Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Google and Amazon have struck a deal to end simmering hostilities over a battle for control of smart TVs. After a particularly damning report by the Competition Commission of India last week, Amazon announced that TCL — a major player in the drama — will this fall release in Europe two new models equipped with Amazon Fire TV software. The new pax has also paved the way for Amazon to work with consumer electronics companies including Hisense, Xiaomi, and more, who were previously forbidden from using the Amazon OS under Google’s licensing terms. Continue reading Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Intel to Restructure Chip Design and Manufacturing Divisions

Intel is fine-tuning its corporate reporting as it gears up a foundry operations that will see the longtime manufacturer and designer of its own chips extend services to third-parties. The idea is to create greater separation between its concept and creation divisions. The change comes as Intel deals with a rapidly shifting global market, where demand for chips has increased in sectors like automotive and AI data centers while the PC business that has been the company’s bedrock suffered a major decline in global shipments of nearly 20 percent in Q3. Continue reading Intel to Restructure Chip Design and Manufacturing Divisions

Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

China’s troubled Tsinghua Unigroup chip conglomerate is about to get an $800 million infusion from Taiwan’s Foxconn in the consumer electronics giant’s bid to expand its electric vehicle activity. Battery-powered cars generally require more semiconductors than those that run on gas, and analysts say Tsinghua Unigroup is attractive to Foxconn — which makes everything from iPhones to Xboxes — for its mobile chipset and memory expertise. In 2021, Foxconn secured a deal with U.S. automotive startup Fisker to jointly manufacture electric cars with automotive chips Foxconn plans to develop with Stellantis. Continue reading Taiwan’s Foxconn to Invest $800 Million in Chinese Chip Firm

TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is reporting first quarter 2022 revenue between $17.6 billion and $18.2 billion, a 35.5 percent increase year-over-year. Compared to Q4 2021, the first quarter results represent a 12.1 percent revenue uptick and 22 percent growth in net income. This, despite ongoing fallout from supply chain shortages that company CEO C.C. Wei says he expects will continue triggering production constraints. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, where the company has a plant, were cited as the most significant stressors to the company’s semiconductor output. Continue reading TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

Apple Reportedly Has iPhone Subscription Plan in the Works

Apple is reportedly working on a plan that will make its popular iPhone and additional devices available on a subscription basis. Popular first among content providers, then software firms like Microsoft and Adobe, subscription contracts are less usual in the hardware space, other than the long-term payment plans mobile service providers add to a customer’s monthly bill for costlier phone models, including iPhones. Apple itself has been offering iPhones in monthly payments. A hardware “subscription” would possibly bundle other Apple products, like Apple TV and Apple Music. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Has iPhone Subscription Plan in the Works

Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

Two years of global chip shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have left the semiconductor industry better prepared for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has created turmoil in two countries that supply neon gas and palladium, essential ingredients to create processors. One estimate puts the countries’ combined output of semiconductor-grade neon at anywhere from one-quarter to half, while positing Russia has in the past originated as much as a third of the metal palladium. Potential shortages of both materials has raised concern in an industry already struggling to meet demand. Continue reading Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

Samsung Merges Mobile and Consumer Electronics Divisions

Samsung Electronics Co. is streamlining its corporate structure, merging its mobile and consumer electronics units and paring down to two CEOs to simplify its structure and focus on the logic chip business. Promoted to vice chairman and CEO, TV research and development expert Jong-Hee (“JH”) Han will continue to head Visual Display while also leading the merged SET Division, combining mobile and consumer electronics. Kye-Hyun Kyung has also been named CEO, running Device Solutions, a B-to-B components division led by chips. The former head of Samsung Electro-Mechanics brings experience in flash memory and processor design. Continue reading Samsung Merges Mobile and Consumer Electronics Divisions

Ford, GM Seek Greater Supply Chain Control with Chip Deals

U.S. automakers are aiming to combat the global chip shortage by pursuing more decisive roles in their semiconductor supply chains. Ford CEO Jim Farley announced a relationship with GlobalFoundries that heralds Ford’s entre to chipmaking, describing the deal as “just the beginning, and a key part of our plan to vertically integrate key technologies and capabilities that will differentiate Ford far into the future.” GM president Mark Reuss emphasized North American manufacturing in unveiling seven companies with which his company will be working on the design and delivery of new processors. Continue reading Ford, GM Seek Greater Supply Chain Control with Chip Deals

TSMC to Raise Its Chip Prices as Global Shortage Continues

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) — the world’s largest contract chipmaker — plans to raise prices on its most advanced chips by about 10 percent and less advanced chips by about 20 percent, to take effect late this year or in early 2022. The price hike is taking place during a global shortage of semiconductors that already impacts auto companies including General Motors and Toyota Motor, an array of consumer electronics, and major tech companies such as Apple, which uses TSMC chips in its smartphones. GM closed three North American factories and Toyota will slow production by 40 percent in September. Continue reading TSMC to Raise Its Chip Prices as Global Shortage Continues

Foxconn Has Plans for Expansion, Buys Chipmaker Macronix

Foxconn Technology Group, best known for assembling Apple iPhones, will acquire Taiwan chipmaker Macronix International for approximately $90.8 million (T$2.52 billion) to boost its entry into the electric vehicle (EV) market. Foxconn earlier announced plans to assemble cars for EV startup Fisker and team up with Stellantis, manufacturer of Jeep and Chrysler, to develop in-car software. Macronix’s six-inch wafers are made of silicon carbide, regarded as preferable for tasks such as fast charging. Continue reading Foxconn Has Plans for Expansion, Buys Chipmaker Macronix

Intel Chief Warns the Chip Shortage Could Last Through 2023

Experts have warned that the semiconductor shortage will endure, and now Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger has added his voice with the prediction that the shortage could stretch into 2023. Volkswagen also cautioned that the shortage may get worse in the next six months. The chip shortage is not only causing production delays in the auto industry but raising prices for consumer electronics. Gelsinger said it could take one or two years to achieve a “reasonable supply-and-demand balance.” “We have a long way to go yet,” he suggested. Continue reading Intel Chief Warns the Chip Shortage Could Last Through 2023

France Establishes Repairability Index for Electronic Devices

France has pioneered a new “repairability index” for all electronic devices sold in that country. The criteria for the final score include how easy it is to take the device apart, availability of spare parts and technical documentation. The index will be implemented, with fines for non-compliance, beginning next year. This move is part of France’s stated goal to fight planned obsolescence, as manufacturers intentionally create products that need to be replaced frequently. Fighting such obsolescence reduces waste and France’s effort may serve as a model for other countries. Continue reading France Establishes Repairability Index for Electronic Devices

CTA Announces All-Digital Experience for January’s CES 2021

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced that its next annual CES confab, scheduled for January 6-9, will be “an all-digital experience” due to the coronavirus pandemic. While prioritizing the health and safety of exhibitors and attendees, the virtual experience promises the usual keynotes and conferences, product showcases, media events, and opportunities for meetings and networking. According to CTA chief exec Gary Shapiro, “Technology helps us all work, learn and connect during the pandemic — and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way.” Continue reading CTA Announces All-Digital Experience for January’s CES 2021

Pandemic Shutdown Leading to Major Shifts in E-Commerce

When the U.S. shut down in March, people went online to shop. Adobe’s Digital Economy Index reported that U.S. e-commerce skyrocketed 49 percent in April, compared to the baseline period in early March. Some e-commerce companies have become stronger during the shutdown. But buying patterns have been volatile, with the latest uptick sparked by government stimulus checks that were sent out April 11. Many experts believe that consumer habits are changing in ways that will continue beyond the threat of the coronavirus. Continue reading Pandemic Shutdown Leading to Major Shifts in E-Commerce

As Sales Shift to E-Commerce, Bose Shutters Retail Stores

Bose, which opened its first retail store in 1993, will close its remaining 119 retail stores in Australia, Europe, Japan and North America. The company didn’t reveal how many jobs will be lost due to the closures, but it is believed to be in the hundreds. Bose stated that the move is due to “the dramatic shift to online shopping in specific markets,” and that “approximately 130 stores located in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates; and additional stores in India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea” will remain open. Continue reading As Sales Shift to E-Commerce, Bose Shutters Retail Stores