The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Samsung’s VC fund; CES; egg and donut robots; MEMS growth.

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Chipmakers and OEMs
Samsung NEXT, formerly called the Samsung Global Innovation Center, has announced the creation of the Samsung NEXT Fund, a $150 million venture capital investment fund. The idea is to fund early stage startups.

What’s next in consumer electronics? At CES 2017, Samsung unveiled a wide range of new products, such as quantum dot TVs, smart appliances, gaming laptops and smartwatches. In addition, Strategy Analytics has a blog from CES on the latest drones, a flexible phone, and, of course, smartphones.

Samsung's quantum dot TV (Source: company)

Samsung’s quantum dot TV (Source: Samsung)

Robots are hot. Also at CES, several vendors rolled out robots, including one from Panasonic that is shaped like an egg, according to a blog from Strategy Analytics. Another robot looks like a donut.

Here’s more on the donut robot. Here’s more about Panasonic’s robot egg. Panasonic has developed a desktop “companion” robot with human-like movements and communication skills. “The robot is equipped with a Wi-Fi network function that accesses artificial intelligence-based natural language processing technology. This enables it to communicate in a clear, friendly way. The robot is able to access and use cloud data, and commute with those in other locations. Thanks to its embedded projector, the robot can be used for distance learning and other purposes. The robot is about the size of a standard kitchen countertop blender,” according to the firm.

Panasonic's robot (Source: company)

Panasonic’s robot (Source: Panasonic)

Intel has agreed to purchase a 15% ownership stake in HERE, a global provider of digital maps and location-based services, from HERE’s current indirect shareholders: Audi, BMW and Daimler AG.

Manufacturing and test
The MEMS market continues to grow. In a blog, Applied Materials talks about the growth of MEMS and the reasons behind it.

National Instruments (NI) has released its Automated Test Outlook 2017 report. The annual test and measurement report reviews the key technologies impacting automated test environments from reconfigurable test instrumentation to software-centric test platforms and ecosystems for next-generation device test.

Market research
Worldwide combined shipments of PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones are projected to remain flat in 2017, according to Gartner. Worldwide shipments for these devices are projected to total 2.3 billion in 2017, the same as 2016 estimates.

Weston Twigg, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, sizes up the current memory market: “End demand remains good as memory buyers are trying to build inventory through a seasonally soft CQ1, in our view. DRAM supply remains tight, and demand remains high at Chinese smartphone producers. NAND supply is muted as planar capacity comes offline and 3D NAND ramps remain challenged with low yields, in our view.”

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