)

According to Omdia, Sony continues to dominate the global CMOS image sensor (CIS) market. Sony’s CIS sales in 3Q22 amounted to USD2.442B, accounting for 51.6% of the total. By comparison, Samsung, currently the second largest CIS supplier, held only 15.6% of the market. In addition, Howell Technologies, ON Semiconductor, and GalaxyCore followed with 9.7%, 7.0% and 4.0% shares, respectively; in sixth place, SK Hynix was about to enter the top five with a 3.8% share. (Techgoing, SamNews24, The Elec)

JEDEC, the industry group that homologates memory standards, has started working on a proper replacement for the SO-DIMM memory standard in the form of CAMM for laptops. Dell unveiled a brand new memory technology known as CAMM (Compression Attached Memory Module) in 2022. The new standard was designed by the engineers at Dell to make laptops thinner without sacrificing performance. Another aspect of the CAMM memory modules will be that they help make it more accessible for the memory to be field-repaired. One reason was that SO-DIMM was about to hit a brick wall in memory speeds with DDR5/6400. This could allow CAMM to step in when the industry moves ahead with DDR6, sometime in 2024 or so. (CN Beta, ExtremeTech, Tom’s Hardware, WCCFTech, PC World)

T-Mobile is reportedly in talks with Mint Mobile to acquire the company. Mint Mobile was founded in 2016 as a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) and 25% of it was later sold to actor Ryan Reynolds. Mint itself is also a part of a great company called Ultra Mobile. It remains to be seen whether T-Mobile is interested in buying Mint and Ultra altogether. T-Mobile also needs to decide whether Mint Mobile can preserve its brand or it will continue operating as a sub-brand like Metro by T-Mobile. (Android Headlines, Bloomberg, CNET, Fierce Wireless)

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