Atmel: Still Waiting on Android Tablets

People still aren't buying Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android tablets. The only one that's selling well looks nothing like Android due to heavy forking on Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) part. We still don't know exactly how many Kindle Fires are moving, but we know that it's a lot.

That gloomy reality has been weighing on touchscreen microcontroller maker Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML  ) , who just released fourth quarter earnings last night. Fourth quarter revenue decreased 16% to $383.6 million, with non-GAAP earnings per share falling to $0.14.

For the full year, sales rose by 10% to $1.8 billion, but that doesn't tell the whole story since Atmel divested its Smart Card business in 2010. After adjusting for that divestiture, revenue actually grew by 15%. Adjusted net income for the year jumped 55% to $438 million, or $0.92 per share.

Atmel's maXTouch revenue exceeded $375 million for the year, and the company hit a record gross margin of 50.4%. Its microcontrollers continue to dominate the newest Android smartphones, but the lack of Android tablet adoption has been holding back touchscreen microcontroller makers -- including rival Cypress Semiconductor (NYSE: CY  ) -- that aren't lucky enough to be in Apple's iPad.

Texas Instruments has had a lock on that spot for years, and Ilitek scored the Kindle Fire design win. Atmel is rumored to be in the running for the Kindle Fire 2, but there's still no official word on the gadget.

Next quarter doesn't look like it's going to get better, with the top line pegged between $341.4 million to $360.6 million, lower than the Street estimate of $386.3 million. Although CEO Steve Laub said the company expects the first quarter "will be the bottom for our business activity and that sequential growth will resume in the second quarter."

Beyond Android, Atmel also has high hopes for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows 8 tablets, and its new single-chip maXTouch S Series was selected as the microcontroller for numerous Windows 8 reference designs.

This story is going to take a long time to play out, but Atmel will be riding the mobile revolution thanks to its touchscreen microcontrollers. If you need even more ways to play mobile, we've just released a new special free report on "3 Hidden Winners of the iPhone, iPad, and Android Revolution." We name three crucial component suppliers that are quietly cashing in on the boom from the inside. Get your free copy now.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, Amazon.com, and Cypress Semiconductor, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Texas Instruments, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended; creating a bull call spread position in Apple; and creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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