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MEMS mics make noise with 60% growth last year

Posted: 28 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS microphone? smartphone? tablets?

According to the latest data from IHS, MEMS microphones shipments in 2012 totalled 2.05 billion units, up by 57 per cent from 1.30 billion in 2011. Shipments this year will climb by another 30 per cent to 2.66 billion units, to be followed by at least three more years of notable double-digit-rate increases. By 2016, about 4.65 billion MEMS mics will be shipping, added the market analytics firm.

Revenue also made big gains in 2012, up 42 per cent to $582 million, on the way to a projected $1 billion by 2016.

"Microphones continue to be one of the biggest success stories in MEMS, with the rapid growth of the device due to its increasing penetration in the four areas of cell phones, laptops, headsets and media tablets," said Jrmie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. "MEMS microphones also can be found to a lesser extent in applications such as gaming, cameras, televisions and hearing aids, contributing to their broadening use overall, with further utilisation coming to set-top boxes this year and to automotive during the next three years."

For cell phonesby far the top applicationpenetration of MEMS microphones rose to 69 per cent last year, up from 52 per cent in 2011 and 38 per cent in 2010. In particular, multiple microphones are now being adopted in smartphones for noise suppression, in which the cancellation of ambient sounds is crucial for handsets when carrying out voice commands, like what Siri does in the Apple iPhones.

The total number of microphones per handset is also on the rise: While midrange to high-end smartphones mostly used two microphones in 2010 and 2011, three microphones are fast becoming standard ever since Apple introduced a third device on the back of the iPhone 5 for HD video recording.

MEMS microphones are likewise making major headway into media tablets, expected to become the second-ranked application by 2016. Even though the first tablets on the market, such as the initial iPad from Apple and the Galaxy Tab from Samsung Electronics, used electret condenser microphones (ECM), MEMS microphones had started to appear by the second generation of tablets. New use cases for noise suppression and voice commands are expected to add to the total device count moving forward, resulting in as many as four microphones in some tablets in the future.

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