Intel Walks Back Apollo Lake CPU Recall


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Last week, Intel published a PCN (Public Change Notice) on its QDMS website declaring that certain Apollo Lake processors had flaws and would be discontinued. The initial notification the company published was straightforward: An issue had been identified with the Low Pin Count (LPC) Real Time Clock (RTC) SD Card interface on Intel Celeron N3350, J3355, J3455, and the Intel Pentium N4200 processors. According to Intel, this issue results “in degradation of these signals at a rate higher than Intel’s quality goals after multiple years in service.”

Original-Notification

Apollo Lake is the 14nm Goldmont-powered follow-up to Intel’s Bay Trail platform from several years ago. The Goldmont architecture provides a significant performance uplift compared with the old Silvermont architecture, and it pairs the newer CPUSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce design with Skylake Gen9 graphics. It’s since been succeeded in-market by its own refresh, Gemini Lake. Goldmont / Apollo Lake parts first shipped in 2016. The original plan was to replace the old B1 stepping of these parts with a new F1 stepping.

Then, after sites had begun to pick up on the announcement, it vanished. The company has now replaced it with a new PCN and different instructions for end customers.

Intel-Notification-Revision2

According to this new document, customers who do not need “Intel IOTG Long Life Product Availability” can continue to rely on the B1 stepping parts without any worry. Only customers who need a guarantee under this program, it’s implied, may need to switch from B1 to F1 steppings. The F1 parts, meanwhile, are confirmed to still match all PC hardware requirements.

There are a few more pieces to this puzzle to consider. First, Intel dealt with a very similar problem to this back in 2017, when it announced it would set up a reserve fund for repair costs related to issues with the Atom C2000 family. These parts, codenamed Avoton, had exactly the same issue — Circuit degradation can lead to early product failure.

Also in 2017, Intel extended the expected platform life for its IoT products, from seven years to 15. It may be that this is the “Intel IOTG Long Life Product Availability” that the company referred to in the text above. What Intel is saying, we think, is that only customers who expect to need platform support for the full 15 years are going to have anything to worry about. Customers who are planning to use the hardware for a length of time that corresponds to the typical PC lifecycle, on the other hand, won’t need to replace equipment.

As for why Intel pulled this PDN and replaced it with a different one, the company is likely sensitive to the idea that any of its products have reliability issues. The fact that this problem seems to be repeating — Apollo Lake chips from 2016 are having problems in 2019, just as Avoton chips launched in 2013 started having issues in 2016 — is not a positive. Hopefully, the new F1 steppings resolve this issue, once and for all.

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Nio electric vehicles sales took a hit as it scrambled to handle battery recall – gpgmail


Nio delivered just 837 electric vehicles in July, a nearly 38% drop from the previous month that was largely caused by a voluntary recall of its high-performance ES8 SUV.

The Chines automotive startup issued a voluntary recall in June of nearly 5,000 ES8 SUVs after a series of battery fires in China and a subsequent investigation revealed a vulnerability in the design of the battery pack that could cause a short circuit. The recall affected a quarter of the ES8 vehicles sold since they went on sale in June 2018.

Nio was able to complete its recall for the 4,803 ES8s by prioritizing battery manufacturing capacity for this effort, which significantly affected our production and delivery results, NIO founder, chairman and CEO William Li said Monday in a statement.

“On the positive side, we completed the ES8 battery recall in approximately half the time compared to our original timeline,” Li said, adding that the customer confidence is returning. “Looking ahead, with battery capacity allocation back to normal, we will accelerate deliveries and make up for the delivery loss impacted by the recall.”

Nio expects August to be a “much stronger month” with a target to deliver between 2,000 and 2,500 vehicles, according to Li. That’s a considerable jump from what Nio has been able to achieve in the past several months, even without the added battery recall problem.

Nio delivered 1,340 vehicles in June, 1,089 in May and 1,124 in April. As of July 31, 2019, aggregate deliveries of the Company’s ES8 and ES6 reached 19,727 vehicles, of which 8,379 vehicles were delivered in 2019.

Deliveries of the ES8 initially surpassed expectations, but they have since slowed in 2019. Now, Nio will have to double deliveries in August to meet its target.

Other factors, and ones that might prove more chronic, also affected delivery numbers in July. Li noted that anticipated reductions in EV subsidies and macroeconomic conditions in China such as a decline in passenger vehicle sales and the U.S.-China trade conflict as other causes.

The souring economic picture in China has already prompted Nio to cut its workforce by 4.5%, shift its vehicle production plans and reduce R&D spending. Nio reported in May a loss of $390.9 million in the first quarter from a slowdown in sales that was primarily driven by the EV subsidy reduction in China and macroeconomic trends in the country that have been exacerbated by the U.S.-China trade war, Li said at the time.


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