CrucialTec, Korea’s Hidden Global Champion
Optical Trackpads (OTPs) - which are based on nano-optical technology and operate in much the same way as computer mice on high-performance handheld devices such as smartphones.
One of the most advanced input devices for next generation handhelds is OTP, developed by CrucialTec Co., a Korea-based next-generation input device provider. CrucialTec is pushing the envelope with its OTP: it has been ramping up sales of OTP in Asia and striking new deals with Chinese and Japanese companies.
CrucialTec, who developed and commercialized the world's first nano-optic based input device called OTP, holds more than 200 patents - for example, on Samsung's finger mouse in 2007- and has been doing brisk business with global heavyweights such as RIM, Intel, Panasonic and Nokia , not to mention Samsung and LG.
CrucialTec's Optical Trackpads helps mobile users easily scroll through the information they need. Take games for example. In the past, games with only two-dimensional directional controls were played in a limited environment. Yet CrucialTec's OTP makes 3D games far juicier by supporting smooth scrolling, lateral and 360-degree movement, trigger movement and 4-way directional scrolling. On top of that, OTP has differentiated itself with its high interoperability and general-purpose applicability: the OPT fits well into all kinds of display devices, ranging from smartphones and feature phones to table PCs, netbooks and IPTVs.
Accumulated sales of OTPs stood at 40 million, a figure that pales greatly in comparison with the worldwide sales of 1.2 billion units last year. In other words, the global mobile phone market alone has still a lot of room for further growth. That's why CrucialTec has launched a project aimed at offsetting declines in the prices of OTPs with software development. CrucialTec is also planning on developing relevant software applications, which enable playing games and making presentations by using OTPs, and selling them at App stores.
As global sales of smartphones are predicted to grow a remarkable 35 percent to 170 million units in 2013 from 120 million units in 2009, sales of CrucialTec's Optical Trackpads have been on an upward trajectory, gaining around seven percent compared to last year.
Up until last year, roughly half of CrucialTec's sales had come from its OTP and the rest from its LED flash. However, as demand for OTPs, especially from Asian set makers, has been shooting up since the start of this year, the share of OTPs in the company's total sales zoomed up to 70 percent. Increased sales of relatively high-margin OTPs are translating into higher profitability. CrucialTec has already supplanted RIM's iconic trackpad "Trackball" with its OTP, and has two years worth of OTP inventory. Besides, CrucialTec is projected to continue to post double-digit growth in operating profit this year.
"Boosted by growing demand from existing corporate customers and a rise in new business projects launched by HTC (a Taiwan-based manufacturer of smartphones), Samsung and LG, we expect sales of OTPs will hover around KRW 28 billion in the first quarter of this year and exceed KRW 110 billion in year 2010. If these estimates turn out to be true, we will see a whopping 250% surge in sales on a year-on-year basis. Given the fact that first-quarter sales are usually slow, this would be a neck-breaking growth rate." said Charles Ahn, CEO of CrucialTec.
Thanks to nanotechnology, CrucialTec is armed with its OTP that is less than 2mm thick and has a business strategy to turn one-off transactions into long lasting relationships by continuously offering useful solutions to customers. In addition, the company is poised to boost the number of OTP-toting mobile phones in the global market.