Audio processing IC supplier got lumped after being left out of iPhone 5, but firm sees new era of voice command interfaces in electronics.
Audience Inc., a supplier of audio processing ICs and IP, took some lumps last month when the company announced that Apple Inc. would not use its processor IP in the iPhone 5. Since Audience had gained momentum from design wins in previous iPhones, analysts and investors predictably freaked out.
Apple has been a kingmaker in electronics over the past several years, and those who lose sockets in Apple products tend to pay dearly. Anyone remember PortalPlayer?
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But the financial results turned in by Audience this week prove that the company is no one-trick pony. Audience's sales exceed its own guidance and analysts' expectations, thanks to broad interest from new applications segments and sales to another electronics OEM you might have heard of—Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Samsung—which by the way shipped twice as many smartphones as Apple did in the calendar third quarter—accounted for 55 percent of Audience's $40.8 million revenue in the quarter. According to Peter Santos, Audience's president and CEO, Audience's chips and IP are incorporated into dozens of Samsung products, including the popular Galaxy S III smartphone. Audience also continues to derive significant revenue from Apple from previous generation products that use Audience chips, he said.The company also has plenty of other design wins in other smartphones, including the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL smartphone now available in China.
But the real potential of Audience has very little to do with design wins in specific handsets. The company's intelligent voice processors have found their initial success in advanced smartphones, but according to Santos, that's scratching the surface.
"We see this as a full a nine inning game and we are really just in the first inning right now," Santos said.
Having seen Audience's technology demoed a couple of times, I have to say I don't think the firm really needs Apple to make or break it. It's great technology, which produces good results and has plenty of other design wins.
EE Times video of Audience demo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AegzOrWoNdE
Voice command is a very good stuff. However, the Siri now in iPhone is still far from the real voice command. As a non-English speaker, I found the Siri can't recognise my command almost 90% of the time. While Apple developed a version of Siri with my mother tongue, it still can't do a good job recognising my command. This time, I'm sure it is not because of my pronunciation or intonation. It is just the technology not mature enough! I hope one day I can really command my gadgets fully with voice!
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