Thu, Apr. 23, 5:07 PM
- Though it beat FQ3 estimates, Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) FQ4 revenue guidance of $460M-$500M is only in-line with a $480.5M consensus.
- The outlook is said to reflect "positive trends on a sequential basis in [Synaptics'] touch and fingerprint products, partially offset by product cycle trends in display driver products." The company is 6 months removed from closing its purchase of Renesas' LCD driver IC unit.
- Mobile product revenue (boosted by the Renesas deal) rose 177% Y/Y in FQ3 to $417.4M. With the help of fingerprint sensor growth, PC revenue rose 12% to $60.2M in spite of weak industry sales.
- Shares have fallen to $86.43 AH. They went into earnings $4.23 removed from a high of $93.27.
- FQ3 results, PR
Thu, Apr. 23, 4:18 PM
Wed, Apr. 22, 12:36 AM
- Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) has sued Chinese touch controller/fingerprint sensor IC vendor Goodix Technology and Florida-based smartphone OEM BLU Products for allegedly infringing several Synaptics patents related to touch sensing IP.
- Complaints have been filed both with the ITC and a Northern California federal court (a favorite haunt of Silicon Valley companies filing infringement suits). Naturally, an ITC import ban is sought, as well as a cease and desist order for U.S. sales.
- News of the suits comes ahead of Synaptics' Thursday FQ3 report. The company has been battling with low-cost Asian touch controller vendors for design wins with Chinese OEMs; it's counting on its recently-launched TDDI (integrated touch controller/display driver) ICs to maintain a strong high-end share.
Wed, Apr. 1, 1:24 AM
- "The iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL) Has Met Its Match," reads the headline for the WSJ's review of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6.
- Reviewer/iPhone 6 owner Joanna Stern: "Like a child who just found out that Santa isn’t real, I have spent the past week questioning everything I know." She's a fan of the S6's glass/metal body with dual Gorilla Glass 4 (NYSE:GLW) panes, as well as its 2K OLED display, improved fingerprint sensor, rapid charging support, and 16MP OIS-capable camera. "The Galaxy S6 destroys HTC’s new One M9 and other flagship Android phones ... on photo quality."
- The Verge's Dieter Bohn gives the S6 8.8/10 stars. "Samsung finally copied the right thing: caring about design." Bohn declares the S6 to have "one of the finest screens I have ever seen on a phone," thanks to a 577 PPI pixel density and improved color awareness. He also calls the device (powered by an 8-core Exynos CPU) "probably the fastest Android phone I’ve ever used."
- BGR's Zach Epstein: "Samsung’s Galaxy S6 features a stunning design that manages to be sleek and elegant, yet modern ... Samsung has raised the bar when it comes to smartphone screens ... Samsung finally stopped obsessing about increasing its [camera] megapixel counts and instead focused on improving its optics, design and software performance ... I’ve never used a phone that charged from empty to full as quickly as this one."
- Samsung's software, though declared to be improved from the S5's (less bloatware, and what remains is often buried), still gets some criticism. Epstein reports seeing a lag with some UI features, and Stern is critical of Samsung's icons and keyboard. Also: Reviewers generally see little reason to pay an extra $100 for the curved S6 Edge, and some Android users might not like the S6's lack of a removable battery or microSD slot.
- Ahead of the reviews, there have been reports Samsung has upped S6 production due to strong early interest. The phone goes on sale on April 10.
- Other reviews: TechCrunch, CNET, Re/code, TechRadar
- Expected S6 suppliers: BRCM, INVN, OLED, SYNA, MXIM, IDTI
- A month ago: Samsung launches metal/glass S6 with Gorilla Glass 4, 2K display, new fingerprint sensor
Fri, Mar. 27, 4:54 PM
- After falling hard on Wednesday amid cautious remarks from TSMC (TSM -1.1%), and falling again (to a lesser extent) on Thursday in the wake of SanDisk's warning, chip stocks rallied during the final 30 minutes of trading (SOXX +2.8%) in response to a WSJ report stating Intel is in talks to buy FPGA vendor Altera. A deal would be among the biggest in the chip industry's non-stop consolidation wave, rivaled only by NXP/Freescale.
- In addition to Altera rivals Xilinx and Lattice (previously covered), chipmakers catching a bid included Avago (AVGO +2.8%), InvenSense (INVN +2.6%), Cirrus Logic (CRUS +2.5%), Synaptics (SYNA +1.9%), Analog Devices (ADI +2.5%), QuickLogic (QUIK +3.8%) (a smaller FPGA maker), and Fairchild (FCS +3.2%).
- InvenSense has occasionally been the subject of speculation Intel or Qualcomm could make a bid. Acquisition-hungry Avago, meanwhile, is reportedly on the hunt for new deals after bidding for Freescale.
- More than a few analysts have defended chip stocks following the TSMC remarks. Jefferies and Susquehanna have argued TSMC's issues are due to share loss to Samsung (partly for Apple/Qualcomm orders), and BMO notes Nvidia (a major TSMC client) recently disclosed adding Samsung as a foundry partner. It's a fan of Synaptics and Maxim (MXIM +2.2%) due to their Galaxy S6 exposure.
- BofA/Merrill reports seeing pockets of excess chip inventory (for PCs and emerging markets smartphones) during a Taiwanese trip, but thinks Apple and Samsung phone-related orders are healthy, as are auto, industrial, and data center chip demand.
- Credit Suisse: "Our cyclical and structural call on Semis remains unchanged – cycle-to-date has been well behaved, Semi rev to global GDP is poised to inflect higher and Semis relative valuation still attractive – growing top/bottom line faster than SPX, twice the margin profile, essentially same dividend yield trading at a two turn discount."
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Fri, Mar. 27, 11:48 AM
- After falling 8.3% over the last two days thanks to a major chip stock selloff, Skyworks (NASDAQ:SWKS) is recovering some of its losses in the wake of a $15 Northland Securities target hike to $105. Northland's target was at $80 prior to Skyworks' Jan. 22 FQ1 beat.
- Meanwhile, Citi and Rosenblatt are dueling over near-term smartphone demand. Citi has respectively cut its 2015 and 2016 smartphone unit growth forecasts to 16% and 13% from 19% and 15.5% due to a belief Chinese/emerging markets demand is softer than expected. "We expect a challenging outlook for smartphone companies with high China exposure." With OEMs typically pricing phones in dollars, a strong dollar is seen hurting sales to "price-sensitive markets" in general.
- Rosenlatt, by contrast, says supply chain talks suggest little has changed. "We don’t believe that Taiwan Semi‘s and SanDisk’s forecast cuts are related to the overall smartphone industry ... We believe that Samsung is increasing [Chinese] production from 3 million per month in Q1 to 7-8 million per month in Q2. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and MediaTek are also seeing strong orders from China."
- In addition to Qualcomm/MediaTek, Rosenblatt expects Skyworks, Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO), Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA), and Micron (NASDAQ:MU) to benefit from healthy Chinese demand. The firm argued back in December Skyworks and Micron would benefit.
Tue, Mar. 10, 1:37 PM
- Though the Nasdaq is down 1.3% and the Philadelphia Semi Index 1.5%, Synaptics (SYNA +0.4%) remains above water after Northland Securities' Tom Sepenzis launched coverage with an Outperform rating and $110 target.
- Sepenzis argues Synaptics' efforts to create integrated touch controller/display driver (TDDI) chips will put it "beyond the reach of many of its competitors." He also sees the Apple Pay launch boosting Synaptics' fingerprint sensor sales, as Android and Windows OEMs look to keep pace.
- Regarding Qualcomm's fingerprint sensor, the unveiling of which led Synaptics to sell off last week, Sepenzis insists Synaptics "has a significant lead in terms of product availability and technology development," and expects it to maintain a large biometrics share. Qualcomm has argued its reliance on ultrasonic fingerprint recognition will enable a superior solution, one that can scan through smartphone cover materials and "contaminants" such as sweat and condensation.
- His target is equal to 16x an FY16 (ends June '16) EPS estimate of $6.85.
Mon, Mar. 9, 2:00 PM
- Apple's (AAPL +1.5%) long-rumored 12" retina MacBook has been unveiled - it's declared to be the thinnest and lightest MacBook Apple has ever made, as well as the first fanless MacBook. It's 13.1mm thin, and weighs just 2 pounds. For reference, the current 11" and 13" MacBook Airs respectively weigh 2.38 and 2.96 pounds.
- The 12" MacBook has an all-metal enclosure, a new keyboard that's thinner and provides more precise/accurate keystrokes, and a clickless "Force Touch" trackpad with haptic force sensors (enables pressure-sensitive "Force Clicks"). Engadget wonders if Synaptics' (SYNA) ForcePad tech is being used. Immersion (IMMR +5%) has spiked higher, perhaps on hopes Apple rivals will adopt its haptic tech.
- Some specs: A 2304x1440 display that consumes 30% less power than prior displays; a 14nm Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Core M CPU (cores clocked up to 1.3GHz., rising to 2.9GHz. with Turbo Boost); 9 hours of battery life for wireless Web browsing; a single USB-C (reversible) connector that can serve as a data, power, or video-out (HDMI/VGA) connector.
- The 12" MacBook begins shipping on April 10, and will be offered via $1299 and $1599 models; the costlier model has a faster CPU and twice the storage.
- Also: 1) Apple has updated the 13" MacBook Pro, providing it with faster CPUs, and flash memory, improved battery life, and the Force Touch trackpad. The MacBook Air line has also received CPU and flash upgrades. 2) Apple has unveiled ResearchKit, an open-source software framework for medical researchers that enables diagnostics iPhone apps.
- Live stream. Live blogs: The Verge, Engadget.
- Earlier: Apple cuts Apple TV price, confirms HBO Now partnership
Mon, Mar. 2, 11:02 AM
- Qualcomm (QCOM -0.5%) has used the first day of the Mobile World Congress to share details about the Snapdragon 820, a next-gen flagship processor (the successor to the 810, which is set to begin shipping in commercial hardware) that will begin sampling in 2H15.
- The 820 makes use of Qualcomm's Zeroth neural networking processor tech, as well as a next-gen ARM CPU core architecture called Kryo (the successor to Qualcomm's Krait); the 810 used off-the-shelf ARM Cortex A-57 cores. Whereas the 810 uses TSMC's 20nm manufacturing process, the 820 will use an unnamed "leading edge FinFET process node" (quite possibly Samsung/Globalfoundries' 14nm process).
- Among other things, Zeroth is said to enable "computer vision, on-device deep learning and smart cameras that can recognize scenes, objects, and read text and handwriting," always-on "awareness Devices that can anticipate user needs by always being aware of their surroundings," and "dynamic audio that can adapt surround sound based on head movement and facial recognition." Qualcomm is counting on the technology to be differentiator as it squares off against MediaTek, Intel, Nvidia, and (indirectly) Samsung.
- Qualcomm has also announced Snapdragon Sense, a fingerprint sensor solution that relies on ultrasonic (sound wave-based) fingerprint recognition rather than (like existing mobile solutions) capacitive touch-based recognition. Qualcomm notes ultrasonic recognition allows a sensor to "scan through a smartphone cover that is made of glass, aluminum, stainless steel, sapphire and plastics," and to "scan through various contaminants that might be present on the finger, such as sweat, hand lotion and condensation."
- Sense is expected to be available in commercial hardware later this year, and is "already in various sampling stages with most major OEMs."
- Leading mobile fingerprint sensor provider Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) is selling off in response. The decline comes in spite of yesterday's Galaxy S6 reveal and a $10 Cowen target hike (to $105). This morning, Synaptics announced a fingerprint sensor solution for gaming hardware, as well as the availability of its TDDI (integrated touch controller/display driver) offerings for mobile devices.
- Last week: Qualcomm backs unlicensed 4G spectrum, invests in drone maker
Sun, Mar. 1, 9:08 PM
- As rumored, Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 eschews the plastic-heavy designs of its predecessors in favor a body with a metal frame and both front and back glass panels - both panels use Corning's (NYSE:GLW) recently-launched Gorilla Glass 4 (offers better damage resistance).
- Also as expected: The standard S6 is accompanied by the S6 Edge, a premium model with curved sides. Samsung has also launched a new version of its Gear VR headset (relies on Oculus' VR platform) that uses the S6/S6 Edge for its display instead of the Note 4.
- The S6's display size is unchanged from the S5's 5.1", but (as was the case for the Note 4) the resolution has been upgraded from 1080p to 2560x1440 - that's a positive for OLED materials supplier Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED). An 8-core Samsung Exynos processor powers international S6 models - Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have historically powered U.S. models, but that might not be the case this time.
- A new fingerprint sensor (previous) only requires users to touch the home button (a la Apple's TouchID) rather than swipe over it, as is the case with the S5's sensor. Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) should receive an ASP boost, provided it remains Samsung's fingerprint sensor supplier and not rival FPC.
- Other features: Wireless charging support; a 16MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, improved software, and an F/1.9 aperture (good for low-light shots); a 5MP front camera that also has an F/1.9 aperture, 32/64/128GB storage tiers (up from 16/32/64GB); and far less bloatware - Samsung claims the S6 has 40% fewer software features than the S5.
- Initial reactions are positive. "Samsung finally builds a premium smartphone," proclaims Ars Technica. The Verge calls the S6/S6 Edge "dramatically nicer and better phones than Samsung has ever produced." More than a few observers have spotted major design similarities with the iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL).
- The phones go on sale on April 10. Samsung needs a hit: It's coming off a Q4 where its smartphone unit share fell to 20% from 28.8% a year earlier (per IDC) amid stiff competition from Apple and Chinese Android OEMs.
Fri, Feb. 6, 2:49 PM
- Digitimes reports (citing LCD driver industry sources) Apple is "looking to diversify its LCD driver IC suppliers and move away from its dependence" on Synaptics' (SYNA -1.6%) recently-acquired Renesas SP Drivers unit. Himax (HIMX -4%) and fellow Taiwanese driver suppliers Novatek and Parade Technologies are said to be "vying for orders."
- The site adds rumors previously emerged Apple has "approached other driver IC suppliers after RSA was acquired by Synaptics." Synaptics has reportedly "stepped up efforts to transition to 55nm process technology from 80nm" in order to hold onto Apple's business.
- In spite of the report, Himax is adding to the Thursday losses it saw after microdisplay rival Kopin unveiled a new liquid crystal cell assembly process, and stated it expects an unnamed tier-1 customer to use it in an upcoming wearable product.
Fri, Jan. 30, 9:12 AM| 4 Comments
Thu, Jan. 29, 5:35 PM
Thu, Jan. 29, 4:38 PM
- Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) expects FQ3 revenue of $450M-$470M, soundly above a $423.8M consensus.
- With the Renesas SP acquisition providing a boost, mobile revenue rose 198% Y/Y in FQ2 to $398.3M, and made up 86% of total revenue. PC revenue fell 9% to $65.4M. Synaptics expects a similar mobile/PC mix in FQ3.
- Backlog stands at $245M. Synaptics has begun mass-producing its TDDI integrated touch controller/display driver ICs.
- Shares have soared above $75 in AH trading.
- FQ2 results, PR
Thu, Jan. 29, 4:17 PM
Wed, Jan. 28, 5:35 PM
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Synaptics Inc is a developer and supplier of custom-designed human interface solutions that enable people to interact easily and intuitively with mobile computing, communications, entertainment, and other electronic devices.
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