BANGALORE (Reuters) - Chipmaker Atmel Corp expects to gain significant market share in 2010 and 2011 in touchscreen technology, which has been in the limelight since the launch of smartphones, according to its chief executive.
Atmel, which entered the touchscreen technology market in 2008, has been making inroads in a sector where it trails Synaptics Inc and Cypress Semiconductor Inc.
“We do believe that in 2010 we will gain significant market share and continue that market share gain in 2011,” Chief Executive Steven Laub told Reuters in an interview.
The touchscreen sector, one of the fastest growing technologies, has also been witnessing intensified competition.
Last week, market leader Synaptics forecast a sequentially weak third quarter ending March, showing that it has been losing its grip on touchscreen technology.
CEO Laub said he expects maXTouch, Atmel’s touch technology product introduced in April 2008, to contribute “meaningfully” to its revenue in the second half of this year and even greater in 2011.
MaxTouch, a single chip which can even be used for complex applications such as handwriting recognition and video games, has still not been introduced in any of the models in the marketplace. However, it has won design contracts with four of the top five cell phone manufacturers.
The top five mobile phone vendors are Nokia, Samsung, LG Electronics, Motorola and Sony Ericsson.
Analysts estimate the touchscreen segment to leap forward in the next 2-3 years, but Atmel did not disclose how much revenue it expects from this segment.
The CEO also said he expects the company’s microcontroller unit to grow faster than the industry in 2010.
“The microcontroller industry is expected to grow in the high single digit to low double digits in 2010,” Laub said. “Atmel will see significantly better than the industry in microcontroller and touch.”
Microcontrollers, which are entire computers on a single chip that can be used in applications from cars to smartphones, account for about 33 percent of Atmel’s revenue.
Atmel competes with STMicroelectronics, Microchip Technology Inc and Texas Instruments Inc in the microcontroller market.
The company, which has made two acquisitions in the past two years, expects to make more acquisitions to bolster its microcontroller business.
These will be relatively modest-sized acquisitions with a deal value of $25 million to $100 million, the CEO said.
Atmel had cash and cash equivalents of $408.1 million at the end of the third quarter.
The company acquired capacitive touch technology provider Quantum Research Group in March 2008 and MeshNetics ZigBee technology in February 2009 to expand its offerings in wireless networks.
Reporting by Manasi Phadke; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier