Technology Bulletin

    • Samsung Cutting Its Phone Production in China
    • Jun 11, 2019
    • "Samsung is planning to cut smartphone production in its last remaining factory in Huizhou, China. The company is taking steps to lay off workers. This mov... View More
      "Samsung is planning to cut smartphone production in its last remaining factory in Huizhou, China. The company is taking steps to lay off workers. This move followed the closure of the two factories in Shenzhen and Tianjin over the past year due to poor performance and rising labor costs in China. Samsung has been producing 63 million smartphones per year in the Huizhou plant. Instead of China, Samsung will likely increase investment and production capacities in India and Vietnam, both producing 67% of its global smartphones output. Samsung has been losing market share in the China market since 2013, whereas local phone makers have been gaining ground by aggressively launching high spec devices at low-to-medium pricing. This is due to Samsung’s marketing strategies that heavily focus on the high-end S series. We expect that Samsung will adjust its marketing strategies towards low-to-mid end model lines, based on cost cutting and moving of factories." - Angela Cheon (Source: GSM Arena)
    • Bendable iPhone or iPad “Fold” Could Launch Soon, ...
    • Jun 11, 2019
    • "Apple has filed patents for a foldable screen several times so far and is expected to launch a foldable device after late 2020. There is no specific indic... View More
      "Apple has filed patents for a foldable screen several times so far and is expected to launch a foldable device after late 2020. There is no specific indication on whether the foldable device would be an iPhone or an iPad. However, the article mentions that it could be a foldable iPad (tablet-focused) rather than a foldable iPhone. The images in the patent show that the device in question can fold not once or twice, but three times. Therefore, it would require a more prominent display to sport a three-point fold. It seems true that Apple’s patented images only show a device folded down to reduce the size while other companies are working on foldable devices that would expand from smartphone configuration into tablets. Yes, it could be a tablet or a hybrid type phablet. However, it appears that the answers to the following questions have determined Apple's direction of its ideal foldable device. Will such a device encourage more people to purchase them? Will those who own both an iPhone and iPad prefer a single device which combines the best attributes of the two devices? Will the price be prohibitive? Will the device cannibalize iPad or iPhone sales?" - Liz Lee (Source: Hiptoro)
    • Google Lobbying to Continue Providing Android Supp...
    • Jun 11, 2019
    • "Huawei, the second largest and fastest growing Android smartphone maker, has recently announced that it will be launching its own OS based on Linux and op... View More
      "Huawei, the second largest and fastest growing Android smartphone maker, has recently announced that it will be launching its own OS based on Linux and open Android following a US trade ban that restricts it from using Google’s Android licensed software and services. Google reportedly, is lobbying the US government to allow it to continue providing Android support for Huawei. This is because Huawei has based its new OS on Linux and open source Android. Google argues that having multiple or forked versions of open source Android might become a security concern as the search giant would not be able to control crucial security updates. According to Google, this might be a threat to US national security. It also makes sense as Google, and other US software/hardware companies lobby the government to reverse the trade ban as they will be missing out on significant revenues as Huawei stands as the second largest and fastest growing smartphone in Q1 2019." - Shobhit Srivastava (Source: The Verge)
    • US Auto Makers Threatened by Self-Imposed Tariffs ...
    • Jun 4, 2019
    • "US President Donald Trump’s latest proposal to slap a 5% tariff on auto imports from Mexico from June 10th, has US automakers worried. Already, auto... View More
      "US President Donald Trump’s latest proposal to slap a 5% tariff on auto imports from Mexico from June 10th, has US automakers worried. Already, automobile prices are at record highs. Mexican-built cars were 17% of overall US sales in 2018, including relatively profitable large pickup trucks. With automotive components moving between Mexico, US, and Canada several times before being assembled into cars, the cascading impact, could be significant for suppliers, who in some case have exposure to Mexico as high as 25% of their revenue. Undoubtedly, this misdirected move by the White House will backfire on US consumers, with prices of several essential goods like cars, refrigerators, and televisions set to rise." - Vinay Piparsania (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
    • Small Cars Sales in EU to Suffer the Most with Str...
    • Jun 4, 2019
    • "Mandatory safety features and stringent emission norms in EU will affect sales of mini and small cars (costing US$10,000-US$15,000) the most as technology... View More
      "Mandatory safety features and stringent emission norms in EU will affect sales of mini and small cars (costing US$10,000-US$15,000) the most as technology upgrades to meet these mandates cost more or less same (a few thousand dollars) for a small or mid-size car. Tougher EU rules require automakers to reduce average fleet CO2 emissions from 120.8 grams per kilometer (g/km) to 95 g/km by 2021 to 80.8 g/km by 2025.  Automakers operating on already thin margins on mini and small cars would find it difficult to absorb the extra cost. Tough standards adopted by the EU are good to control pollution and encourage new technologies, but risk making EU an unattractive market (at least for mid-term) for small cars." - Aman Madhok (Source: Automotive News Europe)
    • VW to Rework $56 Billion Battery Push on Samsung D...
    • Jun 4, 2019
    • "Media reports suggest that Volkswagen might change its battery supply agreement worth US$55.8 billion with Samsung SDI. The point is that Volkswagen and S... View More
      "Media reports suggest that Volkswagen might change its battery supply agreement worth US$55.8 billion with Samsung SDI. The point is that Volkswagen and Samsung previously agreed on the supply of 20GWh worth of batteries, but Samsung SDI will instead supply 5GWh worth of batteries due to disagreement on output and schedule. Both companies do not mention any details citing NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) regarding this news. In the past, Volkswagen reportedly issued long-term battery supply contracts worth around US$50 billion for over 300GWh in total with multiple battery manufacturers for its future EV fleet on the MEB (Modular Electric Drive Kit) platform. Volkswagen split those billions worth of contracts between several companies - Samsung SDI, LG Chem, SK Innovation, and CATL. Thus, the contract amount of US$55.8 billion mentioned above must be the total amount for all the suppliers, not Samsung SDI only. Such long-term multi-vendor contracts will help to clear supply bottlenecks at a time of soaring demand and hold out the promise of cheaper batteries over time. Here, the initial contracts for long-term supply are not usually 100% fixed and somewhat flexible, depending on the market situation in the future. Even if we cannot get the specific reason for their contract adjustment, it seems real that Samsung SDI is focussing on the profitability of a contract rather than the size of a contract, unlike other vendors who do have another cash cow beside the battery business." - Liz Lee (Source: Bloomberg)
    • SK Innovation Unveils Bold Plans for NCM 811
    • Jun 4, 2019
    • "The company plans to increase NCM 811 (batteries with Nickel, Cobalt, and Manganese at a ratio of 8:1:1) capacity to 100 GWh from the current 5GWh, by 202... View More
      "The company plans to increase NCM 811 (batteries with Nickel, Cobalt, and Manganese at a ratio of 8:1:1) capacity to 100 GWh from the current 5GWh, by 2025. While battery companies including CATL are racing to launch NCM 811 to gain an early mover advantage, many industry participants believe NCM 811 can co-exist with other battery configurations (NCM 523 and NCM 622) especially with declining cobalt prices which is leading to a reduction in the price gap between the above configurations. The ending of subsidies in China (which currently favors long-range NCM 811 powered EVs) would further hamper the growth of NCM 811 configurations going forward. Battery companies could scale down or modify their ambitious expansion plans based on market conditions." - Aman Madhok (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
    • Hyundai Motor to Dump LG Chem for China's Battery ...
    • Jun 4, 2019
    • "Hyundai Motor will use the Chinese company CATL's batteries in its electric SUV scheduled to debut in China later this year. This is to get an advanta... View More
      "Hyundai Motor will use the Chinese company CATL's batteries in its electric SUV scheduled to debut in China later this year. This is to get an advantage from the Chinese government's subsidy policy. It is worthwhile to recall that in Korea, the US, and Europe, the same vehicle has an LG Chem battery. As a result, Hyundai has not been able to place a name on the vehicle to be subsidized by the Chinese government and to be able to secure price competitiveness in China. Hyundai’s move is no doubt, a strategy followed by what Tesla had to do, which is investing in a local gigafactory in China to stay competitive with its Model 3." - Sujeong Lim (Source: Korea Times)
    • Mobile Broadband (eMBB) Leads Early Use Cases for ...
    • May 28, 2019
    • "As a pilot city for 5G network construction, Shanghai has been at the forefront of exploring 5G applications. By leveraging the high mobile broadband and ... View More
      "As a pilot city for 5G network construction, Shanghai has been at the forefront of exploring 5G applications. By leveraging the high mobile broadband and low latency, hospitals in Shanghai are able to extend their medical service, such as real-time and remote consultation by combing ultrasounds with the 5G network. Besides, 5G has also been put into use in the entertainment industry and contributed to improving experiences in terms of new media, sports broadcasting, VR, and games. In the early adoption of 5G, eMBB enabled applications are destined to play a pivotal role." - Ethan Qi (Source: Xinhua Net)
    • Verizon Becomes the Third Operator to Start NB-IoT...
    • May 28, 2019
    • "Verizon has become the third operator to start a commercial NB-IoT network in the US. Earlier, AT&T started commercial NB-IoT operations in April 2019... View More
      "Verizon has become the third operator to start a commercial NB-IoT network in the US. Earlier, AT&T started commercial NB-IoT operations in April 2019, while T-Mobile went live in July 2018. All three networks are using guard band spectrum, to avoid interference with smartphone traffic and maximize spectrum utilization. The telecom giant will test and qualify Telit, SIMCOM, and Quectel modules for the newly launched network. Verizon already has LTE-M network, along with voice support. It plans to utilize NB-IoT network for stationary IoT devices with low bandwidth needs, while LTE-M will cater to mission-critical IoT applications with marginally higher bandwidth needs. NB-IoT will be critical to applications like smart cities, smart meters, agriculture, and smart buildings." - Hanish Bhatia (Source: Mobile World Live)

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