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Apple, Samsung still top MEMS buyers, says report

Posted: 14 Aug 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microelectromechanical systems? iPhone? iPad? tablets?

According to an IHS iSuppli MEMS market tracker report, Apple Inc. and Samsung Co. Ltd. have remained the two largest buyers of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices for consumer and mobile applications in 2011, solidifying their command and expanding their influence over the market.

Last year, Apple and Samsung accounted for a combined 37 percent of the consumer and mobile MEMS space. The two electronic giants mainly relied on the strength of their smartphones and tablets using MEMS devices like accelerometers, gyroscopes, MEMS microphones and bulk acoustic wave filters. Apple made MEMS purchases amounting to $499.8 million, or roughly 23 percent, of the $2.1 billion consumer and mobile MEMS market. Meanwhile, Samsung was worth $291.3 million to the industry, or 14 percent. Apple's total last year was up 139 percent from $209.2 million in 2010, while Samsung's MEMS expenditure was up 45 percent from $201.2 million for the same period.

Smartphone and tablet dominance delivers MEMS supremacy
According to Jrmie Bouchaud, senior principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS, Apple and Samsung's dominance is due to their successful smartphone and tablet offerings, which contrast dramatically with other Top 10 buyers who don't share the same level of success in either product offering or both. For instance, in the smart phone market, Apple's iPhone is a category killer, while Samsung's various smartphone models collectively enjoy a massive share. Apple's lead in the tablet space is formidable given the unmatched dominance of the iPad. On the other hand, Samsung's unit share of the tablet market still hovers around 10 percent. Samsung's success in the smartphone market coupled with its technological and marketing prowess position Samsung as one of the strongest potential challengers to Apple's long-term dominance in tablets.

With the overall consumer and mobile MEMS market continuing to grow because of smartphones and tablets, and given that both Apple and Samsung are the principal players in those product lines, the two companies are in no danger of seeing their influence wane for at least a few more years.

MEMS moguls
The size of both Apple and Samsung was such that none of the eight companies making up the Top 10 last year individually contributed more than $100 million to the overall consumer and mobile MEMS space. The rest of the Top 10 included LG Electronics, Sony Corp., Nintendo Co. Ltd., Nokia Corp., HTC Corp., Motorola Inc., Canon Inc. and the now-dissolved Sony Ericsson.

The purchasing landscape for consumer and mobile MEMS changed with the arrival of mobile handsetsespecially smartphonesand tablets. The two popular consumer electronics devices combined accounted for 60 percent in value of the consumer and mobile MEMS market in 2011, and their share is projected to reach an even higher 67 percent by 2016. In contrast to the new-found prominence of handsets and tablets, gaming is no longer as important compared to that segment's primacy in 2007, when Nintendo reigned as the top buyer for consumer and mobile MEMS.

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