Home » Cloud client SW platforms » The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war

The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war

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Core information:

Follow-up: Boosting the MediaTek MT6575 success story with the MT6577 announcement [June 27, 2012]
– China TD-SCDMA and W-CDMA 3G subscribers by the end of 2011: China Mobile lost its original growth momentum [Jan 21, 2011]

UpdatesChina market: Local vendors to roll out CNY300 smartphones [DIGITIMES, July 13, 2012]

China-based handset makers are ready to begin volume shipments of smartphones priced at CNY300 (US$50) in the second half of 2012 compared to the previous focus on CNY600 models in the first half of the year, according to industry sources.

Competition among chipset solution vendors, promotions by telecom carriers, and the rise of new brands in China have contributed to the rapid decline in prices of smartphones in China, the sources revealed.

The top-3 telecom carriers had previously focused purchases on smartphones with a price tag of CNY1,000, but some local handset makers are now willing to offer quotes at around CNY500 in order to win orders, said the sources, adding that the pricing will serve as an indication for channel operators to follow.

While quotes for 2G smartphones in China have already dropped to below US$50, prices for 3G models currently range from US$60-80 and are expected to reach US$50 soon, the sources asserted.

Sub-CNY1,000 smartphones accounted for 21% of all smartphones sold in China in the first quarter of 2012, compared to a ratio of 12% a year earlier, according to IDC.

– China market: Nearly 195 million handsets shipped in 1H12 [DIGITIMES, July 10, 2012]

There were 194.913 million handsets shipped in the China market during the first half of 2012, consisting of 106.874 million (54.83%) 3G handsets in 801 models and 88.039 million (45.17%) 2G handsets in 1,298 models, according to statistics published by the China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Of the shipment volume, 94.855 million or 48.67% were smartphones in 822 models of which 801 models or 97.44% were based on Android. China-based vendors accounted for 75.16% of the half-year shipment volume, and international vendors 24.84%.

The monthly shipment volume of smartphones exceeded that of feature phones for the first time in April 2012, with the corresponding proportion increasing to 56.9% in June.

China market: Breakdown of total handset shipment volume, 1H12
Generation

Technology standard

Number of models

Shipment volume (m handsets)

3G

WCDMA (China Unicom)

476

53.099

CDMA2000 (China Telecom)

174

28.197

TD-SCDMA (China Mobile)

151

25.578

2G

GSM

1,272

81.915

CDMA1x

26

6.076

Source: CATR under MIIT, compiled by Digitimes,  July 2012

– Second- and third-tier handset makers in China may not adopt Windows Phone 8 platform [DIGITIMES, July 5, 2012]

Microsoft has been eager to promote Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Windows RT. Despite having partners such as Nokia, Samsung, and HTC for Windows Phone 8, severe price competition in China will likely prevent second- and third-tier handset makers from switching from Google’s Android.

China-based handset makers have been aiming at customers switching from feature phones to smartphones for the first time and hence have little desire to adopt new platforms.

Industry sources indicated that competition in China’s smartphone market has been cutthroat. First-tier brands such as ZTE, Huawei, Coolpad and Lenovo have been introducing models at the price range of CNY1,000 (US$157). To increase market exposure, second-tier brands such as Haier and Konka have been introducing models below CNY500 in efforts to obtain cooperation with telecommunications service providers. The price difference is significant, said industry sources.

Microsoft hopes to increase market share in China’s smartphone market. However, Windows Phone 8 is unlikely to compete with Android in features such as localized applications and marketing resources, added industry sources.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has been adding new alliances such as Huawei and ZTE. Industry sources believe the two firms hope to generate more profits by providing products with different platforms.

– China smartphone market 2012: Trends and analysis [DIGITIMES Research, July 3, 2012]

Abstract

The China handset market has exhibited strong growth, with the total number of mobile users in the country reaching 980 million people according to figures from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), an increase of 130 million over the 2010 figure. Digitimes Research estimates that mobile user numbers could top 1.13 billion in 2012.

Digitimes Research estimates that the China handset market reached some 390 million units in 2011, representing 16% growth on 2010; the market is likely to grow to 430 million units in 2012, representing further growth of 9%. Thanks to the expansion of 3G service coverage and further falls in budget smartphone prices, the share of the handset market accounted for by smartphones is likely to reach 32% or around 143 million units, 70% of which will be Android handsets.

Digitimes Research believes that market share rankings for the China smartphone market will change significantly during 2012Samsung and Apple will take the top two places, while the big four China-based brands – HuaweiZTELenovo and Coolpad – will take third to sixth places, while Nokia will drop to seventh; these seven firms will collectively account for 85% of shipments.

In other words, the many other brands hoping to seize a share of the market will essentially be confined to competing for a potential market of just 15% of overall shipments or around 21 million handsets. Given such a situation, Digitimes Research projects that many of China’s best known smaller brands such as XiaomiTCLGioneeTianyuOppo and BBK will see shipments of no more than a few million handsets.

– China-based white-box vendors expected to ship 200 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]

China-based white-box vendors, mainly due to the availability of inexpensive new chip solutions, have been increasing the production of smartphones, with the total shipment volume expected to reach 200 million units in 2012, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

Taiwan-based MediaTek is offering the makers its MT6575 a chip solution for use in entry-level smartphones in the first quarter of 2012 and will offer the MT6577, a solution for high-level smartphones, in the middle of the third quarter of 2012, the sources indicated. MediaTek will ship 50-70 million chips to China-based white-box vendors to account for nearly 30% of smartphones to be shipped by these vendors in 2012.

In addition, Qualcomm has strengthened its marketing in the China market by offering turn-key solutions to white-box vendors, with prices for a chips lowered to US$6, the sources cited eMedia Asia as indicating.

China-based white-box vendors sell more than 60% of their smartphone output to overseas markets, including 2.5G models for markets where deployment of 3G networks is not mature yet, the sources indicated. White-box vendors are expected to see larger market demand if their production costs for entry-, medium- and high-level smartphones drop to US$60, US$85 and US$130 respectively, the sources pointed out.

– China market: Handset makers upgrading hardware specifications of sub-CNY1,000 smartphone models [Feb 17, 2012]

 China-based handset makers, including ZTE, Huawei Device, Lenovo and Coolpad, have continued to upgrade the hardware specifications of their sub-CNY1,000 (US$159) smartphone models due to intensifying competition in the segment, according to industry sources.

With the introduction of dual-core 1GHz CPUs for high-end models in 2011, the single-core 1GHz CPU is likely to become one of the standards for entry-level smartphones in China this year, the sources indicated.

Additionally, some vendors have also begun to adopt 4-inch displays for their sub-CNY1,000 models, instead of 3.5-inch displays used previously, the sources added.

Coolpad has recently launched a 4-inch model, the 7260, and saw sales of the model reach 30,000 units a month in the initial period, the sources revealed, adding that monthly shipments of the 7260 may top 100,000 units soon.

– China handset makers to push sales of sub-CNY1,000 smartphones to mature markets [Feb 16, 2012]

Having mass-produced smartphones with a price tag of around CNY1,000 (US$159) for the China market since 2011, China-based handset makers ZTE, Huawei Device, Lenovo and Coolpad plan to push the sale of sub-CNY1,000 smartphones to mature markets including North America and Taiwan, according to industry sources.

Sales of smartphones by Coolpad, Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei combined currently account for 30-40% of China’s smartphone market, with the ratio likely to surpass 50% by year-end 2012, the sources estimated.

In the Taiwan market, Coolpad has recently a WCDMA model with a suggested retail price of NT$5,990 (US$203). However, the company plans to launch more entry-level smartphones later and aims to take up a 3-5% share in the segment. Coolpad shipped about 270,000-280,000 CDMA models in Taiwan in 2011, the sources revealed.

– Chinese smartphone market sees explosive growth [Feb 16, 2012]

Judging from the structure of the smartphone market in 2011, Chinese smart terminals brands such as ZTE and Huawei seem to be on a trend of full-scale explosion. Having been suppressed by foreign brands for a long time, Chinese smartphones begin to take a solid footstep in the smartphone market by working closely with telecommunication operators and making full use of their “Chinese characteristics”, breaking the old pattern of market that has long been dominated by foreign brands. According to industrial participants, Chinese brands are rising in the 3G era.

According to media report, the Coolpad 7260, one of China Unicom’s 1000-Yuan smartphones, created a record sales of 110,000 units three days after it was put on the market, refreshing the shipment volume record of 1000-Yuan Chinese 3G smartphones, scoring a victory in its first battle. Also, this number gives the market more expectation for Unicom’s 8 new models of 4.0 series “WO 3G” 1000-Yuan smartphones that are co-launched by China Unicom and technology-intensive Chinese mobile phone manufacturers.

It is learned that these new 4.0 series 1000-Yuan phones boast three major features: big, fast, and HD. Big screens, previous 3.5-inch screens are replaced by 4-inch screens; fast processing speed, previous 600MHz CPUs are replaced by CPUs that are higher than 800MHz now; fast upload speed, supporting HSUPV; fast running speed, memory upgrades from 256M in the past to 512M now. High-definition picture taking, camera are required to increase from 2-3 million pixels to 3-5 million pixels.

According to person from China Unicom, the re-defined 1000-Yuan smart terminals introduced by China Unicom in May, 2011, and the numerous star terminals subsequently co-produced by China Unicom and Chinese mobile phones manufacturers have won excellent market response. Among these products, ZTE’s V880 scored daily sales of more than 10,000 units and monthly sales of more than 300,000 units. After months of promotion, the 1000-Yuan smartphones strategy remains effective, propelling the fast growth of China Unicom’s 3G subscribers.

In November, Unicom’s net growth of 3G subscribers was as high as 3.384 million with total 3G subscribers amounting to 36.534 million, making it the operator with the fastest 3G subscriber growth rate. This indicates that 1000-Yuan phones have accumulated significant subscriber base in the market and have established some brand effect. Presently, China Unicom makes use of the favorable conditions and defines the standards of 4.0 series 1000-Yuan smartphones, and offers high subsidy for the newly defined 4.0 series phones, with the purpose of making deployment in the middle-end market and grab a say of Chinese smart terminals in advance.

According to industrial participants, “users-friendly price and high-end experience” is the key to the success of China Unicom’s customized 1000-Yuan smartphones. Consumers’ favor for China Unicom’s customized terminals comes from its preferential subsidy policy, rather high-end configuration, and the user experience brought by the WCDMA network. Market research statistics show that the number of 3G subscribers worldwide in 2011 approached 1.3 billion, of which WCDMA subscribers accounted for 76 percent. In China, as per October 2011, WCDMA smartphones accounted for 69 percent of all 3G smartphones. Currently, China has become the largest smartphone market in the world, with nearly 70 percent of the phones being WCMDA. It is thus quite clear that WCDMA mobile phones are the mainstream in China and even all over the world.

Industrial participants point out that with the rapid development of smart terminals in the 3G era, the competition pattern of the mobile phone market will become even more complicated. In the meantime, the industry thinks positively of the marriage between domestic mobile phones and China Unicom’s WCDMA. Amidst the fierce competition of the terminal market globally, however, Chinese smartphones need to understand the market better, and puts more efforts in products R&D and brand image improvement, hoping to evolve from the “copycat” image to a national brand as soon as possible.

End of updates

The new high-volume smartphone market has been established by China Unicom with Lenovo and ZTE involvement from August 2011 on under the so called ‘RMB 1000’ [US$158]  inititiative of the carrier.

China Unicom and China Mobile Feb-09--Nov-11 3G SubscribersAs visible on the chart (see left) China Unicom was able to return to the previous 10% month/month growth rate of the 3G subscribers as the result of this approach. Unicom’s main rival the much bigger China Mobile was, however, unable to sustain that growth rate. One of the reasons is certainly the fact that China Unicom has so far been the only Chinese operator with official iPhone  offerings. By looking to the enlarged picture of the chart for the August-November period one can nevertheless see that the gap in month/month growth rates of the two companies has been steadily growing. This cannot be explained in other ways than by this 1st stage of the ‘RMB 1000’ initiative. Since in the end of December the initiative has been extended to the RMB 1500 [US$238] price cap with not less than 8 models joing the offerings under this umbrella, this will define an obvious smartphone war for 2012.

The first stage of this initiative has already radically redefined the 3G smartphone market for W-CDMA customers in China:
– the ‘RMB 1000’ [US$158] Android phone (Lenovo A60) has slightly better graphics performance than either the 4.26x more pricey iPhone 3G S or the 1.62x more pricey best classic Android phone (Sony Ericsson WT19i)
– the Dhrystone performance of that phone is quite enough  comparing to both (2/3d of the iPhone and 4/10th of the Sony Ericsson device)

Smartphone
and its availability
(+ recent price)
Lenovo A60
August, 2011
($145 in Dec’11)
Sony Ericsson WT19i
November, 2011 ($235)
Apple iPhone 3G S
June, 2009 ($618 8GB from Nov’11 on)
DMIPS 812.5 2100 1200
GLBenchmark 2.1 Egypt High
(+ Standard)      (Frames) http://www.glbenchmark.com/:
  • Top
2787 (3174) 2653 (4806) 2714 (3352)
  • Average
2765 (3159) 2653 (4806) 2646 (2913)
  • Median
2757 (3155) 2653 (4806) 2646 (3257)
Screen size 480 x 320 480 x 320 480 x 320
SoC w/ core inside
MediaTek MT6573 w/ 650MHz ARM11
Qualcomm MSM8255 w/ 1GHz Scorpion
Samsung S5PC100 w/
600MHz Cortex-A8
GPU inside the SoC
PowerVR SGX 531
Adreno 205
PowerVR SGX 535

Note: For realistic graphics performance the results of the ‘High’ version of the GLBenchmark 2.1 are used here since this is showing how the GPU is performing in high-quality rendering with “multi-sample anti-aliasing and at least 24 bits of color- and Z-buffer depths”. Also the results are shown here for the so called ‘Egypt’ benchmark as it “tests OpenGL ES 2.0 and represents the newest and most demanding benchmark” according to Anandtech. To understand what we are talking about here is also a video demonstration of the 2.1 Egypt benchmark by the globally recognized and accepted creator of it, Kishonti Informatics Ltd:

Since China Unicom launched the second stage of its ‘RMB 1000’ in the end of December, when not less than 8 models with a higher, 1500 [US$238] price cap have been joining the offerings, we can safely argue that what is happening now in China will apply to the global markets as well. We have already shown in an earlier post that China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011], so there is no question about that.

Please find below a collection of all related information. It is necessary to highlight here the fact that with the higher, 1500 [US$238] price cap we are already in the 1.0 GHz Cortex-A9 and A5 CPU performance territories which mean 2500 and 1570 DMIPS respectively. The screen is also larger, 4” as well as the resolution is 800×480.

Another thing that needs to be highlighted here is China Unicom’s very attractive contract plan, described below as:

Customers who select the RMB 96 [US$15] per month two-year contract plan can receive the handset for free with a RMB 1,599 prepaid deposit. Users who purchase a smartphone without a contract plan for RMB 1,299 can later select a two-year contract plan starting at RMB 46 [US$7.3] per month and receive free calling credit.

NOW THE DETAILED COLLECTION

China Unicom Releases Eight Low-cost 3G Smartphones [Marbridge Daily, Jan 4, 2012]

During a recent [Dec 26, 2011] event in Beijing, China Unicom (NYSE: CHU; 0762.HK; 600050.SH) unveiled eight new “RMB 1,000” smartphones with 4-inch displays and CPUs clocking up to 1 GHz, as well as announcing its 3G smartphone policy for 2012.

The eight phones, all priced under RMB 1,500 [US$238], including China Wireless Technologies (2369.HK) subsidiary Yulong’s Coolpad 7260, the Hisense (600060.SH) HS-U8, ZTE (0763.HK; 000063.SZ) V889D, Huawei U8818, Lenovo (0992.HK) A750, TCL Communication Technology (2618.HK) W989, Amoi N89, and Philips W635. The Coolpad 7260 and Hisense HS-U8 hit the market in late December 2011.

Unicom expects China’s RMB 1,000 smartphone market to reach 90 mln units sold in 2012, while 60 mln smartphones priced between RMB 1,000 and RMB 2,000 will be sold, including both well-known domestic and international brands. Unicom expects the iPhone to continue to be the carrier’s flagship strategic product in the high-end RMB 2,000 or more smartphone market, and Unicom will continue to strengthen its line-up of operator-customized Android smartphones as well as a range of Windows Phone handsets. Unicom will also push dual-mode, dual-standby, dual-SIM smartphones.

The WCDMA/GSM dual-SIM, dual-standby Coolpad 7260 features a 4-inch WVGA 16 mln color HD multitouch display, Android 2.3, and Coolpad’s secure cloud services. The Hisense HS-U8 WCDMA/GSM dual-SIM, dual-standby smartphone is 1.6 mm thick and features a 5 MP autofocus camera and 3 MP front-facing camera. Both are available with contract plans. Customers who select the RMB 96 [US$15] per month two-year contract plan can receive the handset for free with a RMB 1,599 prepaid deposit. Users who purchase a smartphone without a contract plan for RMB 1,299 can later select a two-year contract plan starting at RMB 46 [US$7.3] per month and receive free calling credit.

China Unicom’s 3G network already covers 341 cities and over 95% of county towns nationwide. HSPA+ peak downlink speeds reach up to 21 MB in 56 key cities. Nearly 20,000 Unicom service centers offer 3G services, as well as nearly 10,000 non-operator stores run by hundreds of major retail chains. Unicom 3G service is also available through mainstream e-commerce channels. According to a source within Unicom, non-operator channels contribute over 50% of China Unicom’s 3G growth.

According to an industry source, China has 900 mln handset users, 90% of whom have a handset priced under RMB 2,000.

Regarding the full contract plan the only available information is from the Chinese press release: China Unicom released eight new definition of thousands of intelligent machines new 4.0 series [translated by Google, Dec 26, 2011]

Attachment: Cool 7260, Hisense HS-U8 contract plans

(A) “Stored send phone calls” contract plan

(B) “purchase mobile phones to send calls” contract plan

China Unicom releases low-end smartphones to woo 3G users [Want China Times, Dec 28, 2011 ]

image
A China Unicom promotion offers free smartphones paired with 3G service packages.

China Unicom, one of China’s three major state-run telecom operators, has teamed up with several local cell phone vendors to launch its latest low-end smartphone in a bid to attract more 3G users.

Along with eight handset vendors — including Hisense, ZTE and Huawei — China Unicom on Monday unveiled its latest low-end smartphone, marketed as the “1,000-yuan (US$158) smartphone 4.0.” The new smartphone is equipped with a 1GHz processor and 4.0-inch screen, an improvement over the 3.5-inch screen of an earlier model.

The launch is widely seen as a move to attract more phone users to 3G smartphones. The number of [W-CDMA i.e. China Unicom’s] 3G users in China has increased to over 36 million, just three years after 3G licenses were made available in 2009.

“(The phone) is a win-win situation for chip makers, cell phone manufacturers and distribution vendors, and the boost in the 3G business is attributable to inexpensive cell phones,” said China Unicom general manager Lu Yimin.

“The launch of the inexpensive 4-inch-screen phone signals that the battleground has shifted from high-end phones to mid- to low-end phones,” said Fu Liang, an independent analyst.

Telecom operators agree that lowering the prices of 3G smartphones will be key in bringing the technology to 2G subscribers, who mainly use mobile phones to make calls, the analyst said. They realize that a price tag of 1,000 yuan will be instrumental in initiating that shift, the analyst said.

The boost to business is most obvious among handsets jointly launched by Chinese electronics makers Lenovo and ZTE. The two companies currently lead the market for phones that use the WCDMA network standard, with Lenovo selling 340,000 of its A60 phones and ZTE selling 240,000 of its V880 handsets per month, according to an analyst. In 2012, the analyst estimated, the number of phones priced under 1,000 yuan will climb to 90 million, while those priced between 1,000 and 2,000 yuan (US$316) will number around 60 million.

China Unicom has seen its 3G subscribers rapidly increase since it partnered with cell phone vendors such as Huawei and Lenovo to roll out inexpensive models in China. According to data from the three major telecom operators in China — China Unicom, China Telecom and China Mobile — 3G subscribers using China Unicom’s network increased to by 3.38 million in November, while China Mobile and China Telecom saw their 3G users rise to by 2.68 million and 2.16 million, respectively.

China Unicom today released an upgraded version of the new definition of thousands of intelligent machines 4.0 [Google translation, Dec 26, 2011]

… The first listing contains the models are Coolpad 7260 [酷派 Yulong], Hisense [海信] HS-U8, ZTE [中兴] V889D, Huawei [华为] U8818, Lenovo [联想] A750, TCL A996, Amoi [厦新] N89 and Philips* W635 …image_thumb3

* Sang Fei [桑菲通信]:

Sang Fei is one of China’s biggest mobile communication enterprises with a large export market and a fast-emerging domestic brand presence. A core subsidiary of China Electronics Corporation (CEC) [a highly specialized contract manufacturer in Taiwan] and SED Group [Shenzhen SED Industry Co., Ltd., a state-owned enterprise, which contains 20 solely-funded enterprises and Joint Ventures enterprises, is a publicly listed company on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange [from: the staff is over 5000, the yearly turnover is over 1000 million of U.S Dollar]] …

Sang Fei has evolved into a multi-million mobile communications player on the international stage since it was established in 1996 as a joint venture between electronics giant Royal Dutch Philips Electronics Ltd and SED. In 2007, its official buyout of Philip’s global mobile phone businessof Philips, backed by decades of knowledge transfer from the Dutch company, marked the beginning of a new chapter in Sang Fei’s history.

Although it has retained the world-famous Philips brand for its mobile phone products, Sang Fei has stamped its own mark on the business. With an accumulated output exceeding tens of millions, its mobile phones are well recognized by both the industry and customers from home and abroad …

Platform Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 [Google translation, Dec 26, 2011]

… Five models are using Qualcomm Snapdragon S1

  • Coolpad 7260
    [MSM7227T based with 800 MHz ARM11 processor, 4” display],
  • Hisense HS-U8
    [MSM7227A based with Cortex A5 processor],
  • ZTE V889D
    [MSM7227A based with 1.0 GHz Cortex A5 processor, 4” display],
  • Huawei U8818 [MSM7227A based with 1.0 GHz Cortex A5 processor, 4” display] and
  • Philips [Sang Fei] W635 [MSM7227A based with 1.0 GHz Cortex A5 processor, 4” display]. …

[i.e. Lenovo A750, TCL A996 and Amoi N89 are not:

  • Lenovo A750 has MediaTek MT6575 SoC with a 1.0 GHz Cortex-A9 core and HSPA+ support, and 4” display
  • Amoi N89 quite probably has MediaTek MT6575 SoC with a 1.0 GHz Cortex-A9 core … as well
  • TCL A996, meanwhile has the following specifications:
  • Network standard: GSM / WCDMA
  • Size: 123 × 65.5 × 12.9mm
  • Screen: 4.0 inch IPScapacitive screen resolution of WVGA (480 × 800)
  • Battery Capacity: 1500mAh
  • Standby time: 300 hours
  • Talk time: 4 hours
  • Operating System: Android 2.3
  • Processor: [Broadcom ARM11-based] BCM 21552
  • Memory: RAM 512MB/ROM 512MB, support Micro SD expansion (up to 32GB)

image_thumb9[1]]

TCL increases smartphone sales 24x to over 1 mln units [Dec 9, 2011]

Chinese handset maker TCL shipped 1.1 million smartphones as part of the 39.15 million units of mobile phones and other products it sold in January-November, 24 times more than the 42,384 smartphones it shipped in the year-earlier period, when total product shipments stood at 39.15 million units. Due to the increasing popularity of handsets that carry social networking functions, the group continued to launch more Facebook phones, strengthening its brand reputation and expanding market share. In November, FrenchTelecom-Orange announced that it would launch the first of three new phones featuring a Facebook key, the Alcatel One Touch 908F. TCL said that the Alcatel phones with Facebook keys are set to be launched across Africa and Europe before the end of the year. TCL, which produced the Vodafone 555 Blue phone as a white-label product, expects its Alcatel One Touch branded phones to raise the product mix towards higher revenue-earning smartphones. TCL is also involved in future mobile technologies, including Terahertz spectrum (0.1-10THz). Still not fully utitilised, the band is being considered in China where TCL has produced a phone supporting THz communications, the Xianguyn A919.

Top TCL Executive Visits Taiwan’s Electronics Makers With Huge Procurement Hint [Dec 7, 2011]

Taipei, Dec. 7, 2011 (CENS)–TCL Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Li Dongsheng said his company will not limit spending on procurements of Taiwan’s electronics products when recently visiting some Taiwanese electronics heavyweights, including chip vendor MediaTek Inc.

TCL, currently the world’s 25th biggest producer of household appliances, plans to ship 12 million LCD TVs and 50 million mobile phones in 2012. Industry executives estimated the company to budget more than US$1 billion for sourcing Taiwan’s electronics products next year.

Among Taiwan’s contract suppliers on TCL’s outsourcing lists are MediaTek Inc., AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), and Chimei Innolux Corp. Li visited MediaTek’s and AUO’s Taiwan headquarters a few days ago. He said his talk with MediaTek Chairman M.K. Cai mainly focused on cooperation over smartphone development.

However, both AUO and MediaTek executives declined to comment on the meetings.

TCL is now MediaTek’s biggest customer, purchasing up to 30 million mobile phone chipsets from MediaTek in 2010. Li touted that TCL is already among the mainland’s first-tier handset makers, shipping around 45 million systems in 2011. The company shipped 36.2 million mobile phones in 2010.

Taiwan’s industry executives noted that TCL is also one of MediaTek’s major customers of TV chips. TCL has reportedly designed MediaTek MT6573 chip, MediaTek’s first 3.75G 3.5G smartphone chip unveiled early this year, into its mobile phones. MediaTek’s 3D TV chip launched early this year has also entered into TCL TVs.

Handset chips and TV chips have accounted for over 90% of MediaTek’s revenue.

Li pointed out that unlike tepid LCD TV demands in Europe and North America, the mainland’s LCD TV market will grow at least 10% in 2011. He estimated the mainland to turn out a total of 90 million LCD TVs throughout this year, with nearly half of which set aside for the mainland’s domestic market. Although TCL has secured supply of 30 million LCD panels with LCD maker BOE Co., Ltd. of the mainland, the volume is far short of its demand.

Li stressed that his company has entered into cooperation with LCD maker AUO and several Taiwanese LED makers to ensure steady supplies for its TVs.

Backend firms gearing up for new MediaTek solution [Dec 23, 2011]

IC packagers Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL), and substrate makers Unimicron Technology and Kinsus Interconnect Technology are all getting ready for the launch of MediaTek’s MT6575 single-chip solution, according to industry sources.

The upcoming MT6575 will run at 1GHz – an upgrade from 650MHz that the predecessor MT6573 has – targeting growing demand for low-cost smartphones. MediaTek adopts the advanced 40nm process for its MT6575 chip line, and uses wire bonding instead of flip-chip packaging in the products for cost reasons, the sources indicated.
[from: MediaTek MT6575 chips [are] using the new 40-nanometer process, compared with the previous generation chip [the] MT6573 [is] smaller, [the] single-wafer die production is up to 1,200 pieces, [which is] an increase of nearly 50%, [thus] help[ing to] reduce costs.]

MediaTek has delivered samples of the new MT6575 solution for design-in to about 40 companies since December, the sources said. It expects to start shipping in volume to customers between January and February 2012, the sources noted. [from: first in December for a small amount of trial production, about 400,000 single month]

Shipments of MediaTek’s MT6575 solution are likely to top 1.5 million units in January, and further expand to three million in February, the sources estimated. The anticipated boost in shipments will buoy sales at its backend suppliers in the first quarter of 2012, the sources said.

ASE remarked at its most recent investors meeting that shipments would decrease 3-4% sequentially in the last quarter of 2011. Looking forward, fewer working days in January might affect the company’s sales performance, said ASE, without elaborating further.

Kinsus has estimated flat sequential growth in fourth-quarter sales. Sales for the first quarter of 2012 would slide as a result of seasonal factors, the company said.

From a MediaTek product document:

MT6573(ap+modem+pmu) + MT6162(rf) + MT662(wifi,gps,bt,fm)

MT6573: ARM11 AP, ARM9 Modem processor,HSPA。
MT6573: 8 Mega pixel camera, OpenGL ES2.0

MediaTek MT6573 is a highly integrated 3G system-on-chip (SOC) which incorporates advanced features like HSPA R6 modem, 650MHz ARM11 CPU, 3D graphics(OpenGL|ES 2.0), 8M camera ISP, LPDDR 400MHz, FWVGA(854×480) video decoder. MT6573 can helps phone manufacturers build high performance 3G smart phone with PC-like browser, 3D gaming and cinema class home entertainment experience.

World-Leading Technology:

Based on MediaTek’s world-leading mobile chip SOC architecture and 65nm advanced process, the MT6573 is the grand new generation smart phone SOC. It integrates the MediaTek HSPA R6 modem, 650MHz CPU, 3D graphics, FWVGA video decoder and power management unit.

Rich Feature for High Valued Product:

To enrich camera feature, MT6573 equips a 8M camera ISP with advanced features like auto focus, anti-handshake, continuous video AF, face detection, burst shot, optical zoom, panorama view and 3D photo.

Incredible Browser experience:

The 650MHz CPU brings PC-like browser experience and help accelerate OpenGL|ES 2.0 3D Adobe Flash 10 rendering performance to an unbeatable level.

3G chip market opening price war or acceleration of intelligent mobile phone [Dec 15, 2011]

… With MT6573 scenery, MediaTek then released their latest MT6575, treatment efficacy faster, as high chip MSM7227A. Frequency up to 1GHz, using ARM CortexA9, support for HSPA+. By comparison, MT6573 is inferior many, the chip using ARM11 AP processor frequency is 650 MHz, modem support HSPA speed of 7.2Mbps / 5.76Mbps. …

MediaTek reiterates 4Q11 sales guidance [Dec 29, 2011]

Following a report regarding falling feature phone and smartphone demand in China, MediaTek has said its sales guidance for the current fourth quarter should remain on track. MediaTek expects fourth-quarter sales to fall somewhere between a decrease of 2% to an increase of 5% sequentially.

MediaTek’s consolidated revenues for October and November totaled NT$15.16 billion, already making up 62-66% of the company’s targeted NT$22.9-24.5 billion for the fourth quarter.

Industry sources were quoted in a recent report suggesting a recent slowdown in chip orders from China’s handset market would imply an early arrival of the low season. Many Taiwan-based handset chip suppliers, which rely heavily on the China market, might report 5-10% sequential decreases in December revenues, the sources were quoted as saying.

Qualcomm cuts chip prices for Chinese smartphones [Dec 25, 2011]

Deep price cuts in new dual-core chips produced by American telecom equipment manufacturer Qualcommand used in smartphones produced in China could intensify competition between the company and Taiwan-based integrated circuit designer MediaTek.

The move marks the beginning of a new round of price slashing, Gao Guiming, senior vice president of A’Hong Communication & Digital Information, told the Shanghai-based First Financial Daily.

The US$7 reduction in the price of Qualcomm’s new dual-core chips will pit the company in direct competition with MediaTek in the market for smartphones priced at around 1,000 yuan (US$158). Gao pointed out that MediaTek remains a follower in the smartphone market and that Qualcomm’s price cut will force the Taiwanese firm to follow suit in order to expand its market share in China.

Smartphone shipments in China reached 24 million units in the third quarter of 2011, surging 58% from the second quarter and leading the country to pass the US as the world’s biggest market for the devices, according to data compiled by research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics. Total sales volume in China is projected to expand to 153 million phones in 2012.

Qualcomm’s latest price cut signals its plan to supply smartphone manufacturers with “public boards” designed for common use by various producers to quickly develop low-cost handsets.

Qian Zhijun, product director at Qualcomm China, revealed at a summit on smartphones held in Shenzhen last month that his company’s new research and development center in Shanghai will help producers shorten the time needed to roll out new products. Qualcomm aims to use its QRD development platform to help producers put new models on the market within 30-60 days, compared with the more than six months required today.

Sources at MediaTek say there is still no news about the company’s possible plans to cut prices in response. MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-chiang stressed in November that providing customers with low-cost customized chips has long been the company’s forte and that the smartphone sector will see little change.

Hsieh implied that MediaTek still has an advantage over Qualcomm in terms of offering more comprehensive services to clients. He revealed that MediaTek has shifted most of its resources to the smartphone sector. Hsieh expects the company’s shipments of dual-core chips for intelligent handsets to double to 20 million sets in 2012.

Liu Wenquan, an industry analyst based in Shenzhen, says an intense price war is unlikely in the near future as aggressive promotion by Chinese telecom service carriers has brought about skyrocketing demand for low-cost smartphones. MediaTek’s MT6573 chips are still in short supply, he said.

Analysts said Qualcomm’s major targets in China are larger smartphone producers, not mobile phone copycats. Senior vice president Jeff Lorbeck stated that the QRD development platform will be open mainly to companies that have already won Qualcomm technology certification and authorization.

Further, Qualcomm’s price still hovers about US$10 higher than similar products from MediaTek, which maintains the advantage of higher flexibility as well as closer and smoother communication with Chinese smartphone manufacturers.

Gu Wenjun, an analyst at market research firm iSuppli, said the Chinese market is too big and diverse for any single chip supplier to maintain a dominant role. The best policy for Qualcomm and MediaTek is to take better care of their largest clients, he suggested. Smartphone manufacturers are expected to continue the policy of choosing two or even three core chip suppliers in order to produce a variety of smartphones to satisfy consumers’ tastes, added Gu.

ZTE Skate [V960] Review CNET [cnetuk, Nov 23, 2011]

In this video review, Amie Parker-Williams does a double take when she gets her mitts on the ZTE Skate, the identical twin of the Orange Monte Carlo. While the two phones may have been cast in the same mold in terms of design, the Skate thankfully comes without the Orange bloatware, and is better off for it. Hit play to take a closer look at this glossy Android blower.

China Unicom Hopes To Sell Cheaper Phones Next Year [Dec 20, 2011]

Chinese telecom operator China Unicom announced its strategic focus for 2012 and said it will focus on the sales of phones with the prices between CNY1,000 and CNY2,000.

On December 12, 2011, China Unicom and ZTE, the Chinese telecom equipment maker, jointly launched a customized phone named Skate V960, which is recognized as a strategic productby Yu Yingtao, general manager for the sales department of China Unicom.

Yu previously revealed during an interview that many manufacturers were developing phones with the prices between CNY1,000 and CNY2,000 and China Unicom will bring surprises to users in 2012. The company plans to introduce more cost-effective products then.

Following the launch of Skate V960, other Chinese and International makers such as Huawei, Motorola, HTC, and Samsung will provide more options in this price range, said Yu. Products of this price range hold a 20% share of the market in China, which means a user group of about 50 million people. Therefore, China Unicom will cooperate with first-class makers in China and the world to meet the demands of these consumers.

However, Yu pointed out that it does not mean the company will focus less on smartphones with prices lower than CNY1,000, because these products own 63% share of the market and more international brands expressed their intention to launch CNY1,000 smartphones. According to Yu, for the year 2011, China Unicom’s sales of CNY1,000 smartphones made by ZTE, Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad, and Amoi is expected to be over 10 million units.

ZTE SKATE [V960], Smart Choice, Bright Life [ZTEGlobal, Sept 22, 2011]

ZTE Smartphone Sales Top 12M Units [Dec 13, 2011]

ZTE Corporation (000063, 0763.HK) has met its 2011 annual sales target of 12 million smartphones, reports 163.com, citing company vice president He Shiyou. The companysold three million smartphones last year.

He said ZTE is currently planning its 2012 sales target, and that there will be more than a doublingof the smartphone sales target.

ZTE and China Unicom (600050, 0762.HK) jointly launched the Skate V960 smartphone priced at 1,499 yuanon December 12.

The Skate V960 mobile phone was first rolled out in overseas markets, including Brazil, Spain, Hong Kong, Germany and the U.S., before its launch in the domestic market.

He said ZTE will continue to cooperate with operators in terminal sales, and will develop other sales channels as well.

ZTE Skate – Light your smart world [ZTEGlobal, Oct 13, 2011]

ZTE V960 [= Skate] product page[translated by Google, Sept 23, 2011]

    • Frequency range GSM: 900/1800/1900 UMTS: 900/2100 HSDPA: 7.2Mbps DL
    • Chipset Qualcomm MSM7227-T [800 MHz]
    • Size 126.5 * 68 * 11.2mm
    • Weight 140g (with battery)
    • Antenna comes with built-in antenna modeling straight memory
    • Memory: 200 MB of available space is greater than the available expansion card memory MicroSD memory card expansion (up to 32 GB)
    • The main screen 800 * 480 pixels, 262K TFT color screen, 4.3-inch external screen without camera
    • 5M pixel camera take a picture: up to 2560 * 1920,
    • Shooting video: up to 640 * 480
    • Digital zoom: 1.6 times
    • Battery Standard battery: Li-ion 1400 mAh
    • Side keys (volume keys) with the keyboard menu, home, back
    • Touch-screen full-touch capacitive touch-screen interface,
    • Bluetooth extension, MicroSD card, USB 2.0 Full Speed
    • SIM card insertion, 3V, 1.8V
    • Stereo headphones with a microphone headset hands-free speaker with charger 5pin Micro-USB
    • Sensor support gravity sensor, light sensor, proximity sensor

China-based branded smartphone vendors to produce sub-US$100 models [Nov 3, 2011]

China-based branded handset vendors including Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei Technologies are expected to venture into the production of smartphone models with a price tag of around US$100 in 2012 – a move which will add pressure on white-box vendorsin China as well as on upstream parts and components suppliers, according to industry sources.

The China-based makers are responding to growing competition from foreign branded smartphones vendors including HTC, Apple and Samsung Electronics, which have recently expanded their product lineups for the entry-level and mid-range markets, the sources noted.

Although HTC has refuted market rumors that it plans to launch smartphones for the US$100 segment, the sources said HTC has been trying to reduce its production costs by introducing models with comparable hardware specifications but running on different operating systems.

Taking the HTC Titan and HTC Sensational XL for example, the hardware specifications of the two models are comparable, but the HTC Titan runs on Windows Phone platform, while the HTC Sensational XL is powered by Android 2.3.4.

Apple’s launch of 8GB iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS is also a vivid indication of the vendor’s ambition to expand its share in the entry-level and mid-range smartphone segments, the sources commented.

Qualcomm competing with MediaTek in China market with price competition [Dec 6, 2011]

In view of increasing adoption of the MT6575, a 1GHz chip solution developed by Taiwan-based MediaTek for use in 3G handsets and smartphones, by several China-based vendors and white-box clients, Qualcomm has lowered its quotes by keeping them close to MediaTek in order to strengthen its price competitiveness, according to China-based white-box vendors.

Following selling the 650MHz chip MT6573 in the China market during early October peak sales period, MediaTek has begun offering the MT6575featuring mainstream a computing speed of 1GHz and four functions, GPS, FM, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, in one chip. The specifications plus price and rich content available on MediaTek’s handset development platform have made M6575 strongly competitive in the China market, the sources indicated.

Qualcomm has had its MSM7727 and MSM7727Acompete with MediaTek’s MT6573 and MT6575 respectively, the sources noted.

Based on a general price level of about US$10 for a 3G handset chip, the MT6575 is competitive enough in price, the sources indicated. To be competitive, Qualcomm has to decrease prices because its quotes for 3G handset chip solutions are mostly higher than MediaTek by more than 20%, the sources pointed out.

The competition for 3G handset chip solutions between Qualcomm and MediaTek will extend from China to emerging markets in 2012, the sources indicated.

The new frontier in mobile computing: Q&A with Qualcomm EVP Steve Mollenkopf [May 31, 2011]

Q: Convergence has been talked about for years, why is now such a critical time in the evolution of the market?

A: If you look at the current market situation, there are there are three areas that have driven the industry to reach critical mass.

First of all, advancements in semiconductor designhave substantially increased the amount of computing power that you be put into the small thermal envelope needed to efficiently power a mobile phone or portable device. What this means is that you can now put the same processing power in a smartphone or another type of handheld device that used to be in a notebook, and that is really opening up the market to new designs and usage models.

The second thing that is shaping the current market is that the shift to next-generation mobile networkshas meant that a lot of data can be quickly delivered to – and enjoyed by – mobile devices, with multimedia and Internet content driving demand. High-speed 3G and 4G networks really enable an enormous amount of connectivity to occur with mobile devices.

The third area where the market is really evolving is that the dynamics of the software markethave changed a great deal. Most developers used to focus on the PC ecosystem, and a major priority driving software vendors in the past was making sure that they maintained backward compatibility for their applications. If you look at the market now, most people are developing for smartphone platforms and those platforms are migrating up. This has broken the link of being encumbered by legacy applications. This phenomena is only going to accelerate even more as we move into cloud computing and most user data and applications end up being positioned somewhere in the cloud.

So what this means is that currently there is a kind of perfect stormin the mobile environment that is bringing the best of all worlds together. It is really going to change the way mobile devices are used and it is also going to change the technology in them.

Q: While users are expecting more from their mobile devices, system providers have to deal with more complexity, making it harder to quickly deliver products to market. Can you explain how Qualcomm can help enable its partners in this area?

A: It’s true. What you see, particularly as you start moving into mobile computing is that the devices are very complex. For market players, this means that your solution needs to excel along many different vectors. It has to have a high-performing processor. It has to have a high-performing graphics engine. It has to have a high-performing modem. It has to be a high performing connectivity solution.

Moreover, all of those areas need to be blended together in an optimal manner. It doesn’t make sense for a device to simply be a collection of assets. All the areas need to work properly together for that system to be a success. What that means for semiconductor solution providers is that you need to have all of these assets in house in order to best enable your customers.

Really, when the complexity of the solution becomes quite high, it is going to be very difficult for many players to deliver that system solution efficiently and at the speed that is required in order to be competitive in the market. A lot of solution providers may excel in one area or another, but not really in all areas. This makes things more difficult for downstream system providers. What Qualcomm has endeavored to achieve is to try to excel across multiple vectors. We have been lucky in that we have had the scale to invest, to allow us to be successful.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your hardware features, especially Snapdragon?

A: Referring back to Qualcomm being able to succeed across multiple vectors, the Snapdragon is a perfect example. One misconception many users have about Snapdragon is that it is a processor but Snapdragon is an integrated system. It doesn’t refer solely to the processor or to the graphics engine. It doesn’t refer to the connectivity assetsor the modem individually. It refers to all of them together in an integrated solution.

Looking back at the first Snapdragon we did, which was really the first 1GhHz processor in a mobile phone; that was when we really began enabling the market with a much differentiated product relative to what the market had seen before. We are now on our fourth generation productand we will continue investing heavily in the platform as we move forward.

In terms of processing on the ARM-based Snapdragon platform, we currently have a mix of the highest performance and lowest power mix in the industry with our 28nm versions of the device. On the network side, Qualcomm has always been known as a leading modem company and we integrate the modem into the processor. Together with the GPU, the SoC (system on chip) family of solutions delivers one of the most integrated solutions today. In addition to providing us with a leadership position, this is pretty important because it allows our partners to develop unique designs. For example, the first LTE smartphone from Verizon is built around our Snapdragon platform.

And it is not just about hardware. A solution provider needs to be able to deliver software support as well. For example, currently we deliver Android over multiple chipsets at the same time. This is important because there are many tiers of devices, from high-end tablets down to entry level smartphones. With Qualcomm being able to deliver solutions that cover all market segments, we enable our partners to be competitive with a full range of products as well.

We started talking about complexity and finished with integration, but integration is really just the ability to pull together many different types of technologies into one easily deliverable package, whether it is one physical package or one system solution tied together by one set of software. As the market progresses and becomes more complex, fewer companies can deliver on this. That is why Qualcomm is leading the way.

Q: How does this level of integration help you enable your partners?

A:Combining all the levels of integration in our family of solutions allows for more creativity for system houses. OEMs can spend their resources and investment in areas that help differentiate their products. It is a much more efficient way to deliver technology.

In addition, our highly integrated solution actually expands the market by enabling more partners to participate in system design. By providing so much to our partners, we don’t limit our customer base to companies with very large engineering teams only. Many more companies are able to go to market with our products.

Taiwan foundries cut prices 10-15% [Dec 30, 2011]

Taiwan-based foundry service providers have cut their prices for wafers built on mature node processes to reflect lower production costs, according to sources at IC design firm. The move is also aimed to encourage customers to build inventory, the sources said.

Some fabless IC firms tend to accept their foundry partners’ low-price offerings in consideration of their long-term relationships, the sources indicated.

Chip inventories throughout the supply chain have actually been lowered to safe levels, the sources said. However, companies hold a wait-and-see attitude rather than restocking because of an uncertain business outlook, the sources pointed out.

Inventories climbed to excessive levels between the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter, due to a combination of negative macroeconomic factors such as weak consumer confidence in the US and the European crisis.

In other news, despite slow demand for mature process manufacturing, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) continues to see orders heat up for advanced 28nm technology, according to sources at non Taiwan-based chip suppliers.

Foundry orders losing momentum [Nov 22, 2011]

Foundry chipmakers have seen short lead-time orders lose momentum, according to industry sources. Short lead-time orders were a key factor contributing to their revenue growth in October and better-than-expected results in the third quarter.

A surge of short lead-time orders was previously expected to emerge around this time amid low inventories in the semiconductor supply chain, the sources pointed out.

But fabless IC clients are now unable to meet order estimates placed earlier with the foundries, and have requested delivery to be delayed until after the first quarter of 2012, the sources indicated.

Major foundry players including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) might post double-digit sequential dips in revenues for the first quarter of 2012, due to a slowdown in orders, the sources said. Gross margin and operating margin for the quarter will also come under downward pressure along with their utilitzation rate declines, the sources added.

But starting from the middle of the second quarter, foundries are expected to see orders pick upwith clearer order visibility, the sources believe.

TSMC at its most-recent investors meeting estimated consolidated sales for the fourth quarter of 2011 would slip 1-3% sequentially. The firm reported higher-than-expected results for the third quarter driven short lead-time orders.

UMC has guided wafer shipments for the fourth quarter would decrease about 10% sequentially with ASPs up 5%. It did not provide a revenue guidance.

Both TSMC and UMC have not disclosed their revenue forecast for the first quarter of 2012.

China market: Handset demand weak [Dec 26, 2011]

Demand for feature phones in China has turned weaker than expected since the middle of October, according to sources at Taiwan’s LCD driver IC design houses. Smartphone demand in China is also slowing down recently, bringing further adverse impact to some firms’ sales performance, the sources indicated.

The slowdown in orders reflects an early arrival of the low season, the sources observed.

Many of Taiwan’s handset chip suppliers which rely heavily on the China market are likely to report 5-10% sequential decreases in December revenues, the sources estimated, citing falling demand from the region. Sales might further decline 10% or more sequentially in the first quarter of 2012, as a result of fewer working days during the long Chinese New Year holiday and seasonality, the sources noted.

However, most of Taiwan’s handset chip designers will see their sales recover starting the second quarter of 2012 when China-based handset firms’ inventories will be low, the sources said.

MediaTek likely to post higher revenues in December [Dec 21, 2011]

Brisk orders from China-based smartphone vendors who are preparing for Lunar New Year sales campaignsare buoying MediaTek’s sales in December, according to industry sources. The IC design firm is expected to post sequential growth in consolidated revenues for the month, the sources said.

The sources estimated MediaTek’s December consolidated revenues at between NT$7.7 billion (US$255 million) and NT$9.2 billion [US$305 million].

MediaTek previously guided consolidated sales for the fourth quarter would be NT$22.9-24.5 billion, compared to NT$23.38 billion in the third quarter.

MediaTek accumulated NT$79.36 billion [US$2,628 million] in consolidated sales from January through November, a 24.8% decline from 2010.

MediaTek posts lower-than-expected sales in November [Dec 8, 2011]

MediaTek has reported consolidated revenues grew 1.2% sequentially to NT$7.63 billion (US$252.9 million) in November. The figure came below market watcher estimates of NT$8.5-9.5 billion.

MediaTek’s November sales were affected by its China-based white-box clients’ lower-than-expected smartphone shipments, according to industry sources. Shipments were disrupted by tight supplies of ambient light sensorsfrom Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions (TAOS), the sources revealed.

TAOS’ back-end operations in Thailandhave been suspended causing disruptions to its ambient light sensor shipments to customers, which also include brand-name consumer electronics vendors such as Apple, HTC and Nokia, the sources indicated. With its ambient light sensor availability becoming tight, TAOS is giving priority to orders placed by the first-tier brands, at the expense of those from second-tier and China’s white-box companies, the sources said.

TAOS is unlikely to provide adequate supplies of its ambient light sensors by the end of 2011, which would continue to disrupt certain CE manufacturers’ deliveries, the sources noted.

Previous reports quoted industry sources saying MediaTek had enjoyed brisk demand for its solutions targeting low-cost smartphones, and an influx of short lead-time orders from clients in China after the country’s National Day holidays.

MediaTek sales to top NT$9 billion in November [Dec 5, 2011]

Buoyed by an influx of short lead-time orders from handset clients in China, MediaTek will report better-than-expected sales results for November 2011, industry sources have said.

MediaTek’s consolidated revenues are likely to top NT$9 billion (US$298 million) in November, hitting the highest monthly level for 2011, according to the sources. The company saw its sales decrease about 5% sequentially to NT$7.53 billion in October.

MediaTek reportedly has enjoyed brisk demand for its MT6573 smartphone solutiontargeting low-cost smartphones. In particular, demand received a boost driven by orders from China during the country’s National Day holidays in Octonber, the sources observed. Next-generation MT6575 is scheduled to start shipping prior to Lunar New Year, the sources indicated.

The upcoming MT6575 single-chip solution will run at 1GHz, an upgrade from 650MHz that its predecessor has, the sources revealed. In addition to white-box handset makers, a number of brand-name firms targeting the China marketreportedly will adopt the solution from MediaTek, the sources indicated.

MediaTek previously reiterated that its sales estimate of NT$22.9-24.5 billion for the fourth quarter remains unchanged. The company posted consolidated revenues of NT$23.38 billion in the third quarter, up 11.4% sequentially but down 17.1% on year.

Motorola increasing orders to Taiwan production partners, say sources [Dec 6, 2011]

Motorola Mobility has been strengthening its ties with Taiwan-based handset ODMs and parts and components suppliers with procurements from those production partners to increase 10% sequentially in the second half of 2011 and to further expand by 10-15% in 2012, according to sources in the supply chain.

Motorola’s increased orders to Taiwan production partners reflect a steady integration process between Google and Motorola as well as the vendor’s stepped-up efforts to launch new models, including the Razr XT910 flagship model [(Dec) TI OMAP 4430 based, with dual Cortex-A9 @1GHz], the high-end Milestone 3, [ME883 (July), XT860 (Sept) and ME863 (Sept) – all OMAP 4430 based, with dual Cortex-A9 @1GHz], the DEFY+ [MB526 (Sept) OMAP 3620 based, with Cortex-A8 @ 720 MHz] social networking phone and the entry-level XT319 [XT319 (Oct) with Qualcomm MSM7227T @ 800 MHz], in the fourth quarter of 2011, revealed the sources.

Motorola’s ODM handset orders to Taiwan production partners are expected to total 11-13 million units in 2011, of which over 90% are feature phones, estimated the sources, noting that Taiwan ODMs may receive more orders for smartphones from the vendor in 2012.

Motorola’s ODM partners include Arima Communications, Compal Communications and Foxconn International Holdings (FIH), while parts and components suppliers include Merry Electronics and Chi Cheng Enterprise.

Merry has reported consolidated revenues of NT$880 million (US$29.1 million) for November, increasing 25.47% on month and 9.67% on year and representing the highest monthly figures in 47 months, according to a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE).

MediaTek, Spreadtrum, MStar sharing China market of handset chips [Dec 13, 2011]

Taiwan-based IC design house MediaTek and MStar Semiconductor and China-based fellow company Spreadtrum Communications are sharing the market demand for handset chips, according to China-based white-box vendors of handsets.

MediaTek, following victorious sales of its 3G chip MT6573 during the peak sales period in early October 2011, has launched 1GHz 3G chip MT6575 and received good market response, the sources pointed out. MediaTek’s shipments of MT6575 are expected to peak prior to the 2012 Lunar New Year in late January, the sources indicated.

Spreadtrum has dominated the market segment of TD-SCDMA, China-developed 3G standard, chips, with shipments of TD-SCDMA chip SC8800G on the rise, the sources noted.

While MediaTek and Spreadtrum have shifted focus to 3G chip solutions, MStar has focused on marketing of 2.5/2.75G chips with many new products, the sources indicated. MStar’s monthly shipments of 2.5/2.75G chips have climbed to 5.0 million units, more than triple the level in the first half of 2011, the sources pointed out.

Currently, MediaTek has a market share of 60% for 2.5/2.75G chips, while Spreadtrum and MStar have those of 25% and 10% respectively, the sources noted.

MStar reports on-year revenue growth for November [Dec 9, 2011]

MStar Semiconductor has announced consolidated revenues of NT$3.25 billion (US$107.7 million) for November, down 4.4% on month but up 6.5% on year, according to a company filing the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

For the first 11 months of 2011, revenues amounted to NT$32.52 billion [US$1,077.7 million], increasing 3.5% from a year earlier.

MStar taping out 3.75G [?3.5G?] handset solutions in 4Q11 [Nov 9, 2011]

Taiwan-based IC design house MStar Semiconductor will begin to tape out 3.75G [?3.5G?] handset solutions supporting TD-SCDMA and CDMA technologies soon with end market devices to hit the market in the first quarter of 2012, according to company chairman Wayne Liang.

Shipments of handset solutions will increase 30-50% sequentially in the fourth quarter, pushing handset solution revenues to 15% of the company’s total revenues in the quarter compared to 10% in the third quarter, Liang predicted.

Fourth-quarter revenues are expected to top US$311-329 million, up or down in a range of 3% from the previous quarter, Liang said at an investors conference. Gross margin will range 40-42% in the fourth quarter compared to 42.1% in the last quarter.

Shipments of TV chips will drop slightly in the fourth quarter, and demand for TV chips is expected to continue growing in emerging markets in 2012, but the prospects in the US and Europe are still unclear, said Liang.

MStar posted net profits of NT$1.62 billion (US$53.8 million) in the third quarter, up 7.2% sequentially. Third-quarter earnings translated into an EPS of NT$3.06 compared to NT$3.73 posted by rival MediaTek, according to data from the companies.

China market: 2.5G handset chipset prices falling [Nov 24, 2011]

Prices for 2.5G handset chipsets have slipped more than 10% in the fourth quarter of 2011, and will continue to fall at the same rate in first-quarter 2012 due to continued oversupply in the market, according to sources at white-box handset makersin China.

With branded and white-box handset vendors shifting their focus to smartphones, demand for 2.5G feature phones in China is decelerating, the sources said. Taking sales during China’s National Day holidays last month as an example, supplies were tight for many top-selling smartphones while 2.5G devices were unremarkable, the sources indicated.

As end-market demand began to fall, chipmakers including MediaTek, MStar Semiconductor and Spreadtrum Communications decided to lower their prices for 2.5G solutionsto stimulate demand and protect their market shares, the sources pointed out.

Another cause of the intensified price competition is high similarity of products. MediaTek’s 40nm-made 2.5G chipset that comes with a high level of integration enabled the company to stand out from the crowd in the first half of 2011, when competition with rivals was less fierce, the sources said. However, with MStar and Spreadtrum both launching 40nm, highly-integrated solutions, competition has intensified leading prices to fall in the second half of the year, the sources noted.

In addition, MediaTek, MStar and Spreadtrum have stepped up R&D efforts for the development of 3G WCDMA and TD-SCDMA chipset solutions, according to the sources.

Motorola to adopt MediaTek solutions for WCDMA smartphones, says paper [Oct 14, 2011]

Motorola Mobility will adopt MediaTek’s MT6573 solutions for its WCDMA-enabled smartphones, the Chinese-language Commercial Timescited Daiwa Securities analyst Chen Hui-ming as indicating.

Motorola’s order volume to MediaTek is still unclear as it will depend on market demand during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays as well as Motorola’s cooperation with China-based telecom carriers, Chen was quoted as saying.

In addition, China-based Huawei Technologies is also likely to adopt smartphone solutions from MediaTek in early 2012, said Chen, but added that Huawei is going to buy MediaTek’s new 3.75G solution, the MT6575, instead of the MT6573. Huawei previously purchased most of its handset solutions from Qualcomm.

MediaTek Pursuing Japan’s 4G Biz [Nov 30, 2011]

… MediaTek President C.J Hsieh touted that MediaTek chipsets are not inferior to Qualcomm’s. MediaTek MT6573, for instance, supports EDGE and WCDMA specifications with its Bluetooth, LAN, GPS and FM wireless designs.

The company plans to ship 20 million smartphone chipsets in 2012, 10 million more than its goal for 2011. Totally, the company will deliver 550 million chipsets for various types of handsets this year. The shipment increase comes against the backdrop of the forecast that global market penetration of smartphones will increase to 50% from 2011’s projected 30%.

Hsieh believed that his company’s smartphone chipsets will be quickly flowing into global markets along with its mainland Chinese customers striving to ship mobile phones to Europe and North America.

Orders for MediaTek 3.75G 3.5G smartphone chip soaring [Oct 13, 2011]

China’s brand-name handset vendors, including Lenovo, ZTE and TCL, have ordered more MT6573 3.75G 3.5G smartphone chips from MediaTek, according to industry sources. To meet the continued rising demand, the fabless IC firm has asked for additional foundry capacity equivalent to 6,000-8,000 12-inch wafers from United Microelectronics Corporation(UMC), the sources indicated.

Backend service providers including Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL), King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) and Sigurd Microelectronics are also pinpointed by the sources as beneficiaries of the increased orders.

MediaTek released additional orders to UMC as well as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for foundry services in August – equivalent to a combined 25,000 12-inch wafers – to satisfy brisk demand for its MT6573 solution, which is gaining acceptance from the company’s principal customers in China, the sources revealed.

MediaTek is expected to see monthly shipments of its MT6573 chipset solutions to reach 1-1.5 million units in October and November, and continue expanding to 3.5-4 million in December, the sources estimated. The growing shipments will boost the company’s sales in the fourth quarter of 2011, the sources said.

In addition, acknowledging the MT6573’s popularity, Huawei Technologies reportedly is asking MediaTek to accelerate development of the chip’s successor, the sources said. Dubbed the MT6575, the next-generation single-chip solution could start shipping as early as the first quarter of 2012, the sources indicated.

MediaTek shares closed up 2% at NT$336 (US$11.10) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on October 13. The price scored the highest in eight trading days.

In other news, ASE, SPIL, KYEC and Sigurd are likely to see their revenues for the fourth quarter of 2011 stay flat sequentially, the best-case scenario amid a global economic downturn, according to the sources. Orders from MediaTek as well as the depreciation of the NT dollar are seen as the major contributing factors.

MediaTek asks for additional capacity from UMC due to increased orders for MT6573 chip [Aug 24, 2011]

Due higher than expected orders for its MT6573 3.75G smartphone chip, MediaTek has asked for additional foundry capacity equivalent to several thousands of wafers from United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), according to industry sources.

MT6573 has been adopted by Lenovo and other China-based vendors because its FOB price of US$60-70is much lower than US$100-120 quoted by MediaTek’s competitors and functional performance is better, the sources said. Based on orders received, MediaTek will ship more than one million MT6573 chips in September 2011, with monthly shipments to increase to 2-3 million chips in November and December, the sources indicated.

Due to the additional orders for foundry services, UMC has offered a 10% discount for all orders from MediaTek, the sources indicated. Similarly, MediaTek has asked Advanced Semiconductor Engineering and Siliconware Precision Industries to offer a 10% discount on IC packaging and testing services for the fourth quarter in exchange for additional orders, the sources said.

MediaTek profits improve sequentially in 3Q11 [Oct 28, 2011]

MediaTek has announced net income of NT$4.07 billion (US$135.38 million) for the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 22.4% from the prior quarter, but down 41.6% from the year-ago quarter. Third-quarter EPS were NT$3.73, compared with NT$3.05 in the previous quarter and NT$6.39 of a year earlier.

Consolidated revenues amounted to NT$23.376 billion [US$777.6 million] in the third quarter, up 11.4% sequentially but down 17.1% from a year earlier. The on-quarter revenue growth was mainly driven by seasonality and the increase of handset sales volume.

Third-quarter gross margin was 45.1%, or 0.8pps and 7.1pps lower than the previous quarter and the same period of last year, respectively, due mainly to decreased handset chipset prices.

MediaTek 3.5G-chip shipments likely to hit 1 million mark in September [Sept 30, 2011]

Shipments of MediaTek’s MT6573 3.5G chipset solution approached one million units in August, and are likely to exceed the mark in September, according to industry sources. Shipments have been fueled by roll-outs of new 3G handsets in China.

Monthly shipments of MediaTek’s MT6573 chips are expected to reach 1.5 million units in the fourth quarter, and climb further to two million in 2012, the sources said.

However, MediaTek has internally estimated that its sales for September will decrease slightly from August levels, the sources indicated. The company also maintained its revenue guidance for the third quarter at NT$22-23 billion (US$721.5 million-754.3 million), the sources revealed.

The sources previously predicted that MediaTek’s September sales would post another on-month growth following the 16.3% sequential rise in August. But a number of clients in China had actually made advance orders, which constrained the company’s sales growth in September.

MediaTek’s sales for the fourth quarter are set to decline about 10% sequentially, due to generally low order visibility, the sources said. The company has not given its outlook for the quarter.

Lenovo places short lead-time 3G chipset solution orders with MediaTek, says paper [Sept 27, 2011]

Lenovo has placed short lead-time orders for MT6573 3G solutions with MediaTek recently as the first batch of 500,000 units of its A60 smartphone, priced at CNY1,000 (US$156), have nearly sold out since the device launched in August, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Timesreport.

Due to strong sales of the A60, other vendors in China, including ZTE, Huawei Technologies, and Beijing Tianyu Communication Equipment, plan to launch low-priced smartphones soon, with chipset solutions also coming from MediaTek, the paper said.

MediaTek’s shipments of MT6573 chips are expected to top 1.2-1.3 million units a month prior to the arrival of the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on January 22, 2012, added the paper.

Short lead-time orders buoying TSMC sales [Sept 14, 2011]

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company ((TSMC) has disclosed that its consolidated revenues for the third quarter of 2011 are expected to exceed its guidance given in July, thanks to some “rush” orders from customers.

Industry sources speculate that the short lead-time orders were placed by the foundry’s fabless clients including Qualcomm, Broadcom, MediaTek and MStarSemiconductor, which enjoyed rising demand for their smartphone solutions targeting China and other emerging markets.

However, demand for smartphones coming from the Europe, Japan and US markets remain sluggish, the sources indicated. The major chip providers actually are bracing for unusual weak demand during the Christmas and year-end shopping season, the sources added.

TSMC’s sales and utilization rate for the fourth quarter may come under downward pressure, as order visibility remains opaque, the sources said.

TSMC reported NT$37.64 billion (US$1.29 billion) in consolidated revenues for August 2011, up 6.2% sequentially. Consolidated sales for July and August totaled NT$73.08 billion, already making up 69-72% of the company’s targeted NT$102-104 billion for the third quarter.

LENOVO LePhone A60 [Sept 9, 2011]

Price: USD169.00

image_thumb9

Specifications

  • Features
    Android 2.3 / Capacitive / Dual-SIM Dual-stanby
  • Network
    GSM + GSM or GSM + WCDMA, WCDMA:900/2100, GPRS/EDGE:900/1800/1900
  • Processor
    MTK MT6573 650MHz / GPU PowerVR SGX 531
  • RAM
    256MB RAM
  • Flash Memory
    512MB ROM
  • Expansion Memory
    Extend Memory up to 32GB micro sd card
  • Operating System
    Androind 2.3
  • Languages
    Multi-language: English, Chinese
  • Screen
    3.5 inch 320x480pixels, Capacitive Multi-Touch screen
  • Video
    rm,.rmvb,rv,.wmv,.mp4,.3gp,.asf, .m4v,.avi,.mov,.mpg.mpeg,.flv,.f4v,.asf,.mkv
  • Audio
    RA, AAC, AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, MIDI, AMR NB,AU,AIFF, M4A, F4A
  • Peripherals Support
    3.5mm Stereo Interface, Micro USB v2.0
  • Wireless
    802.11b/g, Bluetooth, FM radio
  • GPS
    Yes
  • Camera
    Front: 0.3MP, Back: 3.2MP
  • Color
    Black / White
  • Battery
    1500mAH, 3.7V
  • Size & weight
    116.5×60×13.2mm, 135 grams
  • Package Content
    110-230V USB Charger, Battery, USB cable, Earphone

MediaTek buoyed by rising demand for Lenovo smartphones [Sept 15, 2011]

Brisk sales of Lenovo’s A60-series smartphone in China has been boosting MediaTek’s shipments of its 3.5G solution, the MT6573, according to market sources. Order momentum is expected to remain strong to sustain the chip supplier’s sales growth in September and the third quarter.

The new Lenovo smartphone hit store shelves in China earlier in the third quarter, but has been selling well thanks to its rich feature set and affordable price point, the sources said. With demand outpacing supply, the A60 has been quoted at as high as CNY1,100 (US$172) by local channel operators, up about 30% from the just over CNY800 original priced, the sources indicated.

Meanwhile, in view of the Lenovo A60’s rising popularity, China’s channel operators have released more orders for the device prior to China’s National Day holidays, the sources observed. The booming demand will simultaneously push up MediaTek’s sales generated from the orders placed by Lenovo, the sources said.

MediaTek began to ship its MT6573 3.5G chipset solution to China in August. The company was quoted as saying in previous reports that it aims to ship 10 million 3G smartphone solutions in 2011.

MediaTek has estimated consolidated revenues at NT$22-23 billion (US$743-777 million) for the third quarter of 2011. Sales grew 16.3% sequentially to NT$8.31 billion in August, and are expected to post another sequential growth in September.

Market watchers now expect MediaTek to enjoy a more than 15% sequential increase in third-quarter sales, exceeding its guidance of 5-10% growth given previously.

Spreadtrum increases TD-SCDMA chip orders to TSMC, says paper [Sept 29, 2011]

China-based handset solution vendor Spreadtrum Communications will increase its orders for TD-SCDMA baseband chips to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report.

Spreadtrum has avoided directly competing with MediaTek in the 3G and 4G segments and instead focuses on TD-SCDMA chips in cooperation with China Mobile. Spreadtrum currently holds 56% of the TD-SCDMA chip market in China, the paper said.

The TD-SCDMA chips will be made on a 40nm process at TSMC, while Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) will handle the backend packaging and testing, said the paper.

Handset solution vendors competing neck and neck in 3G smartphone market in China [Sept 13, 2011]

Demand for smartphone solutions in emerging markets, particularly in China, is gaining momentum, pushing chipset vendors to compete neck and neck to grab a large piece for the growing market, according to industry sources.

Qualcomm and MediaTek are both targeting the WCDMA solution market in China, and the two companies have landed orders from some branded handset vendorsin China, the sources noted.

China-based chipset vendor Spreadtrum Communications has received orders for TD-SCDMA solutions from Samsung Electronics, while rival Taiwan-based MStar Semiconductor has ventured into the EDGE solution segment.

Qualcomm’s launch of QRD (Qualcomm reference design) in 2010 paved the way for the company to gain more 3G solution orders in 2011, and the US-based solution vendor is expected to further enhance its market leadership with the launch of its next generation QRD, said the sources.

HTC, a strong supporter of Qualcomm, also plans to strengthen its marketing in China in 2012which will also help Qualcomm expand its share in China’s smartphone market, the sources added.

MediaTek has continued to exert efforts to reduce its production costs through integration of hardware, software, firmware and even applications, said sources, noting that MediaTek also reportedly plans to cut the prices of 3G solutions by 10-20% at the end of the third quarter in order to compete with Qualcomm’s forthcoming second-generation QRD.

Meanwhile, MStar‘s shipments of EDGE solutions have reportedly reached over five million units a month recently and will soon become a growth driver for the company, the sources added.

Smartphones moving toward hardware competition [Aug 30, 2011]

The global market competition among iOS, Android, Windows Mango and BlackBerry platforms is expected to heat up in the fourth quarter as international vendors are going to launch flagship smartphone models, with hardware specifications expected to develop toward 1.5GHz dual-core processors, large screens over 4-inch, ultra-slim form-factors and supporting HSPA+download speeds of 21Mbps, according to Taiwan-based handset makers.

Given some mid-range smartphones have already adopted 1GHz processors, the new flagship high-end smartphones are trended towards processors clocking at 1.2-1.5GHz, the sources noted.

In addition to market speculation of dual-core A5 processors for Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 5, new flagship models from Samsung Electronics, HTC and Sony Ericsson will also be powered by dual-core CPUs, the sources added. However, Nokia and RIM (Research in Motion) are not expected to roll out dual-core models until 2012.

HTC, Samsung and LG Electronics (LGE) are also expected to roll out models with display sizes ranging from 4.3- to 4.5-, or even up 4.7 inch, the sources indicated.

Taiwan handset ODMs bracing for structural upheaval [Aug 23, 2011]

Taiwan-based handset ODMs are bracing for repercussions of structural upheaval to be brought by Google’s intention to buy Motorola Mobility and Hewlett-Packard’s (HP’s) plan to stop selling WebOS-based smartphones, according to sources at Taiwan’s handset industry.

Even before the announcements of the latest deals in the hectic smartphone industry, Taiwan-based handset ODMs have mostly failed to perform well due to lackluster sales of smarphones of their branded handset clients, including HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and even Motorola and Sony Ericsson, the sources noted.

Although Taiwan handset ODMs have diversified their product roadmapsto include models supporting Android, Windows Mobile and WebOS platforms, their operations would still be affected by Google’s and HP’s stunning announcements, said the sources, adding that Compal Communications and Foxconn International Holding (FIH) are expected to suffer the most.

While some handset ODMs have also ventured into the development of tablet PCs, shipment volume of tablets from those handset ODMs have been smaller than expected due to the dominance of the Apple iPad in the market, the sources pointed out.

Handset vendors reportedly cutting back chipset orders for 4Q11 [Aug 19, 2011]

Some handset solution suppliers have indicated that a number of handset vendors, including Apple and HTC, have scaled down their chipset orders for the fourth quarter as compared with the third on concerns of the global economy, according to sources at Taiwan-based chipset makers.

While most smartphone vendors are likely to reach their shipment targets for the third quarter, they have begun to reduce orders for parts and components for the fourth quarter in preparation for a possible impact from changing economic conditions, the sources noted.

HTC raised its internal shipment target for 2011 to 70 million units in the first quarter, from 50 million units it projected at the end of 2010. However, the company has recently revised downward the target to 50-60 million units, according to sources familiar with HTC’s roadmap.

Sources in the supply chain of iPhone have revealed that Apple has also scaled down its orders for handset parts and components to be shipped at the end of third quarter.

MediaTek to increase investment in 3G, says chairman [July 19, 2011]

MediaTek will further strengthen its deployment in the global 3G chipset market by pouring more capital and resources into the development of platform products and application software, according to company chairman Tsai Ming-kai.

Buoyed by rapid growth in applications for mobile connectivity, the 3G industry and market in China has been developing in a fast manner, and MediaTek aims to grow in tandem with China’s booming 3G industry, Tsai said at a WCDMA supply chain conference held by China Unicom in China recently.

MediaTek will also cooperate with the WCDMA operators and makers of the WCDMA supply chain in China on technology development and marketingto accelerate the advancement of the WCDMA industry in China.

MediaTek has offered its highly integrated MT6268 WCDMA solution plus multiple application software platforms to handset makers to develop and manufacture high performance WCDMA handsets.

MediaTek to ship 3G solutions in August [July 13, 2011]

MediaTek has confirmed that it will begin to ship its HSUPA solution, the MT6573, to clients in August, but the company declined to comment on market speculations that it has landed orders for a quantity of over one million units each from clients including Lenovo and ZTE.

The specifications and performance of the MT6573, which is set to run on Android 2.3.3 platform, are similar to those chips adopted by Apple’s iPhones and HTC’s 3G smartphones, indicating that MediaTek has begun to make inroads into the global 3G chipset market, commented industry sources in Taiwan.

Other China-based handset makers, including Ningbo Bird, China Tianx and Shanghai Ragentek Communication Technology, have also decided to adopt the MT6573 solutions, the sources added.

Qualcomm likely to slash 30% off entry-level 3G solutions in next 9-12 months, says paper [June 16, 2011]

Qualcomm is likely to slash its prices for 3G smartphone solutions by 30% in the next 9-12 months in order to prevent other chipset makers from grabbing its share in the entry-level 3G solution segment, the Chinese-language Commercial Times quoted Michael Chou, a semiconductor analyst with Deutsche Securities in Taipei, as indicating.

More first-tier branded handset vendors are likely to adopt Qualcomm’s solutions for the production of entry-level and mid-range 3G smartphones in the next 12 months as Qualcomm has migrated the production of its chipset solutions to a 40nm processat Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), Chou said.

Qualcomm’s price-cutting strategy will affect the performance of Asia-based chipset makers, including MediaTek and MStar Semiconductor. Deutsche Securities has recommended a sell rating on shares of MediaTek and a hold rating on MStar, said the paper.

MT6573 Innovative Platform for Mainstream Smartphones [Feb 11, 2011]

Overview

The MediaTek MT6573 platform incorporates a highly-integrated core chipset, a full range of connectivity solutions and supports the latest versions of the popular AndroidTM operating system. The MT6573 platform supports a quad-band, 3G/HSPA modem with mobile broadband rates of 7.2Mbps in the downlink and 5.76 Mbps uplink, as well as quad-band EDGE. The integrated applications processing system combines a 650 MHz dedicated ARM®11 subsystem for the Android operating system; support for advanced 3D graphics; multi-format video capture and playback up to FWVGA 30fps; high-resolution camera support to 8MP and a high-end FWVGA, touch-screen display. This platform chipset is completed with a full range of connectivity solutions for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, FM and Mobile TV from MediaTek.

Key Features

• The core chipset of the MT6573 integrates the modem, applications & multimedia subsystem and all necessary power management functions into a single SOC.

• Combined with a single-chip, multi-mode, multi-band transceiver, it enables extremely small footprints that allow for smaller, more innovative industrial designs and form-factors.

• Additionally, the integrated 3D graphics capability brings gaming and user interface capabilities that were previously available only to high-end smartphones.

• Finally, the platform provides for advanced camera and multimedia features that include smile and face detection, panorama and burst shot, as well as high-resolution video capture and playback.

• The platform can be delivered as a full system solution consisting of hardware reference design and fully-tested, compliant software suite that can improve design efficiency and speed time to market for customers in the rapidly changing smartphone market.

MediaTek’s newly announced MT6573 application processor integrates POWERVR graphics [March 8, 2011]

New SoC brings advanced graphics to mass-market smartphones

MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, and Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia and communications technologies company, announce that MediaTek’s new application processor, features POWERVR graphics acceleration.

The MT6573 incorporates a POWERVR Series5 SGX GPU (graphics processing unit) from Imaginationto enable advanced smartphone graphics applications including gaming, navigation and location-based services, augmented reality and highly visual and dynamic user interfaces for the mainstream volume phone market.

MediaTek delivers innovative, feature-rich yet cost-effective solutions to meet consumer’s entertainment, communication and information needs. MediaTek is launching the MT6573 platform to address the accelerating demand for smartphones with features that can delight users at price points that meet the needs of operators in developed markets and consumers in emerging markets.

Says Hossein Yassaie, CEO, Imagination: “We are delighted that MediaTek has delivered this highly capable new mass-market application processor, which will enable its customers to address new levels of capabilities and meet emerging consumer demands for advanced performance in lower-priced smartphones. We look forward to building on our strategic relationship with this important semiconductor partner.”

Says Jeffrey Ju, General Manager of the Smartphone Business Unit at MediaTek: “MediaTek is committed to ensuring that wireless consumers across the globe can access the most advanced mobile technologies. Imagination delivers industry leading graphics technology and support, as well as an extensive and strong ecosystem of developers capable of utilising the technology. We are thrilled to have POWERVR graphics acceleration in MT6573, and the benefit of Imagination’s insight and experience as a strategic partner going forward.”

MediaTek announced the MT6573 platform for mainstream 3G smartphones [Feb 11] (emphasis is mine):

The MT6573 platform incorporates a highly-integrated, core chipset, a full range of connectivity solutions and supports the latest versions of the popular AndroidTM operating system. The MT6573 platform supports a quad-band [i.e.: all 4 GSM bands, the 850 and 1900 MHz bands – used in Americas – and 900/1800, used elsewhere], 3G/HSPA modem with mobile broadband rates of 7.2Mbps in the downlink and 5.76 Mbps uplink, as well as quad-band EDGE. The integrated applications processing system combines a 650 MHz dedicated ARM®11subsystem for the Android operating system; support for advanced 3D graphics; multi-format video capture and playback up to FWVGA 30fps; high-resolution camera support to 8MP and a high-end FWVGA, touch-screen display. The platform chipset is completed with a full range of connectivity solutions for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, FM radio and Mobile TV from MediaTek.

The core chipset of the MT6573 integrates the modem, applications, multimedia subsystem and all necessary power management functions into a single SOC. Combined with a single-chip, multi-mode, multi-band transceiver, it enables extremely small footprints that allow for smaller, more innovative industrial designs and form-factors. Additionally, the integrated 3D graphics capability brings gaming and user interface capabilities that were previously available only to high-end smartphones. Finally, the platform provides advanced camera and multimedia features that include smile and face detection, panorama and burst shot, as well as high-resolution video capture and playback. The platform can be delivered as a full system solution consisting of hardware reference design and fully-tested, compliant software suite that can improve design efficiency and speed time to market for customers in the rapidly changing smartphone market.

… The MT6573 platform is currently sampling to lead customers and will be in mass-production by mid 2011.


9 Comments

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