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Is Atmel Doomed?

Will there be a recovery in sales of Android tablets? Last week's news from Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML  ) and a disappointing outlook from Cypress Semiconductor (NYSE: CY  ) don't inspire much faith.

Atmel, which makes touchscreen controllers for Dell and Samsung devices, revised revenue estimates by $11 million because of "rescheduled payments" on a receivable associated with an Asian distributor. Here's a closer look at what analysts were expecting:


Q4 2011 (Estimate)

Q4 2010

Estimated Growth

Revenue $401.5 million $457.8 million (12.3%)
Earnings Per Share $0.09 $0.47 (80.9%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

And those are the good numbers. Atmel has since cut its own internal target from $395 million in Q4 revenue to $384 million. Yet there may also be a silver lining in all this. For all the volatility in its business, Atmel has outperformed earnings-per-share expectations in each of the past four quarters, including a $0.20-per-share beat in Q3.

3 more things to watch
Of course, we're about more than just numbers here at The Motley Fool. As business-focused investors we're also interested in strategy and company initiatives. Here are three things I'm particularly hoping to hear more about:

  • Chip transition. Atmel has introduced a single-chip RFID reader and is working on more wireless and mobile single-chip products. What does the growth trajectory look like? What further investments are required to produce long-term growth?
  • Smartphone savvy. Android handsets are selling about as fast as the iPhone 4S. Will new Samsung handsets be a catalyst? What about the Samsung Galaxy Note that made its debut at the Super Bowl and which is expected in Q4?
  • Can anyone beat Apple? More than 15 million iPads sold last quarter, which had to have put a crimp in Atmel's profit potential. What does demand look like among Asian manufacturers in light of demand for the iPad? Could there be more "rescheduled" receivables on the horizon?

Those are my questions. Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect to hear from Atmel tomorrow? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

And whatever you think, don't let Atmel's results discourage you. There's more than one way to play the mobile-device boom. The Motley Fool recently identified a handful of top picks from our analysts in a new report entitled, "3 Hidden Winners of the iPhone, iPad, and Android Revolution." Get your copy now by clicking here -- the research is 100% free for a limited time.

 Add Atmel to My Watchlist for up-to-the-minute Foolish coverage of the stock and your entire portfolio.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Cypress Semiconductor, writing covered calls in Dell, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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