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By Usama Jawad96
Intel is selling its NAND SSD business to SK Hynix for $9 billion
by Usama Jawad
It appears to be the season of acquisitions. In the past month or so, we have seen Nvidia acquire ARM for $40 billion, Verzion buying Tracfone for $6 billion, and Microsoft purchasing ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. Another item to add to this list today is Intel which has decided to sell its NAND memory and storage business to South Korea-based SK Hynix for a sum of $9 billion.
For those unaware, SK Hynix is a semiconductor supplier offering DRAM and flash memory chips as well as enterprise SSDs. It ranks second on the list of biggest chipmakers and third on semiconductor companies respectively. Now it plans to further improve its offerings by acquiring some of Intel's technologies and solutions.
It is important to note that Intel will retain its Optane business, which it announced back in 2017. However, the NAND SSD, NAND component and wafer, and the Dalian NAND manufacturing business in China is being sold to the Korean firm.
Following regulatory approval in late 2021, the first payment of $7 billion will be made after which all the aforementioned businesses and IP will become the property of SK Hynix. Intel will continue its manufacturing process as usual until 2025, when the deal is officially expected to close and the remaining $2 billion are paid.
Seok-Hee Lee, CEO of SK Hynix had the following to say about the transaction:
SK Hynix plans to augment and improve its own enterprise SSD portfolio using Intel's technology and solutions. On the other hand, Intel plans to use the monetary proceeds from this acquisition for the growth of its long-term endeavors such as AI and 5G.
Samsung trialing work from home for its employees in South Korea
by Rajesh Pandey
Under a pilot program, Samsung is going to allow some of its employees in South Korea to work from home in September. The move comes as there has been a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Selected employees at the company's mobile phone and electronics division are eligible to apply for the program and it would let Samsung assess whether it can adopt working from home on a wider scale or not.
As there has been a spike in the reported COVID-19 cases in South Korea, Samsung itself has reported many of its employees and factory workers as testing positive for the virus in recent weeks. An employee tested positive at the company's mobile division at its headquarters in Suwon, south of Seoul which forced it to temporarily shut down one of the buildings. Samsung, however, said that production has not been affected by the spike in COVID-19 cases in Korea.
Samsung had to shut down its factories in South Korea multiple times in March as some of its workers tested positive for coronavirus. This even forced the company to consider shifting production of some of its devices to Vietnam to prevent further disruptions.
Other major tech giants like Facebook and Apple have already informed their employees that they will be working from home until at least the end of this year, with Google even allowing employees to work from home through summer 2021. Twitter is allowing its employees to permanently work from home if they wish to.
By Abhay V
Samsung likely to ditch Exynos chip for the South Korean Note20 Ultra variant
by Abhay Venkatesh
Samsung is just days away from holding its Unpacked virtual event where it is expected to unveil a whole host of devices. While details of a lot of the offerings have leaked already, the news cycle is still going on. The South Korean company is expected to unveil the Note20 flagship duo, and a new Geekbench benchmark listing (spotted by Twitter user Abhishek Yadav) shines a light on the processor specifications of the top-tier Note20 Ultra.
The benchmarks reveal that the device sporting model number SM-N986N – supposedly the South Korean version of the Note20 Ultra – packs a Snapdragon processor. For reference, last year’s Galaxy Note10+ variant for that country carried the ‘SM-N975N’ model number. If accurate, this would be the second consecutive time that the firm will be opting for Qualcomm’s chip instead of its own Exynos processor.
Reports suggest that all the company’s mid-year flagships will be powered by the Snapdragon 865+ SoC. The Galaxy Z Flip 5G debuted with that chip earlier this month, so it will not be surprising to see some versions of the Note20 sporting Qualcomm’s latest flagship SoC.
The Exynos 990 has been criticized to be inferior in performance and endurance in comparison to the Snapdragon 865. Samsung’s choice to pack the S20 with a Qualcomm chip reportedly “humiliated” its Exynos division. Even fans were unhappy, as online petitions calling for the company to drop Exynos processors from its devices gathered more than 44,000 signatures. The company sells the Exynos variant in Europe and some Asian markets.
Rumors from earlier in the year hinted that the company could be developing an updated, Exynos 992 chip for use in its Note series flagships. However, the firm has not yet announced such a chip. Additionally, a Geekbench listing from yesterday of a variant of the Note20 Ultra running an Exynos 990 chip was spotted, all but confirming the existence of that SoC in variants of the Note20.
Some reports suggest that the Exynos variant will be an optimized version over what is present in the S20 line. It will be interesting to see if that is true and if Samsung addresses users’ concerns about the increasing divide between the performance delta in variants of the same device.
By Jay Bonggolto
LG Velvet officially debuts in South Korea for roughly $700
by Jay Bonggolto
After several weeks of releasing bits of information about its new-generation smartphone, LG today officially unveiled the Velvet in South Korea. The device is priced at around ₩899,800 or around $700 (via Engadget).
As the company confirmed last month, the LG Velvet is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765 SoC. Also, onboard the device is 8GB of RAM paired with 128GB of internal storage that's expandable via a microSD card slot. It sports a 6.8-inch POLED FullHD+ display with a waterdrop notch for the 16MP front camera and an aspect ratio of 20.5:9. On the back, it rocks a triple camera setup with a raindrop style arrangement, compromising a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra wide-angle camera, and a 5MP depth sensor.
Inside, it packs a 4,300mAh battery with support for both fast and wireless charging. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and runs Android 10 with LG's user interface on top. The phone is also expected to roll out in other territories in the near future, but the South Korean electronics giant has yet to confirm a release date and global pricing.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Apple starts reopening physical stores, begins with South Korea
by Usman Khan Lodhi
The coronavirus crisis has been economically devastating for businesses worldwide, as lockdowns have forced non-essential businesses to cease operations to curb the spread of the virus. With brick-and-mortar operations closed till further notice, some retailers switched to curbside delivery, adapting to the conditions. Apple, which shut all 458 non-China stores in March, is planning to reopen its sole retail store in South Korea.
As per data from John Hopkins University, there have been 10,613 cases of the respiratory infection in South Korea, and the country contained the spread of the virus earlier this month. The Cupertino firm recognized that “South Korea has shown great progress during the spread of COVID-19,” stating that its Seoul store would be reopened on April 18. While iterating that support will be the focal point instead of sales in the start, Apple said:
The decision meets the goal of reopening some of the retail stores in April as wished by Apple last month. As for the U.S. stores, the company is aiming to reopen them in early May.