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Technology Bulletin

    • Samsung Display Recognized for Pinhole Tech Perfor...
    • Sep 1, 2020
    • Samsung Display will call its smartphone [pin]hole display technology Iris Ring, the company said on Wednesday…The company said it received the Hole Area... View More
      Samsung Display will call its smartphone [pin]hole display technology Iris Ring, the company said on Wednesday…The company said it received the Hole Area Clarity verification from the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for no color difference in the areas around the hole. UL verified the 120Hz OLED panel used for the Galaxy Note20 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung Display said. They received a Delta E rating less than 2, meaning there was no discernible difference visually in colors around the hole and the remainder of the panel. (The Elec, August 27) Ethan Qi's key takeaways: No surprise on the UL rating as Samsung Display has been at the forefront of hole display innovations.  We expect Iris Ring to become a critical display solution across Samsung’s 5G smartphones moving forward.
    • FCC Completes 3.5 GHz Spectrum Auction Raising $4....
    • Sep 1, 2020
    • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has completed the 3.5 GHz spectrum auction (Auction 105) – raising $4.585 billion…FCC will reveal the n... View More
      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has completed the 3.5 GHz spectrum auction (Auction 105) – raising $4.585 billion…FCC will reveal the name of winners later. There were 271 eligible bidders including AT&T, Cox, Shenandoah Cable TV, USSC, and Windstream, among others. Bidders won 20,625 of 22,631, or more than 91.1 percent, of available licenses…The auction of Priority Access Licenses in the 3550-3650 MHz band, which was designated as Auction 105, made available the greatest number of spectrum licenses ever in a single FCC auction, the telecom regulator said. (telecomlead, August 26) Ankit Malhotra's key takeaways: This auction is a part of the 5G FAST Plan by the FCC – a comprehensive strategy to ‘Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology’.  The FCC will also open 280 more megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G in the C-band in December.  FCC generated $20 billion in 600 MHz spectrum just 3 years ago, of which T-Mobile was the biggest winner.   The list of winners will be announced soon, but expectations are Verizon will have been the most aggressive given their lack of mid and low-band spectrum ownership.
    • Apple Plans to Start Selling Online in India Next ...
    • Sep 1, 2020
    • Apple Inc. is poised to open an online store for the first time in the fast-growing smartphone market of India next month, according to a person with knowledge ... View More
      Apple Inc. is poised to open an online store for the first time in the fast-growing smartphone market of India next month, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, taking advantage of a relaxation of once-strict prohibitions against foreign direct retail. The online store will be ready for operations just ahead of the festive Dussehra-Diwali spending season, according to the person, who asked not to be named discussing confidential plans. The iPhone maker, which lobbied New Delhi for years to get around regulations that force companies such as Apple to source 30% of components locally, had originally planned to start online sales within months after the government relaxed the rule last year. Those plans were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. ​(Bloomberg, August 25) Jene Park's key takeaways:  Things are finally coming together in India with Apple’s made-in-India strategy and low-cost iPhones helping the company to make further inroads in the world’s number two giga-market.  The company’s dominance in India across the high-end coupled with declining ASPs driven by the SE 2020 will support online growth, as the company also pushes into brick and mortar with another (rumoured) outlet opening in Bangalore.     We see 2021 as pivotal, with the company likely to focus on the $250-450 range with the SE, as well as older flagships. 
    • Forcia Clarion Launches New AI Face Recognition Se...
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • Forcia Clarion has introduced a new AI face recognition service — SAFE-DR (Smart Access For Enterprise-Drive Recorder) — to its cloud-based vehicle ... View More
      Forcia Clarion has introduced a new AI face recognition service — SAFE-DR (Smart Access For Enterprise-Drive Recorder) — to its cloud-based vehicle management system. It will start providing the service from September 2020. (Clarion) Soumen's key takeaways:  The new camera-based system, which can be integrated with a smartphone as well, will help prevent road accidents. As the automotive industry is slowly moving towards autonomous vehicles, security is a rising challenge for automakers and technology players. This system will help prevent theft of vehicles. Passengers too will feel safer in using shared vehicles. The driving data will be stored in a dedicated server. This will open a new business opportunity for memory storage players and security players. Driving will be easier and safer with this AI-based face recognition system. Forcia Clarion is taking one step ahead towards developing fully autonomous vehicles.
    • GM to Launch 5G-Capable Connected Vehicles in Chin...
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • General Motors plans to launch vehicles capable of 5G connectivity for Chinese consumers beginning 2022, providing the groundwork to expand the company’s ... View More
      General Motors plans to launch vehicles capable of 5G connectivity for Chinese consumers beginning 2022, providing the groundwork to expand the company’s in-vehicle and connected technologies. (CNBC) Vinay's key takeaways:  General Motors (GM) has announced plans to make 5G available in most Chevrolet and Buick vehicles beginning 2022. However, the launch is limited to China for now, most likely due to the growing popularity of GM models in the country. GM has more than 5.5 million connected vehicles in China, compared to 16 million in the US. GM’s current connected vehicles utilize the 4G LTE technology, but with the upgrade to 5G the automaker will provide faster connectivity for over-the-air updates, as well as faster and improved communications with other connected vehicles and infrastructure.  5G capability will also support the rollout of autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assist systems.
    • Germany Starts Europe's Largest Hybrid Fuel Cell B...
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • German transport company Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK) has introduced a fleet of 35 hybrid fuel cell buses for public transport and also opened two hydro... View More
      German transport company Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK) has introduced a fleet of 35 hybrid fuel cell buses for public transport and also opened two hydrogen refuelling stations at Meckenheim. (Hydrogen Europe) Soumen's key takeaways:  Automotive industry is looking for an alternative fuel and hydrogen can emerge as an excellent carrier for transportable and storable energy. Hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) buses are still in a nascent stage of development. We need collaboration between automakers and local governments to create proper infrastructure for HFC adoption. There are very few players like Hyundai and Nikola that are betting big on development of fuel cell vehicles. More entrance of major automakers in this field will make it a competitor to battery electric vehicles in the coming years.
    • China EV-Maker Nio Launches Battery Leasing Servic...
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • Chinese electric vehicle (EV)-maker Nio has launched a battery-leasing service that will allow consumers to buy an EV without owning the battery pack, one of th... View More
      Chinese electric vehicle (EV)-maker Nio has launched a battery-leasing service that will allow consumers to buy an EV without owning the battery pack, one of the most expensive EV components, thereby lowering the starting price of its cars. The service, dubbed as “battery as a service”, entails drivers paying a monthly rental fee for using the batteries.   (Reuters) Vinay's key takeaways:  Nio's "Battery as a service", or BaaS, is based on its innovative battery-swapping technologies and its current national network of Power Swap stations and services.  Nio has already obtained more than 1,200 patents related to battery swapping and completed more than 800,000 swaps for users. The company currently operates 143 battery-swapping stations around China and has also announced plans to build 300 new stations next year. BaaS provides a systematic solution to the long-existing challenges for EV adoption i.e. higher initial price of the vehicle, battery degradation, battery upgradability and lower resale value. Expect to see Nio volumes and EV share to grow rapidly in China over the months ahead.
    • Affirmed Predicts Microsoft Will Offer Mobile Core...
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • Affirmed Networks is still basically acting as a stand-alone company even though it was purchased by Microsoft in April. Affirmed announced today that it’... View More
      Affirmed Networks is still basically acting as a stand-alone company even though it was purchased by Microsoft in April. Affirmed announced today that it’s working with the Swedish company Netmore to set up a private 5G wireless network in the U.K…It will be interesting to watch Affirmed as it gets more integrated with Microsoft. The cloud giant hasn’t been heavily involved with the wireless industry to date.  Mewada said, “Private LTE is obviously an important part. That becomes a low-hanging fruit.” But he said Affirmed’s virtual evolved packet core will allow any mobile operator to move its core network functions and compute workloads to Microsoft Azure's public cloud. He referred to this as “mobile core as-a-service" ported onto the Azure cloud platform. (Fierce Wireless, Aug 18) Gareth Owen's key takeaways: Microsoft has big ambitions in the telco space and has been quite active on the acquisition front recently buying Affirmed Networks, a vEPC provider in April and UK-based Metaswitch, an NFV pioneer in May. Affirmed’s vEPC will allow any MNO to move its core network functions and compute workloads to Microsoft Azure public cloud. This is essentially a “mobile core as-a-service” ported onto the Azure cloud platform.  Although private networks are the low-hanging fruit, there is basically no limitation on the size of the core as scale is not an issue in the cloud. Microsoft could thus even host mobile cores for Tier-1 MNOs. The Internet giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft see the telco cloud as a major opportunity. Clearly, they will be competing against mainstream mobile vendors such as Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia but also they will be partnering with them. While most Tier-1 MNOs have already developed partnerships with the big cloud providers to host their IT infrastructure, we doubt whether these MNOs will be happy to entrust the most sensitive part of their networks to public clouds. In fact, it is imperative that MNOs leverage multiple cloud environments, including private and hybrid clouds, rather than being reliant on a single public cloud provider.  
    • Xiaomi Phones Debut on AT&T Mexico Catalogue
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • Chinese brand Xiaomi has further expanded its presence in Mexico by reaching a deal to add its smartphones to AT&T’s catalogue in the country, reports... View More
      Chinese brand Xiaomi has further expanded its presence in Mexico by reaching a deal to add its smartphones to AT&T’s catalogue in the country, reports website Xataka Mexico. Around 3 years after officially launching sales in Mexico, Xiaomi is now offering its popular Redmi Note 9S handset with 128GB of storage via AT&T’s online store…Xiaomi has been selling its devices via America Movil’s Telcel catalogue since last year and has opened a dedicated Mexican online store as well as several Mi Stores throughout the country. (telecompaper, Aug 19) Neil Shah's key takeaways: This is a great win for Xiaomi, and booking space in AT&T’s catalogue should further catalyse the vendor’s ambitions to get onto AT&T’s US shelves next year. Mexico is becoming a key market (alongside Brazil where Xiaomi is unofficially selling) to help the vendor diversify and drive scale outside China and India. And with the upcoming wave of 5G in these markets, Xioami can cement its brand presence now and really capitalize next year.  
    • Cricket Wireless Launches 5G Nationwide Network an...
    • Aug 25, 2020
    • Cricket Wireless customers nationwide can now enjoy the 5G network…consumers can access 5G on the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G with Cricket's $60/mo. Unlim... View More
      Cricket Wireless customers nationwide can now enjoy the 5G network…consumers can access 5G on the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G with Cricket's $60/mo. Unlimited Plan…Cricket is also launching its largest Simply Data Rate Plan ever— 100GB of data for $90/mo. (PR Newswire, Aug 21) Maurice Klaehne's key takeaways: 5G in the US is slowly making it down to prepaid providers like Cricket, after having been lit up by all major US postpaid carriers. However, the first device Cricket is launching is the Galaxy S20 Plus 5G for $1199.99, hardly a device that will appeal to many of its subscribers which usually spend less than $300 on a device. 5G service is also limited to their $60 Unlimited plans at the moment, so while it's a good sign that 5G is slowly expanding, it's still very cost prohibitive for many. The cheapest 5G device in the market is currently the Samsung A51 5G and this retails at around $500.  We believe H2 2020 will see a sharp uptick in 5G capable mid-tier devices as OEMs will want to begin capturing this market. The devices will mostly be sub-6 5G devices. mmWave 5G is too cost prohibitive (devices currently cost $50-$100 more for mmWave) and mostly limited to the Verizon network at the moment.

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