AMD had quite the year in 2016, splitting its GPU division off into the successful Radeon Technologies Group, with the newly-focused RTG team quickly jumping into action with the Polaris unveil, launch, and now the new cycle is coming in for Vega in 2017.
Consumers and investors are also excited for AMD's return to the enthusiast CPU arena with their upcoming Ryzen processors, with AMD shares increasing after their Q1 2017 financial results. The company pulled in $1.1 billion in revenue, beating analysts' expectations of around $1.07 billion, and quarterly losses of 1c per share - lower than analysts' expectations of 2x per share.
This resulted in a 16% increase in AMD shares from $10.40 or so, to $11.60 each. AMD President and CEO Lisa Su said in a press release: "We met our strategic objectives in 2016, successfully executing our product roadmaps, regaining share in key markets, strengthening our financial foundation, and delivering annual revenue growth. As we enter 2017, we are well positioned and on-track to deliver our strongest set of high-performance computing and graphics products in more than a decade".
Apple overtook Samsung's #1 position in Q4 and became top global smartphone vendor in the world.
According to a report from Strategy Analytics, Apple sold around 800,000 units more than Samsung in Q4 2016. Apple shipped 78.3 million smartphones worldwide and captured 18% market share in Q4 2016, rising 5% annually from 74.8 million units in Q4 2015. This was the iPhone's best performance in over a year.
Playing a huge role in this was Samsung's fiasco with the Galaxy Note7. The Korean company shipped 77.5 million units worldwide, around 800,000 less than Apple.
Strategy Analytics reports that Samsung captured a bit less than 18% market share for the quarter and 21% share for the full year, its lowest level since 2011.
Razer (yes, the Razer) has acquired a smartphone manufacturer, Nexbit. Nexbit was a startup company that gathered around $1.3 million via Kickstarter campaign for, what is marked as, the cloud-first smartphone. Their idea was to make a phone that would allow usage of apps and content that transcended between phone's onboard storage and a complimentary cloud service.
The Kickstarter campaign was a success. Twelve hours after it was launched, the phone reached its funding goal of $500,000 instead of reaching it within a month and completed its $1 million goal within two weeks.
This resulted in a smartphone named the Nextbit Robin, a phone with 32GB of internal storage. However, the phone utilizes the cloud storage of 100 GB offered by the manufacturer which is integrated within the phone's software as additional storage. The phone went on sale in May last year.
Fast forward to today, Razer "has acquired the majority of the assets of Nextbit Systems Inc. and has brought onboard the management and employees of the company".
Oculus has been stuck in real life court for the last few weeks, defending itself against claims that it stolen precious code from ZeniMax, in a lawsuit that could now be worth a hefty $4 billion.
Polygon has reported that the closing arguments have been made, and the case is now in the jury's hands. It will now be decided if Oculus CTO John Carmack stole IP from ZeniMax and had it with him when he joined Oculus in 2013, and in the closing arguments - ZeniMax doubled the damages it was seeking - from $2 billion, to a total of $4 billion.
ZeniMax are the owners of id Software - the creators of DOOM, Quake, and more - the developer John Carmack worked for until he jumped ship for Oculus. It's being argued that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey didn't have the technical expertise to built the Rift, without needing Carmack's help.
A new report from Counterpoint Research shows that Apple's iPhone is no longer the top-selling smartphone in China. The iPhone held this position for the past five years, but it looks like it's time for a new star.
And in China, that star is Oppo's R9. The report says that a total of 17 million units of the R9 were sold in the country last year, which is around 4% of the market share. Apple managed to sell 12 million units, meaning they captured around 2% of the market.
Apple became top-selling smartphone in China in 2012, and it held that position for five years. The American company is clearly becoming more vulnerable in China with many Chinese phone manufacturers like Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi gaining more fans.
Just three days after the announcement that Hugo Barra is leaving Xiaomi in February to "embark on a new adventure," it has emerged that the face of Xiaomi (soon to be ex-face of Xiaomi) is joining Facebook.
The news was posted by Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook where he expressed his excitement about the new member of the Facebook family.
Barra will lead Facebook's virtual reality efforts, including the Oculus team.
China has just made The Great Firewall much, much stronger - making the use of VPNs in the country illegal.
The use of VPNs and special cable connections throughout China now need government approval, which will see the use of VPN services illegal. Engadget reports that China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the new rules surrounding VPNs, calling them a "clean-up" of China's internet connections.
The Ministry ad ded that the new rules are live immediately, and will be in place until March 31, 2018. It was only in March 2016 that the country had a large-scale crackdown on VPNs, with The Washington Post adding that China's new VPN and cable regulations are "purposefully vague", adding that "experts on China's Internet said the notice seems to take aim at Chinese companies providing VPN services to individuals in China - and not, say, those helping multinational companies connect with their home office".
WaPo added some comments from Chinese tech blogger William Long, who said that new rules could increase the data gathered by Chinese VPN providers. Chinese technology companies are already storing the information, with WaPo saying that Long added: "unregistered upstarts providing low-cost VPN accounts on a small scale may now be forced to register and comply - a surefire way do discourage would-be connectors".
Hugo Barra, the face of Xiaomi, has announced that he is leaving the company after three and a half years.
Barra said in a social media post that he will return to Silicon Valley, where he was formerly Google's Vice President of Android Product Management until he joined Xiaomi, to "embark on a new adventure."
In a long post, Barra explained how he misses his life, friends, and family in Silicon Valley, and that lead him to this decision.
As I thought about this late last year, I concluded that Xiaomi is in a very good place on its global expansion path, and if there was ever going to be a good time for me to come back home, that time is now - when I can confidently say our global business is no longer just an in-house startup. We turned India from a dream into Xiaomi's largest international market with $1 billion in annual revenues, faster than any company in India's history. We expanded into Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and more recently 20 other markets including Russia, Mexico, and Poland. We teamed up with Google to launch our first official product in the US, and with our successful debut at CES 2017 - where we won 3 prestigious awards - the world now sees that Xiaomi is a global player changing the tech industry through our simple promise of bringing innovation to everyone.
President elect Donald Trump was serious when he discussed manufacturing goods in the US, pushing Apple to make the new iPhone into the US - this stirred Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn to think about the prospects of moving its manufacturing to the United States.
Apple suppliers could be in for a big shift, with the Chairman of Softbank group, Masayoshi Son, recently meeting with Trump in New York. Masayoshi Son, whose group has an alliance with Foxconn, promised Trump that they would consider investing in manufacturing goods in the US, to create jobs. There's even been a Sharp executive who spoke with Nikkei Asian review who said that the idea is Mr Son's idea.
Foxconn is thinking of building a manufacturing plant in the US, as the country has a large market for TVs and other consumer electronics - with Foxconn rumored to be considering a huge $8.6 billion investment in US manufacturing.
It looks like there is going to be a massive injection of wafer plants in China's near future, with Tsinghua Unigroup to reportedly build IC manufacturing sites in three locations in China: Wuhan, Chengdu and Nanjing.
Tsinghua Unigroup's total investment will hit $70 billion, according to Zhao Weiguo, chairman for the state-backed technology conglomerate, reports DigiTimes. The site continues: "Tsinghua Unigroup is assisting subsidiary Yangtze River Storage Technology to establish a new memory plant in Wuhan (Hebei province). Construction of the plant, which will cover an area of about 13 hectares, kicked off recently".
Yangtze River Storage Tech's new plant has an investment of $24 billion or so, and will be dedicated to making 3D NAND flash products, where it is hoped to hit volume production in 2018. Tsinghua Unigroup is currently breaking ground on two new plants, "one located in Chengu (Sichuan province) and the other in Nanjing (Jiangsu province) - in 2017, Zhao disclosed. Total investment in the two sites is estimated at US$46 billion", said Zhao.
Industry experts add that Tsinghua Unigroup will soon enter logic IC manufacturing, which will only expand their grip on the market.