It’s the Fall and new smartphones are falling off the trees. We'll look at some recent announcements.
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As a conference, Jim McGregor found Huawei’s Connect impressive in both size and scope. The event itself occupied most of the Shanghai Convention facilities and covered everything from IoT to the cloud. From our perspective, there were two key areas Huawei highlighted in the conference—the cloud and 5G.
Huawei seeks to be the equipment provider to an open cloud environment and even indicated that it would be satisfied with only 1% of the total revenue if it can be the cloud enabler. And based on the impressive list of international partners that participated, Huawei is well on its way to accomplishing that modest goal.
The other area of focus was 5G. Huawei is making a huge investment in the 5G ecosystem ranging from smartphones to infrastructure (the company’s traditional market segment). Huawei is now the third largest smartphone vendor in the world and growing at double digits rates and will have a significant impact on the 5G roll out.
The event’s expo was like a small version of CES, featuring just about every imaginable application. IoT was featured in a wide variety of applications and a wall of partners that was so long, Jim could not it fit into a picture. Other areas of the expo floor demonstrated future equipment and applications, such as autonomous vehicles, unannounced servers and chipsets, and even a head-mounted device to assist blind people. The breadth of products also demonstrated the prowess of Huawei as a global technology leader.
Huawei has rapidly transformed from a telecom equipment company to a broad technology company that can develop everything from chips to advanced networking equipment. Huawei has always been an innovative company, but it is now a global leader in technology and one that can rival almost any other technology company.
Globalfoundries Technology Conference
Globalfoundries (GF) is one of only three leading-edge semiconductor foundry service providers, and with new management, new facilities, and the acquisition of IBM’s semiconductor group, it’s stronger than it has ever been. The IBM integration provided a valuable boost in expertise, ASIC design services, RF, and fab capacity. However, the true value of the IBM group will be with the transition to 5G, as Jim and Kevin saw at the conference.
The road to 5G requires many new discrete and integrated radios for everything from machine-to-machine (M2M) to connected consumer devices. IBM’s (now GF) expertise and expanded manufacturing capability in RF will be a valuable asset for a wide variety of semiconductor companies. Most of the RF chips currently are manufactured in the Vermont fab, but there are plans to bring up new RF production in Singapore and eventually China. RF could be the critical differentiator for GF in a very competitive foundry segment.
The fall is always flush with new handset announcements. Due to Apple’s annual iPhone announcement, most of the Android vendors have turned to private events or IFA in Berlin to announce new handsets ahead of Apple. This year was no exception, with new handsets from most of the leading Android community including LG, Motorola (Lenovo), Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, and others. There are a few others however, that will be announced during October. And of course, there is the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X, now the most expensive mainstream smartphone.
A very unusual announcement was Google’s acquisition of HTC’s phone group responsible for the upcoming Pixel 2 phone. HTC has been working with Google on the Pixel phones but continued to struggle in the market with its own branded product line. The acquisition, however, is a bit ironic because Google had owned the Motorola handset group and did very little with it before selling it to Lenovo. The question is will Google be more successful with the Taiwan-based smartphone group? Perhaps the smaller, focused design group will be more successful building phones exclusively to Google’s specifications.
Apple Watch 3
Apple’s iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X were also accompanied by Apple’s first smartwatch with built-in LTE: the Apple Watch 3. The latest teardowns of the Apple Watch also show that Apple used Qualcomm’s LTE modem in the watch. Considering the ongoing legal disputes between the companies, this was a tacit acknowledgement that Apple could not find a better solution than Qualcomm’s modem technology when space and power are at a premium. While the Apple Watch 3 is not the first LTE smartwatch, Apple did manage to fit the modem into a package no thicker than the original Apple Watch. Most other LTE smartwatches have been exceedingly thick and heavy. The Apple Watch 3 uses the same phone number as the paired iPhone, so it does not require a separate number. The goal is not to replace the iPhone, but allow the user to still make short calls and access cloud services (like Apple Music) while on the run without the phone.
A changing of the guard
Dr. Morris Chang retires from TSMC
Dr. Morris Chang, the founder of TSMC, announced he will retire in June 2018. What this means for the world’s largest semiconductor foundry service provider has yet to be determined. Dr. Chang is attributed with creating the foundry service model and building the foundation for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry. Dr. Chang is widely admired for his contribution to the success of TSMC.
Intel’s former CEO Paul Ottelini passes away at 66
Paul was unique to the CEO position at Intel because he was a "business guy", not an engineer like past CEOs. Paul is credited with focusing Intel on its core competencies at a time when Intel had fallen behind AMD. This lead Intel into the dominant position it now enjoys in PCs and servers. He was also the CEO who convinced Apple to switch to Intel processors and move off PowerPC processors. However, the focus on x86 PCs and servers did come at a price to mobile, communications, and other segments that Intel once sought to enter. Paul also drove a new level of efficiency at Intel. We were surprised and saddened by the announcement. He was a good leader and a nice guy.
TIRIAS Research adds new analysts and services
TIRIAS Research is proud to announce dedicated coverage for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) and Machine Learning (ML) with the addition of leading industry experts to the TIRIAS Research team. Each expert comes to TIRIAS Research with extensive high-tech industry experience raising the cumulative experience of the TIRIAS Research staff to almost 200 years. With the introduction of these new research services, TIRIAS Research will be able to provide a full calendar of published reports and custom research in the near future.
AR and VR are major technology initiatives and will influence the future of advanced data networks, machine learning breakthroughs, and semiconductor innovation. Next week we will announce the first publications from our AR/VR Service lead by Simon Solotko. The publications in the service will include insights into these long-term intersections and will introduce a tiered framework designed to improve to ability to understand and forecast the performance and capabilities of AR and VR systems. Simon will be attending Oculus Connect in San Jose, now in its fourth year, and will be in the Bay Area all week. Please contact Simon for more information on the service.
The new team members include:
Scott McCutcheon, Research Analyst & Managing Editor
With over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, Scott has analyzed data to uncover information to deliver insight for some of the world’s biggest IT brands. Scott has worked for market research firms Moor Insights & Strategy, Ipsos, and Kantar Millward Brown. Scott also chaired the Statistics Committee of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) while working at AMD.
Simon Solotko, AR/VR Analyst
Simon is an accomplished VR and AR pioneer who serves as a mentor at the German Accelerator. Simon brings a unique combination of technical and marketing expertise which he employs to help clients understand and navigate fast technology markets. Simon has two decades of experience spanning HPC, semiconductors, and recent work with dozens of AR and VR companies.
David Teich, Machine Learning Analyst
With more than 35 years of high-tech industry experience focused on B2B software, David’s experience spans development, systems consulting, sales, and marketing on platforms spanning mainframes, mid-sized systems (UNIX, Linux, and other), Apple and Wintel PCs, and mobile devices.
TIRIAS Research can be found in public!
You’ll also spot TIRIAS Research’s Principal Analysts attending these events over the next month:
· ARM Techcon
· Oculus Connect
· Supercomputer (SC) 17
· Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit
Say Hi when you see us!
TIRIAS Research White Papers
All our white papers can be found here.
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Kevin Krewell, Jim McGregor, Paul Teich
TIRIAS Research is a high-tech research and advisory firm, an independent third-party resource to high-tech companies. We provide custom research and advisory services on technologies, markets and ecosystems to a select group of technology industry leaders. Our Principal Analysts have decades of in-depth expertise in silicon, software, and systems specification, design and deployment.