NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Anyone that doubts that touch capabilities are here to stay is not paying enough attention to the smartphone and tablet markets. Consumers demonstrate everyday with their spending habits that they want more of it.For this reason, I have been an unabashed cheerleader of semiconductor giant Atmel ( ATML). Its touch technology and, in particular, its controllers have become vital to the rising popularity of these mobile devices. On the other hand, that the company's stock has lost 40% of its value so far this year suggests that investors don't care. On the heels of the third quarter earnings report, a closer look reveals that it just might be time for them to reconsider Atmel's market position
As I noted in my opening, touch is here to stay. While smartphones and tablets continue to be the major drivers of the touch market, Atmel is much more than that as the industrial side of its business continues to be underestimated. A good portion of the company's microcontroller revenue actually comes from "non-tech" areas such as motors -- devices that operate things we take for granted within the automobile such as rolling up your window or just locking your doors. Similarly, another area where the company is likely to generate future growth is in capacitive touch where home appliances will soon begin to migrate toward more touch functionality. These include washer, dryers, refrigerators etc. This is on top of the company's pursuit of markets such as aerospace and defense. These initiatives continue to set Atmel apart from many rivals that continue to enjoy the lion share of market attention. But that is not because Atmel forgets from where its bread and butter comes. The company's maXTouch controller recently earned design wins in Samsung's Galaxy SIII Mini as well as having been selected by Microsoft ( MSFT) to power its Surface tablet. Likewise, maXTouch powers several Google ( GOOG) Android devices including Amazon's ( AMZN) Kindle Fire HD. It also powers Parrot's Asteroid in-car entertainment system as Atmel continues to expand further inside the automobile.