Samsung brushes off rise of Chinese chip-makers


  • In an interview with Korean newspaper The Investor, a Samsung executive claimed the company has no fears when it comes to the rise Chinese chip-makers.
  • In the same interview, he apologized to investors for the fact that Samsung’s smartphone market share in China is down to a single-digit number.
  • China’s growth in both smartphone and chip manufacturing has been staggering, something that Samsung simply can’t ignore.

Korean company Samsung is the world’s largest chip-maker as far as profits are concerned, followed closely by American company Intel. But the Chinese semiconductor market is booming, with the Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon earning an estimated 26 billion Chinese yuan (~$3.87 billion) in 2017.

But does this worry Samsung? Not at all, according to the chief of the tech giant’s device solutions division, Kim Ki-nam.

“Chinese firms are heavily investing in almost all types of semiconductors, including memory chips,” Mr. Ki-nam said, “but technological barriers in the segment are relatively higher than in other industries.”

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He then brushed off the Chinese competition by saying, “It takes more than large, short-term investments to overcome such difficulties. Samsung will give it all it’s got to continue its lead in the sector.”

Mr. Ki-nam was speaking at a Q&A session with The Investor, a subsidiary of The Korean Herald. The newspaper also grilled Samsung on the company’s smartphone market share dropping to single-digits in China. Mr. Ki-nam was a little less boisterous when discussing that statistic:

“I deeply apologize to shareholders for the falling market share in China. When the figure hit single digits, we replaced the local chiefs and streamlined the sales organizations there from three to two to quicken decision-making. We will need some time to see how these measures work out. Furthermore, China is a much more complicated market than Korea, and Samsung is trying different approaches. The latest flagships Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9 have helped us improve our market share in recent months.”

This is an interesting claim, as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus hit stores only a few days ago.

Samsung certainly is in position to downplay the threat China poses to it on numerous fronts.

Whether Samsung wants to admit it or not, China is a global powerhouse in the smartphone market. Three of the top five smartphone manufacturers are Chinese, and Huawei, in particular, has grown its smartphone market share every single quarter since 2015. If it continues on that path, it could potentially overtake Samsung’s crown as the world’s largest smartphone maker, as it overcame Apple late last year. Xiaomi has already taken over Samsung’s lead in India.

Even though HiSilicon has a long way to go to catch up to Samsung when it comes to semiconductor chip production, its proven that it has the chops to do so. Let’s see what Samsung has to say this time next year about China’s rise in the chip-making industry.

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Huawei Mate 10 sequel will reportedly have Qualcomm’s ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor

Qualcomm first demoed its ultrasonic fingerprint sensing technology in July in collaboration with Vivo. Since then, we haven’t heard anything about the company’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensing tech. The Vivo X20 Plus UD is the world’s first phone to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, but it uses Synaptics’ optical fingerprint sensor instead. Now, a report by Digitimes states that Android smartphone vendors are rushing to incorporate in-display fingerprint sensors in their 18:9 phones. This is because the vendors have “turned conservative” about adopting 3D sensor-based face recognition modules that are said to be too costly to afford.

The report states that the successor of the Huawei Mate 10, tentatively termed as the Huawei Mate 11, will feature Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint solutions. The phone is said to be rolled out in the second half of 2018. The ultrasonic fingerprint sensing feature is expected to act as a new sales driver for after shipments of the Huawei Mate 11 begin to ramp up in late Q3 or early Q4 2018.

According to the report, Qualcomm has teamed up with Taiwan-based GIS and China’s O-firm Tech (both companies specializing in offering touchscreen solutions) to turn out its ultrasonic fingerprint sensors. The sensors are expected to be adopted by more Android smartphone vendors in China and other Asian brands in 2019.

Digitimes adds that Qualcomm’s sensors are three times more expensive in unit cost than traditional counterparts. However, its module is only about 0.44mm thick, and it can work through up to 800-micron cover glass, compared to only 200-300 microns in glass thickness for traditional capacitive sensors. Interestingly, Qualcomm’s sensors are also said to be able to work when wet or greasy, unlike the traditional sensors seen in phones today. If this plays out in practice, this can eliminate one of the major shortcomings of current fingerprint sensors.

Why are Android smartphone vendors not adopting 3D-based facial scanning sensors? According to the report, this is because the unit cost for 3D sensors used in the iPhone X is $60. The technology involves substantial developments in software, hardware, and system integration that pushes up smartphone costs.

The high cost of the iPhone X and worries about possible patent infringement by their in-house 3D sensors has resulted in the decreased willingness of Chinese smartphone vendors to adopt 3D face recognition modules into devices dedicated for international markets. Instead, the vendors would apparently rather adopt 3D sensors in smartphones intended for domestic markets to test market responses and reduce possible risks. For international devices, the vendors would prefer to use ultrasonic fingerprint sensors.

It’s important to note that this report is based on unnamed sources and it may be incorrect. We have seen many conflicting reports about in-display fingerprint sensors in the past, so we are going to wait and see how things play out.

Source: Digitimes

Huawei could release the first device with 512GB of storage

While Huawei continues to see struggles with devices here in the US, that hasn’t stopped the company from attempting to innovate. According to a listing on TENAA (via PhoneRadar), a new Huawei device has passed certifications with a whopping 512GB of storage.

It’s already rare-enough to see a device released with 256GB of storage, but this would be a first for a smartphone. The device, with a model number of NEO-AL00, passed through TENAA with a combination of 6GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.


Unfortunately, the listing did not share any more details about the upcoming device. This leaves us with little to really go off of as to when it will be released or what other features it may have.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what Huawei has up its sleeves in the next few months. First, the company will be making a pit stop in Paris to unveil the new Huawei P20 lineup. The big-hitting feature here is a triple camera setup, with a primary 40MP sensor.

Let us know what you think about this move and if you would like to see more devices launched with more than just 64GB of base storage. On the bright side, at least we can put the days of 16GB devices in our rear-view mirror.

Best Buy will stop selling Huawei products over the next few weeks

The hits just keep on coming for Huawei. 2018 was supposed to be one of the biggest years for the company as it planned to make a concerted effort to enter the US market.

However, everything went down the drains at CES 2018 when it was reported that both AT&T and Verizon would be pulling out of the deals. Then Huawei’s CEO went on an unscripted rant stating how big of a loss these lost deals are for both Huawei and consumers.

Well, it seems that the company just can’t catch a break as a report from CNET states that Best Buy will be removing Huawei devices from store shelves. Over the next few weeks, Best Buy will stop selling Huawei products in a rather surprising move.

Best Buy is the only brick-and-mortar retailer here in the states which offer Huawei devices. Removing these devices from availability will do a lot of damage to Huawei. Instead, the company will be left offering devices through online storefronts such as Amazon.

The Mate 10 Pro was expected to be one of the leading flagship devices in 2018. However, with Huawei’s reach growing smaller and smaller, we may end up with the only option of being able to import through the likes of GearBest.

It will be interesting to see if Best Buy was subjected to pressure from the US government, as that was the case with both AT&T and Verizon. However, at this time, Best Buy is said to be making the move to end the partnership all on its own.

Let us know what you think about this latest bit of drama and what you think will happen to Huawei in the coming months.

Huawei reportedly considering a blockchain-ready smartphone – but why?

Huawei may be considering developing a smartphone that can run blockchain-based apps, according to a report from Bloomberg. Citing two people familiar with the plans, Bloomberg said that Huawei may make use of Sirin Labs’ “Sirin OS” operating system—based on Android—to deliver the functionality.

The report was published yesterday and both Huawei and Sirin Labs confirmed that the companies have been in contact, though no plans have been finalized.

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A blockchain is a shared database is based on a network of connected devices, rather than relying on a single trusted party to maintain it. Because the data housed there is “public,” and not stored in one space, it offers unparalleled security (it was originally built to support bitcoin).

Sirin Labs has a smartphone that will run its Sirin OS, the Finney Smartphone, set for launch later this year. The OS makes use of the blockchain tech to offer a “built-in cold-storage crypto wallet,” “secure exchange access,” “encrypted communications,” and “peer-to-peer resource sharing.” But what would Huawei want with it?

Huawei had high hopes for the Mate 10 Pro in the U.S. market.

Anybody following the Chinese manufacturer in the news recently may already have an inkling. It has been suggested that the company poses a national security threat in the US—something which has put a roadblock on Huawei’s attempts to enter that market.

Access to ultra-secure blockchain apps and services may offer Huawei further credibility as it makes efforts to prove its commitment to security.

Huawei refutes the claims, and a spokesperson for the company said last month that it “poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT [information and communications technology] vendor.”

However, access to ultra-secure blockchain apps and services may offer Huawei further credibility as it makes efforts to prove its commitment to security, while giving device owners extra peace of mind when using its handsets. Of course, getting into the cryptocurrency market, worth an estimated $350 billion right now, probably appeals to Huawei as well even though the Chinese government has placed a number of restrictions on cryptocurrencies.

Bloomberg reports that the two companies have been discussions for a couple of months now. Given that Huawei was dealt its most recent major blow in the US only at the start of January, it appears the company has acted swiftly to try and get back on its feet; Huawei is still showing the signs of a manufacturer that wants the number one smartphone vendor crown within the next three years.

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