Welcome to the January 2023 edition of neXt Curve Insights, our first edition. This monthly newsletter is a compilation of articles, media, and news that have been curated by the research team at neXt Curve with contributions from partner analysts as well as business and technology leaders.
The goal of neXt Curve Insights is to provide our readers with a regular cadence of coverage of the industry and tech trends and events that matter with the intent of fostering constructive discussion and debate on the future of technology, innovation, and the continuous reinvention of enterprise, industry, society, and our lives.
I hope that you find this edition informative and inspiring.
Leonard Lee, Executive Analyst of neXt Curve
Qualcomm made some important announcements and showcased how they are building the capabilities and tools that automakers and automotive suppliers need to design and build their connected and intelligent vehicles of tomorrow.
These are the hot headlines in the tech and industry media that neXt Curve has curated for your consideration and attention. Executive analyst, Leonard Lee, provides a brief analysis of each story. Contact, Leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org for a briefing on the details of his take (clients only).
“At CES 2023, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. announced Snapdragon Satellite — the world’s first satellite-based two-way capable messaging solution for premium smartphones. Snapdragon Satellite will provide global connectivity using mobile messaging from around the world1, starting with devices based on the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform.
Powered by Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF Systems and supported by the fully operational Iridium® satellite constellation, Snapdragon Satellite will enable OEMs and other service providers to offer truly global coverage. The solution for smartphones utilizes Iridium’s weather-resilient L-band spectrum for uplink and downlink.”
The battle for mobile satellite supremacy is on and Qualcomm throws its hat in the ring with Iridium. With Apple having already come to market with an emergency SOS satellite service in partnership with Globalstar, Qualcomm, who is the component supplier for the iPhone’s satcoms is bringing a similar service and capability to the Android universe. However, the satellite comms game is a tough one plagued by a long legacy of bankruptcy. The jury is out as to whether this will be a profitable business for Qualcomm in the near term or for Apple and a continuous stream of new entrants. It has become an important beachhead for mobile satcom innovation that may lead to something bigger.
“Apple announced M2 Pro and M2 Max, two next-generation SoCs (systems on a chip) that take the breakthrough power-efficient performance of Apple silicon to new heights. M2 Pro scales up the architecture of M2 to deliver an up to 12-core CPU and up to 19-core GPU, together with up to 32GB of fast unified memory. M2 Max builds on the capabilities of M2 Pro, including an up to 38-core GPU, double the unified memory bandwidth, and up to 96GB of unified memory. Both chips also feature enhanced custom technologies, including a faster 16-core Neural Engine and Apple’s powerful media engine. M2 Pro brings pro performance to Mac mini for the first time, while M2 Pro and M2 Max take the game-changing performance and capabilities of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro even further.
The timing of this announcement was curious as it shortly followed AMD’s announcement of its Ryzen 7040 processor series by CEO, Lisa Su, at CES 2023. Dr. Su claimed that the new AMD chipsets outperformed Apple’s M1 Pro processor (more than 1 year older and based on TSMC’s 5N process) by more than 30%. The M2 Pro and Max are both based on TSMC’s 4N (2nd gen 5nm) process which is at parity with AMD’s Ryzen 7040 processor.
In terms of power efficient and performance, we will need to see if AMD’s claims hold, but Apple Silicon continues to textbook disrupt the PC chip market by bring serious game to laptops, desktop, and even workstation segments dominated by x86 for decades.
“OpenAI has entered talks to sell existing shares to venture capital firms Thrive Capital and Founders Fund, The Wall Street Journal reported. The firms would buy shares in a tender offer from existing shareholders, including employees, that would value the company at $29 billion.
The tender deal reportedly could total $300 million. A similar deal in 2021 valued the company at $14 billion.
If completed, the deal would represent one of the few market bright spots for a technology sector facing myriad challenges.”
ChatGPT is the biggest tech hype we have seen since Metaverse and the next big speculative bet by investors subscribing to the dubious narrative that OpenAI will supplant Google. This despite early admonishment by OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman, that ChatGPT is a work in progress. An emerging theory of monetization for ChatGPT raises the question of how copyrighted materials will be protected and properly credited especially if source data is scraped. Obvious risks are mass machine plagiarism and near-term service scalability.
“Intel today marked one of the most important product launches in company history with the unveiling of 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors (code-named Sapphire Rapids), the Intel® Xeon® CPU Max Series (code-named Sapphire Rapids HBM) and the Intel® Data Center GPU Max Series (code-named Ponte Vecchio), delivering for its customers a leap in data center performance, efficiency, security and new capabilities for AI, the cloud, the network and edge, and the world’s most powerful supercomputers.”
After several delays, Intel has managed to get Sapphire Rapids out the door with the introduction of 4th Gen Xeon Scalable processors. While delivered almost a year behind schedule, the latest Xeon family comes at an important time when AMD continues to encroach on Intel’s data center business with their Genoa processors, and Open RAN OEMs and ODMs such as Rakuten Symphony seek to put legs underneath their efforts to push x86 based systems into mobile networks after a challenging 2022.
“Mavenir announced the availability of its Fixed Wireless Access solution (FWA) combining Mavenir’s Open Virtualized RAN, Converged Packet Core and OpenBeam™ portfolio of radio units. This offering provides a competitive solution in a low-footprint deployment that leverages public and private cloud infrastructure. Mavenir’s FWA solution delivers high throughput, differentiated QoS control, geo-restriction, home-zoning, differentiated charging, advanced power savings, and many more features.”
Mavenir continues to be a scrappy player digging into adjacent opportunities with its emerging systems play. Armed with their OpenBeam portfolio of radios and suite of Open RAN software, the company is delivering a FWA solution by right scaling its portfolio for what looks like a significant 5G opportunity going forward especially in rural areas where vendor diversity could become important in driving improved economics. Advancements in CPEs could make FWA a killer play.
Chart of the Month
With smartphone unit volumes suffering significant declines in the last few quarters, TSMC’s revenue shares have experienced an important inflection – HPC revenues (server, laptop, desktop, and tablet chips) have outstripped smartphone revenues for three out of four quarters on overall revenue growth quarter on quarter.
It’s clear that Apple’s lines of M Series-powered iPads, Macs, and MacBooks are contributing to this shift especially as Apple recently announced the launch of M2 Pro and Max SoCs loaded into a new generation of MacBook Pros and Mac Minis.
The big question – how AMD’s data center numbers are faring against the backdrop of massive drops in data center and PC revenues suffered by Intel in the most recent quarter and uncomfortable guidance for their first quarter in their fiscal 2023.
As it turns out, AMD’s data center business grew 42% YoY to $1.7 billion in Q4 22′ accounting for the acquisition of Xilinx.
neXt Curve is going to monitor this matter closely in the next few quarters as macro, geopolitical, and technology trends play out in what promises to be a tumultuous and transitional time in the semiconductor and broader electronics industry.
Check out the articles and the research notes that neXt Curve published this month as well as press quotes by the media on topics related to our research agenda.
- Navigating Cloud-Managed Solutions (January 31, 2023) by Leonard Lee featured in neXt Curve
- How to Leverage Private Cellular Networks to Enhance Wireless Edge Computing Applications (January 26, 2023) by Leonard Lee featured in Acceleration Economy
- How Edge Computing Shapes the Retail Industry (January 26, 2023) by Leonard Lee featured in neXt Curve
- Why Edge Infrastructure is Important (January 19, 2023) by Leonard Lee featured in neXt Curve
- C-V2X backers push FCC for 5.9 GHz waivers at CES 2023 (January 11, 2023) by Leonard Lee in Fierce Electronics
- CES 2023 Event Summary (January 6, 2023) by Leonard Lee featured in neXt Curve
- Why CXOs Must Know the Differences Between Digital Twins and Edge Computing (January 4, 2023) by Leonard Lee featured in Acceleration Economy
The Future of Transportation
Automotive is the new battle ground for the semiconductor industry. Much of the interest in this sector is based on long-standing semiconductor industry assumption that the automotive industry will be a key growth market that could offset flagging growth in the all-important smartphone market.
In early version of this thesis, the car was presumed to become a data center on wheels as the prospects of fleets of SAE Level 5 autonomous vehicles hitting public roads drove speculation that the silicon content of near-future vehicles would skyrocket. Indeed they have as electric vehicles have hit their stride into the mainstream thanks to Tesla delivering 1.31 million units and China’s BYD shipping 1.86 million vehicles in 2022.
Today, with tempered expectations of autonomous vehicles, relatively new automotive logic players such as Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Mobileye are seeking to bring software-defined concepts and cloud-native disciplines to the car and are vying to be the brains of the software-defined vehicle.
As neXt Curve outlines in “The Future of Transportation: A System of Systems Perspective on the Future of the Car”, the introduction of more powerful compute into the vehicle armed with accelerators and new heterogeneous architectures to handle multiple domains on a single SoC or compute appliance could bring about a simplification of the electronics of the car as its “digital systems” (Digital Chassis as Qualcomm puts it) are reimagined over the next decade. We actually saw exactly this with Qualcomm’s announcement this month of Snapdragon Ride Flex.
It is clear from our conversations our interactions with major tier-1 automotive suppliers and chipmakers at CES 2023 earlier this month, we are in the early innings of the software-defined rearchitecting of the car. Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Mobileye are proposing to bring new levels of intelligence to the car with their silicon systems and their own vision for the SDV architecture that could prove disruptive to incumbent auto industry chip suppliers.
However, the new guns in automotive town seeking to define the market from the top down are poised to face significant incumbent headwinds from the likes of Infineon, NXP, and other automotive chip suppliers who are working their way up from microcontrollers to more powerful, AI-infused silicon and architectures in their own bid to define the future of the car. A great example is NXP’s announcement of their upcoming i.MX 95 applications processor family with their custom eIQ Neutron NPU.
There won’t be a dull moment. Enjoy the ride.
For more insights on the Future of Transportation, visit our reThink Research Portal.
5G and the Digital Divide
Digital Twin and Edge Computing
From the Radio to the RIC
neXt Curve’s Leonard Lee discusses how 5G technology and innovations like 5G FWA (fixed wireless access) could hold the key to bridging the digital divide with Don McGuire, CMO, and Kirti Gupta, Chief Economist of Qualcomm.
In this episode of The Cutting Edge, neXt Curve’s Leonard Lee discusses how the C-Suite should understand and breakdown the concept of digital twin and how it relates or does not relate to edge computing.
The first episode of neXt Curve’s collaboration with EJL Wireless on the topic of the state of Open RAN. This session provides an overview of the series agenda and explores why hardware is harder than the software in Open RAN.
Our Detrimental Hype Syndrome
neXt Curve’s Leonard Lee interviews hype hunter and innovation thought leader, Dr. Jeffrey Funk, on the topic of the detrimental hype fixation that drives the perpetual cycle of disappointment in emerging technologies.
neXt Curve attended CES 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada kicking off with Day 0 which is the second day for press and analysts. Leonard attended a Qualcomm demo as well as a Sony press event and AMD keynote to kick off CES.
Day 1 coverage of CES 2023, the first official day of the largest consumer electronics trade show in the US. Leonard kicked things off with the inaugural keynote, checked out metaverse, Lenovo, and Qualcomm auto.
Day 2 coverage of CES 2023 where Leonard focuses on the innovators of Eureka Park, the massive and populous startup section of the conference. He also focuses on smart home, the Innovation Awards, XR, and smart health.
Day 3 coverage of neXt Curve’s last day at CES 2023. Leonard focuses on the hot topic of the year, automotive and a resurgent IoT. He also hits the big South Korean electronics giants LG and Samsung.
This special CES 2023 event vlog covers Leonard’s time delving into the vast gathering of startups from around the world that is Eureka Park situated in the basement level of the Venetian Convention Center.
Private Networks and Edge Computing
Crystal Ball Predictions for 2023
Industry 4.0 Club
CES 2023 Recap
In episode 15 of the Cutting Edge Podcast, Leonard Lee discusses private cellular networks and what they mean within the world of edge computing. What are the opportunities today for enterprises to take advantage of 5G edge?
neXt Curve’s Leonard Lee jumped on Bonnie D. Graham’s top-ranking podcast, “The Future of Now” with nine thought leaders of various fields of expertise to share their predictions of where tech will take us in 2023.
neXt Curve’s Leonard Lee joined Rob Tiffany on a special LinkedIn Live event hosted by the Industry 4.0 Club’s Jan Pingel and Ira Sharp to share our key takes and impressions from CES 2023. What hit and what missed. Find out.
Date: Jan 5 to Jan 8, 2023
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Event Summary & Takes
This is our first time back to CES in four years which seems like an eternity. After two years of virtual and hybrid formats, CES 2023 saw what was formerly the largest consumer electronics trade show get some of its mojo back. The halls and the numerous venues were fill with both exhibitors, media, and attendees. Still overwhelming. Still exhausting.
Leonard Lee, executive analyst of neXt Curve attended the pre-event media day and three days of the public event with a research agenda focused on the following:
- Automotive (Infotainment & ADAS)
- XR/AR/VR and Immersive Media Technologies
- Smart Home Products & Services
- Conversational Assistants and Voice AI
- Electric Mobility & Transportation
- Personal Computing & Wearables
- Remote & Smarter Health & Fitness
- Sensor & Haptic Technologies
Here are our key takes from CES 2023.
- Geopolitics have pushed South Korean presence and innovation to the forefront of CES 2023.
- Cross-device and platform interoperability is a big thing with Matter and PC-Android continuity.
- Semiconductor companies take a pass on CES 2023 as the chip situation improves.
- Automotive hits puberty at CES this year as companies vie to lead the reinvention of the car.
- Brands and tech leaders are backing off of Metaverse.
- System-oriented thinking is saving resilient IoT players looking at a bright 2023.
- Generative AI is the next big detrimental hype. The nonsense will go full throttle in 2023.
Follow this link to the complete event summary article on the neXt Curve reThink research portal.
Related Media & Press Releases
- neXt Curve CES 2023 vlog – Day 0 (link)
- neXt Curve CES 2023 vlog – Day 1 (link)
- neXt Curve CES 2023 vlog – Day 2 (link)
- neXt Curve CES 2023 vlog – Day 3 (link)
- neXt Curve CES 2023 vlog – Eureka Park (link)
Companies Engaged: Qualcomm, Nvidia, Lenovo, Blues Wireless, Sony, AMD, Samsung, Microsoft, Magic Leap, AWS, Clearblade, Keysight, NXP Semiconductors, Wipro, Telit, LetinAR, Bosch, Mercedes, Ignion, Losant, LG Electronics, AI Tensors Inc., Hyundai Heavy Industries, Olive Diagnostics, Atte, Recon Labs, Grow Green, POLYN Technology, Advanced View, Next Vision Lab, ACWA Robotics, EDGE Sound Research
Upcoming Media Events
Next month, neXt Curve host or participate in the following virtual and in-person events.
Check out our new Analyst Corner series in collaboration with EJL Wireless Research, The Radio to the RIC”, and Debbie Reynolds Consulting LLC, “The State of Privacy & Trust” only on the neXt Curve reThink YouTube Channel.