Technology Bulletin

    • Garmin® Acquires Firstbeat Analytics, a Leading Pr...
    • Jul 7, 2020
    • Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), today announced it has acquired Firstbeat Analytics Oy, a privately-held provider of physiological analytics and metrics for consumer... View More
      Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), today announced it has acquired Firstbeat Analytics Oy, a privately-held provider of physiological analytics and metrics for consumer devices in the health, wellness, fitness and performance markets. Firstbeat Analytics is the consumer licensing business formerly a part of Firstbeat Technologies. Firstbeat Technologies will continue operating its Wellness and Professional Sports businesses. (Garmin Press Release, June 30)  Jeff Fieldhack's key takeaways: Garmin acquired Firstbeat Analytics after licensing the technology for years on almost all of their fitness tracking devices.  Firstbeat Analytics is used by virtually all sports/fitness wearables outside of Polar, which does its own in-house analytics.  It is not yet clear how this evolves medium and long-term, but it appears Garmin will continue to license its technology to Suunto, Casio, Huawei, Xiaomi and others.  This is a positive for Garmin which can now get advance look at analytics software to integrate into its devices.
    • The Snapdragon 875 Will Reportedly Support 100W Fa...
    • Jul 7, 2020
    • A key selling point of the Snapdragon 875 will be its support for 100W fast charging, says leakster Digital Chat Station. This will be marketed as a perk for ga... View More
      A key selling point of the Snapdragon 875 will be its support for 100W fast charging, says leakster Digital Chat Station. This will be marketed as a perk for gaming phones with large batteries as it will reduce the downtime between gaming sessions. Qualcomm is expected to introduce the 875 in December and to have it ready for phones in Q1 next year. The chip is reportedly already being mass produced by TSMC on a 5nm node. It may use the new Cortex-X1 as its prime core, plus three Cortex-A77 for the big cores. (GSMArena, June 29)  Ritesh Bendre's key takeaways: Fast Charging is becoming a standard on current phones, right from mid-range to premium, and demand will only increase with 5G.   While different OEMs offer proprietary fast charging solutions, Qualcomm adding 100W support will be a good selling point for smartphones running on SD875.  It will be interesting to see how fast charging will be; Xiaomi demonstrated its Super Charge Turbo solution last year, which charged a 4,000mAh battery in 17 minutes.  Samsung also announced its 100W USB PD chip, and Vivo recently teased a 120W fast charging solution that fully charged a 4,000mAh battery in 13 minutes flat.
    • Qualcomm’s New Smartwatch Chips Promise a Boost fo...
    • Jul 7, 2020
    • Qualcomm just unveiled two new processors—the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ and Wear 4100—which will both power upcoming wearables running platforms like Go... View More
      Qualcomm just unveiled two new processors—the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ and Wear 4100—which will both power upcoming wearables running platforms like Google's Wear OS. Qualcomm claims the chips offer a sizeable bump over their predecessor, the Snapdragon Wear 3100, which debuted in 2018. That's mostly because the pair of new chips are fabricated on a 12-nanometer manufacturing process as opposed to the 3100's 28-nanometer process... Qualcomm claims that new smartwatches using the Wear 4100 chips can expect to see an 85 percent performance improvement over smartwatches using the Wear 3100, as well as 85 percent faster memory, 25 percent lower power usage, and a boost in graphics performance that's 2.5 times greater than the older chip. Such gains should result in faster app launches, a smoother user experience, better multitasking, and longer battery life. (WIRED, June 30)  Jeff Fieldhack's key takeaways: Fabricated on 12nm manufacturing process, the new brags for the processors are large gains in performance, battery life, and faster memory.  The performance gains should help the line of processors elevate the Wear OS platform, which has been relegated to a niche role best described as ‘fashion with some athletic tracking’.
    • Flipkart, Qualcomm Join Hands to Launch Three New ...
    • Jul 7, 2020
    • Chipset maker Qualcomm and Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart are joining hands to launch a range of wireless audio devices for the Indian market under HRX brand.... View More
      Chipset maker Qualcomm and Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart are joining hands to launch a range of wireless audio devices for the Indian market under HRX brand...The company has three new devices planned which includes two wireless neckbands and one truly wireless earbuds. The devices will be launched in a price range between ₹1,499 and ₹2,999... "The partnership with HRX marks our first foray into the audio devices segment, as part of our licensee deals and puts forward our commitment to collaborate with the best of brands and technology to bring the next 200 million consumers into the fold of e-commerce," Flipkart Vice President - Private Labels Dev Iyer said. (Livemint, Jul 5) Debashish Jana's key takeaways: Flipkart’s private label push highlights how hot TWS is. Globally, we saw triple digit growth in unit sales of hearables last year, and we expect to see around 70% CAGR through 2022.   Pricing for the earbuds looks expensive, but Flipkart has been very successful managing quality and price. This is something that will be toggled based on customer insights and reviews.  
    • Xiaomi to Reportedly Partner With Mediatek for Cus...
    • Jul 7, 2020
    • The relations between Xiaomi and MediaTek have grown over the years. In recent times, the Chinese tech giant has sourced more and more chips from MediaTek and, ... View More
      The relations between Xiaomi and MediaTek have grown over the years. In recent times, the Chinese tech giant has sourced more and more chips from MediaTek and, now, a new report suggests that both firms will collaborate to develop a new custom made smartphone chip for future smartphones....Unfortunately, this is still an unconfirmed report so take it with a pinch of salt. (Gizmochina, June 30)  Sujeong Lim's key takeaways: If true, this would obviously be about margins and being competitive in the sub-$300 segment – which Chinese vendors dominate. Two-thirds of Xiaomi’s smartphone unit sales in May came from the $100-$299 segment.  The trend to proprietary chips has also been in line with increased focus on the mid-range from key vendors – Samsung is the best example and we’re seeing the A51 shine right now.  In Xiaomi’s case, going proprietary could allow it to provide more value, helping to maintain its growth trajectory in an increasingly crowded segment.  Many OEMs would like to go this route, but development challenges can be prohibitive. What we may see are more partnerships for custom chips moving forward. 
    • Apple Partners With BMW for Keyless Entry
    • Jul 1, 2020
    • AT WWDC, Apple announced it has developed a digital key capability with BMW – starting with the newly built cars across most series from July 2020. BMW is... View More
      AT WWDC, Apple announced it has developed a digital key capability with BMW – starting with the newly built cars across most series from July 2020. BMW is the first auto player to support iOS-based keyless entry to a car. (BMW) Soumen's key takeaways:  Previously, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were fighting for navigation, maps, music, text messages and call space inside a car. Now, both are grappling for the keyless entry system. The Android-based keyless entry system is already available in some BMW and Tesla models.  The digital key will be compatible with iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, SE and Watch Series 5. The collaboration with more automotive players and availability on more iPhones and smartwatches will help Apple achieve scale with its digital key.
    • Potential EV Buyers in UK Waiting for a Scrappage ...
    • Jul 1, 2020
    • In the nationwide survey conducted by EV charger installer Smart Home Charge, 50.4% of the respondents said they would either ‘definitely’ buy or be... View More
      In the nationwide survey conducted by EV charger installer Smart Home Charge, 50.4% of the respondents said they would either ‘definitely’ buy or be more likely to buy if scrappage schemes are introduced. Most people (99.3%) said they noticed less congestion and 88.3% said they noticed less noise pollution during lockdowns.   (Inside EVs) Aman's key takeaways:  While people recognize and appreciate the clean environment during lockdowns, the economic downturn is limiting the appetite to invest in high ticket items like EVs.  Scrappage schemes could return in many countries as governments try to balance economic growth with emission reduction targets. While scrappage schemes will give a boost to the EV market, the speculation regarding the same can push back potential EV purchases in the short term. The UK car industry is also pushing the government to introduce scrappage schemes after sales dried up in April and May.
    • Tesla Sales Collapse in Norway Continues, Audi e-t...
    • Jul 1, 2020
    • The top three EV models for May 2020 in Norway are Audi e-tron (579), Volkswagen e-Golf (although we don't know exactly how many out of total 621 Golfs sold... View More
      The top three EV models for May 2020 in Norway are Audi e-tron (579), Volkswagen e-Golf (although we don't know exactly how many out of total 621 Golfs sold in total) and Nissan LEAF (408). This time, the Tesla Model 3 was far down the list with 8 new registrations (31 total for Tesla). (Inside EVs) Vinay's key takeaways:  Norway is an important country for Tesla, with the highest per capita ownership of fully battery-operated electric vehicles (BEVs) in the world, accounting for nearly 60 percent of total sales in the country. Tesla is no longer a notable part of Norway’s EV revolution in 2020, with the brand losing its market share to competition and new models having been introduced. The adoption and deployment of EVs in Norway, particularly zero-emission, has been driven by policy since 1990 by the Norwegian government. This initially helped Tesla become a dominating company in the country’s auto market. In 2020, Tesla is seeing historic declines in sales for Model X and Model S, with Model 3 locked in a downtrend. Low supplies on account of the COVID-19 pandemic has further added to the decline in the last few months. Another 12 models are scheduled to be launched in the country over the next few months eg:  VW ID.3 and VW ID.4, the Polestar 2, the Ford Mustang Mach-e. The Tesla Model Y is expected only after another 12 months.
    • Amazon Taking-On Waymo, Uber and Tesla by Investin...
    • Jul 1, 2020
    • Amazon is paying $1Bn to acquire California-based self-driving start-up, Zoox.  (Wired) Soumen's key takeaways:  Amazon is less l... View More
      Amazon is paying $1Bn to acquire California-based self-driving start-up, Zoox.  (Wired) Soumen's key takeaways:  Amazon is less likely to be planning on entering the ride hailing market than using Zoox as a logical addition to its armoury of logistics options for last mile delivery. Zoox comes shortly after Amazon invested in another self-driving player, Aurora Innovation, in 2019. Back-to-back investments by Amazon underscores its interest in competing with leading autonomous vehicle (AV) players like Waymo, Tesla, GM Cruise and Baidu.  Even during the Covid-19 outbreak in China, we saw White Rhino, Neolix, Meituan, Keenone Robotics and UDI were delivering groceries, medical supplies and foods by AVs. JD.com, the largest retailer in China also started delivery by AV fleets. Amazon is aiming to convert some of its fleet to AVs to save operational cost.
    • Volkswagen Looking at Acquisition of Europcar
    • Jul 1, 2020
    • Volkswagen AG is in talks to acquire French car rental firm Europcar Mobility Group SA , in a deal that would allow the German carmaker to better capitalize on ... View More
      Volkswagen AG is in talks to acquire French car rental firm Europcar Mobility Group SA , in a deal that would allow the German carmaker to better capitalize on its fleet (Reuters) Vinay's key takeaways:  Europcar is struggling with travel restrictions tied to the coronavirus pandemic having negatively impacted the car-rental industry. Hertz Global Holdings Inc. has already filed for bankruptcy in May. A new deal for Europcar would allow Volkswagen to buy it back at a significant discount; Volkswagen had earlier sold Europcar in 2006. The talks are preliminary and a deal is uncertain given the precarious financial situation of Europcar. While Europcar has drawn interest from other suitors, finding a buyer in the prevailing travel slump will be challenging. The proposed acquisition is consistent with VW’s strategy of considering opportunities to expand its mobility services offerings, including rental and leasing programs for new and used electric cars.

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