While many inside-the-computer names have disappeared, Intel, AMD, Nvidia and several others have not only survived by are ready for the next wave, reinventing themselves for the new mobile devices spurt.
This recent history suggests that, as Apple, Google, Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft jockey for position in the battle for mobile device preeminence, the safer long-term play may eventually prove to be the chip names that are on the inside.
While Intel still dominates, Qualcomm controls the internal component space of approximately 250 million smartphones and other devices. ARM Holdings enjoys a considerable amount of space inside iPhones, iPads as well as several Google devices and the company's powerful chip technology will also be featured in Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system. That has to be one of the best businesses on the market today.
There is also a lot to like with Atmel. The attractive nature of Atmel is that although it lacks the advantage of being inside Apple products, the company competes and has a sizeable advantage over its rivals in the non-mobile device market.For that matter, I think the stock is very intriguing from a fundamental perspective as it is now a steal at current levels and trading below its book value. I like the fact that it is in markets which include microcontrollers, programmable logic devices and a wide range of proprietary system-on-chips and non-volatile memory chips. It stands to reason that companies on the "inside" in the rise of the smart phone and devices market will prove as valuable as they did in the rise of the PC. These devices combine various social networking, gaming, scheduling and other business functions and have quickly moved from "wants" to "must-haves." Analysts expect their usage to continue to explode. So the question is, why do some of these names continue to trade at a discount? It seems investors have not sought to take advantage or they're not paying enough attention. Follow @rsaintvilus At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and held no position in any of the stocks mentioned. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.