Vendor News

Bloomberg: Bosch Supplies iPhone Sensors

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According to Blooomberg German company Bosch has won orders to supply "some" motion sensors for the next iPhone-- a possible blow to IvenSense, the current supplier of the aforementioned components.

iPhone mockupAn unnamed source claims Bosch may supply "as much as half" of iPhone motion sensors, with IvenSense supplying the rest. Bosch already provides Apple with barometric pressure sensors, at least according to gadget teardown sites such as iFixit, and rumour has the Bosch facility in Reutlingen, Germany finds use in the Apple self-driving car program.

Why would Apple want to change motion sensor supplier? This is actually a tactic commonly used the company-- one providing both component price competition and a fallback in case the main supplier can't keep up with demand. Of course, there are some exception. One of these is TSMC, who analysts believe has the monopoly on processors for the iPhone 7 and the 2017 iPhone.

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Google Invests in LG Display?

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The Electronic Times reports Google has invested 1 trillion won (or $880.29 million) in LG Display-- an investiment said to ensure Google gets enough OLED displays for the next Pixel Phone.

Google Reportedly, display supply was the reason Google faced shipping difficulties with the current Pixel phone. However, the ET adds the investment is not a display purchase order but part of a "strategic relationship" ensuring LG Display has enough capital to produce "flexible OLED panels" at scale.

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Mad Catz Files Bankruptcy

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Gaming peripheral maker Mad Catz is out of business, announcing it has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief with plans to liquidate all assets.

Mad CatzAll Mad Catz directors and officers have also resigned, effective as of 30 March 2017, and other subsidiaries have filed or will file for liquidation under legislation in their countries of origin.

As CEO Karen McGinnis puts it, “regrettably and notwithstanding that for a significant amount of time the company has been actively pursuing its strategic alternatives, including various near-term financing alternatives such as bank financing and equity infusions, as well as potential sales of certain assets of the company or a sale of the company in its entirety, the company has been unable to find a satisfactory solution to its cash liquidity problems.”

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Xiaomi Working on Own Mobile Chips?

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The Wall Street Journal reports Xiaomi is looking to break ties with Qualcomm-- as part of "aspirations to join the top tier" of smartphone makers it plans develop own mobile device chips.

Xiaomi MiThe Xiaomi processor is supposedly dubbed "Pinecone" and is set for release "within a month." The next Xiaomi smartphone is the Mi 6, which should be announced on March (should the company stick with its yearly release cycle), meaning the timeframe makes sense. As for the production know how behind the processor, Xiaomi paid $15 million for technology from Datang subsidiary Leadcore Technology.

But why would Xiaomi go for custom chips? A first reason is cost savings, since producing own processors probably costs less than buying them off a 3rd party supplier. A second reason is tighter integration of software and hardware, allowing for more innovative features (for example, Huawei's Kirin CPU provides the Mate 9 with more optimised performance based on user habits).

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Apple Preps Ultra Accessory Connector?

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According to 9to5Mac Apple is working on a new kind of iDevice connector-- the "Ultra Accessory Connector," (UAC) reportedly a new application for an old 8-pin plug.

Mini USB ConnectorApparently released in developer preview form through the Made-for-iPhone (MFi) licensing program, the UAC connector is small connector measuring 2.05mm x 4.85mm, making it slightly thinner than USB-C and nearly half as wide as USB-C and Lightning. It is essentially identical to the ultra-mini USB connectors found in proprietary cables bundled with devices such as Nikon cameras (pictured).

But what use will be the use of UAC plugs? As an intermediary, mainly. The unnamed 9to5Mac sources say UAC is not be a Lightning replacement. Instead it provides cross-compatibility between multiple connector types. Thus, users can swap between Lightning-to-UAC and USB-to-UAC cables with the same pair of headphones, with UAC allowing device firmware to juggle between connectors on the fly.

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