Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF ) has been having a bit of a hard time in the smartphone market as of late. Though the company's mobile group is still immensely profitable, it now faces more intense competition across all of its product tiers, and it faces the additional complication of a slowing high-end mobile market. These factors contributed to the staggering 21% drop in Samsung's mobile device sales last quarter on a year-over-year basis.
It's too early to tell whether the recently released Galaxy Note 4 or its sister product, the Galaxy Note Edge, will be able to help Samsung's mobile group return to growth. However, here are three companies poised to benefit should the Note 4 take off.
No. 1: Qualcomm
According to AnandTech, the Galaxy Note 4 packs a 2.7 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM ) Snapdragon 805 applications processor. Additionally, it looks as though Qualcomm's latest-and-greatest modem, the MDM9x35, found its way inside of the phone as well.
The Snapdragon 805 is likely one of Qualcomm's most expensive (and likely highest margin), if not the most expensive, applications processor in its arsenal. Similarly, the MDM9x35 is likely -- as the company's most feature-rich modem -- Qualcomm's most expensive modem.
If the Galaxy Note 4 sells well, then Qualcomm's chip business should see a nice boost in both revenue and, potentially, margin.
No. 2: Synaptics
Human interface solutions developer, Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ) , should also be a winner if the Galaxy Note 4 takes off. Though an official tear-down has yet to confirm that the fingerprint reader that comes with the Galaxy Note 4 is built by Synaptics, Sam Mobile reported about a week ago that the Note 4 would indeed feature a Synaptics fingerprint sensor.
Now, what's even more interesting about the Synaptics touch story is that while it should benefit nicely from the incremental volumes that the Note 4 will bring, the touch opportunity beyond Samsung seems far from fully exploited.
In fact, in an interview with CNET, Synaptics CEO Rick Bergman indicated that "a lot" of other manufacturers would be bringing to market mobile devices with fingerprint reading capabilities. If this holds true, and if many of those come from Synaptics, then the company should continue to see robust growth in the coming years as fingerprint sensors take hold, following the trend started by devices like the iPhone, Galaxy S, and Galaxy Note.
No. 3: (Potentially) InvenSense
According to a tear-down performed in March, it was revealed that Samsung's Galaxy S5 featured a 6-axis InvenSense (NYSE: INVN ) motion sensor. It is likely that InvenSense kept the motion sensor socket inside of the Galaxy Note 4, so that it isn't an incremental opportunity (unless, of course, Samsung ended up using a more expensive sensor).
However, Samsung did announce that the Galaxy Note 4 will feature Optical Image Stabilization -- something that was notably absent from the Galaxy S5 and the prior Note 3. According to a letter from Rosenblatt Securities back in July, InvenSense is providing the OIS sensor into the Note 4.
As is the case with Synaptics' fingerprint readers, while InvenSense should benefit if the Note 4 sells well, the longer-term benefit is that as competitors rush to compete with Samsung, they, too, will eventually need to adopt OIS. While InvenSense isn't the only company that provides this technology, it is certainly poised to compete for and win additional phones, fueling longer-term growth.
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