updated 07:15 pm EST, Thu February 23, 2012
OmniVision hints big mobile camera wins for 2012
OmniVision might have given hints as to plans for one or more mobile companies after a rebound in the winter. Its revenue was down to $185.2 million from $265.7 million a year earlier, but it had unexpectedly beaten outside targets that were nearly $10 million lower. Expectations for the spring were considerably higher than both what it achieved in the winter and what analysts were expecting, with a target of between $195 million to $215 million instead of a previously predicted decline.
CEO Shaw Hong wouldn't say what was prompting the increase, but he acknowledged that it was related to a new upswing in home device buying. OmniVision was "well-positioned for the consumer product refresh cycle in 2012," he said.
With OmniVision's success usually depending on orders from major contract manufacturers, the spike hinted at one or more key customers having large production orders for the following season. Apple may be a candidate. Until the iPhone 4S' Sony camera, Apple was often OmniVision's biggest camera sensor customer, and an impending Apple product launch could be predicted depending on OmniVision's health. The imaging firm's 2011 slump later turned out to be tied to lost Apple orders.
A possibility exists for Android partners to be driving orders. An impending third-generation iPad launch might still play a part, as OmniVision still supplies iPad cameras and could benefit from the usual rapid escalation of orders just after an Apple iOS device launch. Android tablets are less likely as they so far have still struggled to ship in large enough numbers to affect OmniVision, while the PC slump would be unhelpful for OmniVision's webcams.