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iPhone mania lifts MEMS market

Posted: 17 Dec 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS? iPhone? accelerometer? mobile market?

Global revenue from shipments of MEMS for mobile handsets and smart phones is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 34.4 percent from 2007 through 2012, largely to the success of Apple Inc.'s iPhone and competitive offerings, according to iSuppli Corp.

Revenue from MEMS shipments into handsets is forecast to grow from $396.8 million in 2007 to $1.3 billion by the end of 2012, iSuppli said.

The iPhone's success is spurring competitors to offer products with comparable features, fueling a sales boom for MEMS accelerometers used to detect motion in smart phones, the firm said.

"Apple's visionary use of MEMS accelerometers that support the automatic switch from landscape to portrait view on the iPhone display has prompted a flood of competitors to follow suit," said Jrmie Bouchaud, iSuppli's principal analyst for MEMS, in a statement.

By the end of 2008, 10 percent of the 1.29 billion mobile devices shipped worldwide will include MEMS accelerometers, up from 2 percent at the end of 2007, iSuppli said. The global MEMS accelerometer market for mobile phones and other consumer electronics will grow to 900 million units in 2012, up from 65 million in 2007.

Accelerometer suppliers like STMicroelectronics, Bosch, Analog Devices and Kionix are the major beneficiaries of the increased use of MEMS accelerometers for mobile handsets, iSuppli said.

Revenue from MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers in video game console controllers will grow at a compound annual rate of 11 percent from 2006 through 2012, reaching $240 million, thanks to systems like Nintendo's Wii and Sony's Playstation 3, iSuppli predicted.

PCs also will be a hotbed for MEMS demand in the coming years, iSuppli said.

Bouchaud said MEMS motion sensors that detect free-fall in laptops to help protect hard disk drives have become standard in commercial laptops and will begin to penetrate the consumer market in 2009. Digital MEMS microphones also will become a more prevalent feature in laptops to enhance VoIP applications, he said. These applications will grow at a compound annual rate of 22 percent, reaching $182 million in 2012, Bouchaud predicted.

iSuppli's forthcoming report, Consumer Electronics and Mobile MEMS Market Tracker, Q4 2008, will detail the opportunity for MEMS in consumer and mobile applications.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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