Haptics, Smart Phones, And Why Immersion Corp Stands to Benefit

Jun.29.11 | About: Immersion Corporation (IMMR)

By Justin Dove

There’s a word you may want to get to know – Haptics.

If you’ve ever used a video game controller that rumbled or a touchscreen that vibrated when you hit a key, than you’re familiar with the concept behind the word.

Haptics is a term for the technology of electronics that take advantage of a user’s sense of touch. While there are numerous startups, one company is leading the field with implementing this technology, Immersion Corporation (Nadsdaq: IMMR).

Immersion’s technology is already found in smartphones and other electronics made by Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Samsung (OTC:SSNLF), and LG (OTC:LGCIF). There are applications for it in computers, mobile devices, video games and even medicine. Automobiles are also likely to use the technology in the near future as touchscreens are already being put in new Ford and Lincoln models.

Haptics Receives Global Acceptance

From Immersion’s website:

Haptics is receiving broad, global acceptance. Over 300 million devices using Immersion’s haptic systems have been shipped around the world. That number is growing rapidly.

So haptics is a pretty interesting concept. However, is Immersion, founded in 1993, a company worth investing in?

Take a look at the numbers. According to the latest filing by Immersion:

  • “Royalty and license revenues totaled a record $8.4 million for the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 30% over $6.4 million in the same period last year.” Immersion also launched a new development platform for Android developers in the first quarter. As Android phones and other smartphones continue to saturate the market, these numbers are likely to continue to grow.
  • “Net income for the first quarter of 2011 was $1.4 million, or $0.05 per share. This compares to net loss of $(2.7) million or $(0.09) per share, for the first quarter of 2010.” It’s a good sign Immersion has already monetized its innovations in haptics.
  • Immersion has over 1,000 patents pending in the United States and abroad. By being a market innovator, it has a serious advantage over startups and other competitors.

Immersion’s Growing Tech History

Immersion went public back in 1999 during the first tech boom. Its stock has had an interesting history of highs and lows. The IPO was valued at $12 per share and grew to as high as $72.88 per share by March of 2000. After the bubble burst that month, the stock fell as low as $1.11 by 2002. In 2007, the value approached $18 per share, but was leveled to just over a dollar during the recession. Since 2008, Immersion’s stock has been growing slowly and steadily and is floating around $8 per share currently.

With these new developments in haptics and other breakthrough technologies, it’s likely that Immersion will at least maintain its current level of productivity. It’s even more likely that this company will grow along with smartphones and other devices. As these products increasingly incorporate haptics, Immersion stands to benefit.

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