(TechNews) Google confirmed on May 4th that it has acquired Raxium, a start-up company with Micro LED display technology, which is expected to become key in Google’s mission to create a new generation of AR displays.
Google senior vice president of devices and services, Rick Osterloh, who leads the development of Google’s hardware products, stated that Raxium has spent five years creating a small, cost-effective, and energy-efficient high-resolution display that lays the foundation for future display technologies, adding, this company’s technology in this field could play a key role in Google’s hardware investments. Raxium, headquartered in Fremont, California, will be merged into Google’s devices and services group in the future but he did not disclose the purchase price or other details.
According to Raxium’s official website, the pixel pitch of s Super AMOLED screen on a mobile phone is approximately 50 microns but the company’s Micro LED technology can achieve approximately 3.5 microns and it claims to be able to create unprecedented display efficiency.
When foreign media, The Information, reported last month and first exposed Google’s plan to acquire Raxium, it pointed out that Micro LED technology can create AR displays that are more energy-efficient than other solutions while retaining vivid colors. In addition, Raxium is working on the monolithic integration of Micro LEDs, which is expected to significantly reduce costs.
This move makes Google’s plans for subsequent AR hardware products increasingly clear. Google acquired glasses startup North in 2020 and is reportedly recruiting engineers to develop an operating system for AR displays. It was revealed by foreign media in January this year that Google’s laboratory is developing a head-mounted AR device code-named “Project Iris” which is under the same management as “Project Starline” shown at the Google I/O 2021 developer conference last year.
(TechNews) Following Apple’s inclusion of the iPhone 6 Plus on its list of obsolete products in February this year, the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 2 have also recently been added officially, making it difficult to obtain official repair services for these products in the future.
The iPad Air 2, launched in October 2014, was Apple’s first iPad Air with Touch ID recognition and utilized the A8X processor. As for the iPad mini 2, which was launched in November 2013, it utilized the same A7 processor as the iPhone 5s, along with the M7 motion-sensing co-processor.
Apple mostly considers products that are 5 to 7 years old as outdated. The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 2 have already exceeded this lifespan and it is quite reasonable to deem these products obsolete.
However, the inclusion of a product on the obsolete list does not mean that the device cannot be used. If consumers have maintenance requirements, it will depend on whether the company has replacement parts in stock. If there are missing parts, Apple will not repair this product for users.
According to TrendForce research, the global high-performance computing market reached approximately US$36.8 billion in 2021, growing 7.1% compared to 2020. The United States is still the largest market for high-performance computing in the world with an approximate 48% share, followed by China and Europe, with a combined share of approximately 35%. Segregated into application markets, high-performance computing is most widely used in scientific research, national defense/government affairs, and commercial applications, with market shares of 15%, 25%, and 50%, respectively. In terms of product type, software (including services) and hardware account for 58% and 42% of the market, respectively.
Since high-performance computing can support data analysis, machine learning (ML), network security, scientific research, etc., it plays a key role in military fields such as nuclear warhead design and missile explosion simulations. Therefore, there are relatively few players occupying key positions in the value chain. Primary suppliers are Fujitsu, HPE, Lenovo, and IBM. These four manufacturers account for a market share of approximately 73.5% globally.
In addition, the continuous development of smart cities, smart transportation, self-driving cars, the metaverse, and space exploration and travel programs launched by Space X, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic will increase the demand for high-performance computing focused on R&D and testing along the two major axes of simulation and big data processing and analysis. The global high-performance computing market is expected to reach US$39.7 billion in 2022, with a growth rate of 7.3%. The CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of the global high-performance computing market from 2022 to 2027 will be 7.4%.
In view of this, the global high-performance computing market is growing steadily but not by much. The reason is that many of the aforementioned commercial application terminals are still in the growth stage, so high-performance computing technologies and solutions adopted by cloud service providers are limited to local deployment This enables HPC servers to scale on-premises or in the cloud and provides dedicated storage systems and software to drive innovation, thereby accelerating the development of hybrid HPC solutions.
In terms of end-use, the high-performance computing market is segmented into BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance), manufacturing, healthcare, retail, transportation, gaming, entertainment media, education & research, and government & defense. High-performance computing’s highest revenue share was derived from the government and defense market in 2021, primarily due to related agencies actively adopting cutting-edge and advanced IT solutions to improve computing efficiency. At present, government agencies in the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, as well as European countries have successively adopted high-performance computing systems to support digitization projects and contribute to economic development. Therefore, in 2021, the global scale of the on-premise high-performance computing server market was US$14.8 billion, of which Supercomputer, Divisional, Departmental, and Workgroup accounted for 46.6%, 18.9%, 25%, and 9.5% of the market, respectively. The global on-premise high-performance computing server market in 2022 is expected to reach US$16.7 billion with Supercomputer and Divisional growing by 11.5% and 15.2% compared with 2021.
According to TrendForce investigations, global TV shipments will reach 47.26 million units in 1Q22, down 20% QoQ. Driven primarily by the Russian-Ukrainian war, prices of raw materials such as crude oil and natural gas have risen, while the recent breakout of the Omicron strain of the pandemic in China has incited repeated no warning attempts at enacting dynamic zero-COVID, which has hindered the flow of logistics, hiked freight rates, and taken as a whole, exacerbated existing global inflation woes. Consumers with limited disposable income have started to cut back on non-essentials with TV sales bearing the brunt. Looking at the three major TV sales regions of North America, Europe, and China in 1Q22, high inflation in Europe and the United States has led to a sharp 20% drop in demand. In China, due the festering pandemic, numerous cities have been locked down, while unemployment is spiking, logistics are impeded, and prices soar. TV product sales are at a complete disadvantage and the demand in 1Q22 dropped by 15~20%.
TrendForce further points out, originally Chinese brands banked on low 2Q22 panel prices and not being required to shoulder expensive shipping costs in the domestic market, expecting that the 618 anniversary promotional period would inject fresh enthusiasm into the market and boost annual shipments. However, now that China’s TV sales are disrupted by the pandemic, any hope riding on TV brands’ only large-scale promotional event in the first half of the year may have been dashed. In addition, Q3 was when brands stocked up in previous years for Black Friday and Christmas season promotions in Europe and the United States. However, this year’s FIFA World Cup was postponed to November, resulting in overlapping promotional schedules, which may curb sales. Ocean freight remains expensive this year, with additional costs increasing with greater item size, which is not conducive to the rollout of branded manufacturers’ large-scale promotional activities in 2H22. Therefore, TrendForce estimates that this year’s TV shipments will drop further to 212 million units, for an annual growth of only 1%, and there exists additional potential for downward risk.
Demand in Europe and US misses estimates, international brands drop orders, and 2Q22 decline in TV panel prices expands further
The top two leading TV brands, Samsung and LG Electronics, are mainly sold in North America and Europe. Therefore, since TV sales in Europe and the United States declined by 20% in 1Q22, this had the greatest impact on these two leading brands. Samsung Electronics shipped 10.9 million TVs in 1Q22, down 3.1% QoQ while LG Electronics shipped 6.53 million TVs in 1Q22, down 11.8% QoQ and down 6.4% YoY. Affected by weak terminal demand, the two major brands revised their panel purchase orders in late March. Samsung’s purchasing volume in 1Q22 was revised down 7.5% and fell by 9.5% in 2Q22. LG Electronics primarily focused on reducing purchase orders in 2Q22 and purchasing volume decline is expected to exceed 20%.
TrendForce specifically states, major international manufacturers have recently revised their orders in succession. Although Chinese brands have yet to see a significant reduction in orders, if 618 promotions are disappointing, it cannot be ruled out panel procurements will begin to fall in mid-to-late Q2. Although branded manufacturers significantly revised TV panel orders downward in 2Q22, panel manufacturers have not seen a significant reduction in utilization rate, which will depress the price of panels below 55 inches (inclusive) in a sustained freefall while the prices of large size panels above 65 inches (inclusive) will continue to deteriorate.
Samsung Electronics delays launch of WOLEDs, styming 2022 OLED TV shipment performance
This year, the supply of OLED TV panels has benefited from LG Display’s expanded production capacity of 8.5-generation OLED TVs in Guangzhou. As supply increased, LG Display also improved product specifications and prices, but this led to Samsung Electronics delaying the verification and launch schedule of white OLED products. Not only has Samsung Electronics’ 2022 market share of OLED TVs shrunk from 15% at the beginning of the year to 6.4%, but global OLED TV shipments will be revised down to 7.79 million units this year, with an annual growth rate of 17%.
According to TrendForce, Taiwan is crucial to the global semiconductor supply chain, accounting for a 26% market share of semiconductor revenue in 2021, ranking second in the world. Its IC design and packaging & testing industries also account for a 27% and 20% global market share, ranking second and first in the world, respectively. Firmly in the pole position, Taiwan accounts for 64% of the foundry market. In addition to TSMC possessing the most advanced process technology at this stage, foundries including UMC, Vanguard, and PSMC also have their own process advantages. Under the looming shadow of chip shortages caused by the pandemic and geopolitical turmoil in the past two years, various governments have quickly awakened to the fact that localization of chip manufacturing is necessary to avoid being cut off from chip acquisition due to logistics difficulties or cross-border shipment bans. Taiwanese companies have ridden this wave to become partners that governments around the world are eager to invite to set up factories in various locales.
Currently, 8-inch and 12-inch foundries are dominated by 24 fabs in Taiwan, followed by China, South Korea, and the United States. Looking at new factories plans post 2021, Taiwan still accounts for the largest number of new fabs, including six new plants in progress, followed in activity by China and the United States, with plans for four and three new fabs, respectively. Due to the advantages and uniqueness of Taiwanese fabs in terms of advanced processes and certain special processes, they accepted invitations to set up plants in various countries, unlike non-Taiwanese foundries who largely still build fabs locally. Therefore, Taiwanese manufacturers have successively announced factory expansions at locations including the United States, China, Japan, and Singapore in addition to Taiwan in consideration of local client needs and technical cooperation.
The focus of Taiwan’s key technologies and production expansion remains in Taiwan, accounting for 44% of global wafer production capacity by 2025
In 2022, Taiwan will account for approximately 48% of global 12-inch equivalent wafer foundry production capacity. Only looking at 12-inch wafer production capacity with more than 50% market share, the market share of advanced processes below 16nm (inclusive) will be as high as 61%. However, as Taiwanese manufacturers expand their production globally, TrendForce estimates that the market share held by Taiwan’s local foundry capacity will drop slightly to 44% in 2025, of which the market share of 12-inch wafer capacity will fall to 47% and advanced manufacturing processes to approximately 58%. However, Taiwanese foundries’ recent production expansion plans remain focused on Taiwan including TSMC’s most advanced N3 and N2 nodes, while companies such as UMC, Vanguard, and PSMC retain several new factory projects in Hsinchu, Miaoli, and Tainan.
TrendForce believes, since Taiwanese foundries have announced plans to build fabs in China, the United States, Japan, and Singapore, and foundries in numerous countries are also actively expanding production, Taiwan’s market share of foundry capacity will drop slightly in 2025. However, semiconductor enclaves do not come together quickly. The integrity of a supply chain relies on the synergy among upstream (raw materials, equipment, and wafers), midstream (IP design services, IC design, manufacturing, and packaging and testing), and downstream (brands and distributors) sectors. Taiwan has advantages in talent, geographical convenience and industrial enclaves. Therefore, Taiwanese foundries still tend to focus on Taiwan for R&D and production expansion. Looking at the existing blueprint for production expansion, Taiwan will still control 44% of the world’s foundry capacity by 2025 and as much as 58% of the world’s capacity for advanced processes, continuing its dominance of the global semiconductor industry.