Of course, the real benefit to Netlist won't come until it actually sells HyperCloud to its customers, and that's brought scrutiny from investors who are not convinced in Netlist's turnaround. While Hong says its customers were also initially skeptical that Netlist could do what it said it could theoretically do, the company is now at the point where it has samples to present and show customers that the technology exists.
"To get ... a product where it is mass producible with all the reliability in mission critical applications, that's going to take some work. But the hard part of getting the product to work well has been done," Hong said. "The specifications about the cost performance and power were said to be unattainable. But we're now at the point where we have engineering-level samples, and they've seen first hand that it is doable. It has been done."
That isn't to say Netlist investors are experiencing risk-free returns. As is the case with any penny stock that has rallied sharply, risk always moves higher in lockstep. And while the share price has ballooned on the expectated sales performance of HyperCloud, it won't show up in Netlist's overall revenue stream until late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter.
In addition, there is no analyst coverage of the stock, as Netlist hasn't provided guidance. And because Netlist traded below $1 for so long, institutional ownership is nearly nonexistent. But Hong says that all could change very shortly, given the expectations for the new memory module's performance.