Musing Summary for the Week of 1/14/19
Last week, CES was all the rage and by most counts it was the largest ever, including 2.2 million ft.2of 4,500 exhibits and 189,000 attendees. Even as Samsung and LGE released poor Q418 preliminary guidance, they provided the stars of the show; a set of 3 micro LED TV almost ready for prime time from Samsung and the incredible 65” rollable TV from LG set to be released in the 2ndhalf of 2019. Despite the addition of autonomous cars, intelligent homes, IoT devices of virtually every type, the media and the attendees get most excited about the latest TVs. But we were disappointed that the only foldable display product was the previously announced Flex Pai from Royale, which was royally received in a very upscale booth, where the new products could be played with. However, none of the big names, Samsung, LG, Huawei or Xiaomi had even a glimpse of a foldable smartphone either on the show floor or in their private suites. The Samsung QD/OLED TV was also a no-show, although there were rumors of its appearance on day 1, but nothing afterwards.
Nevertheless, there was much to see at CES and even AT&T got a lot of attention with its controversial announcement of 5G E, which is position as a 5G offering but is only a small improvement over LTE. We provide detail responses from the network designers of both AT&T and Verizon if you are interested in the speeds and feeds, latency and timing. Just don’t expect low latency in wide band offerings.
Other stuff that got us excited was the first commercial quantum computer, which was shown by IBM. (There goes the 124 bit encryption standard!); a car that can both roll on wheels and walk on legs, smart homes that don’t seem to provide anything more than a smart speaker, no new VR headsets (Oculus wasn’t even there), and a number of new OLED displays with a) external compensation to eliminate or marginalize image sticking, b) LTPO backplanes, c) flexible glass, d) transparent displays embedded in automotive windshields for head up use, and e) automotive consoles that meet automotive specs.
But the week wasn’t all positive, as AUO, Innolux, and the other Taiwanese LCD panel makers announced poor Q418 earnings to go along with Samsung and LGE. Apple also announced a 10% to 15% cut in Q119 iPhone shipments to major suppliers. Samsung’s 2019-smartphone forecast dropped to under 300m.