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ST leads combo sensor market with 42% share, says analyst

Posted: 11 Oct 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:combo sensor? e-compass? wearable electronics? gyroscopes?

According to a recent report by market analyst Yole Developpement, the combo sensor market, which is estimated to be worth $446 million in 2013, is forecast to reach $1.97 billion in 2018. Yole also reports that combo sensors take up 21 per cent of the global inertial consumer market in 2013 and will grow to 66 per cent by 2018.

Yole Dveloppement's new report entitled "6 and 9 axis sensors: consumer inertial combos" describes 2012 as a turnkey year for consumer combo sensors, with high volume adoption in platforms such as Samsung Galaxy S smartphones. Since then, many developments have occurred, and the market acceptance of combo solutions has been quick, not only for 6-axis IMU but also for 6-axis e-compass (shipments are reaching new records every month). In addition, 9-axis solutions are being introduced to the market and innovative solutions should follow.

"While smartphones and tablets are now driving volume increases and adoption of combos, the picture should be different in 2018," explained Laurent Robin. "The next market wave should come from wearable electronics, where longterm market potential is huge. While combo sensors will take a significant portion of total market share, opportunities will remain for discrete sensors : from accelerometers used in basic activity trackers to gyroscopes for camera module stabilisation."

sensors

Figure 1: 2012 Market share for consumer inertial sensors
Source: "6 and 9 axis sensors: consumer inertial combos" Yole Developpement 2013.

Yole puts STMicroelectronics as the global leader in the inertial consumer sensor market with 42 per cent market share. Only InvenSense and Bosch Sensortec are able to compete. ST is starting to sell the company's own magnetometer in 2013, while Bosch has been active in launching new product lines since 2012. InvenSense has partnered with Melexis as an alternative source to AKM for the magnetometer die in 9-axis solutions, although this is not official information.

According Yole, price is still dropping sharply, with IMUs sold to some large volume customers below $1 in 2013. To stay in the race, the three leaders are going to introduce technical innovations: monolithic integration of 6- to 9-axis, use of TSV, chip scale packaging, and active capping.

Yole forecasts that value is moving to function delivery with embedded sensor fusion Sensor fusion developments must be taken seriously. There has been hype about it for many years and now Yole is starting to see commercial implementation. The first real products with sensor fusion are already on the market, such as sensor hubs in the latest smartphones and tablets from Samsung and more recently by Apple, with the M7 processor in iPhone 5S. In addition, GPS chipsets with indoor navigation capability relying on MEMS sensors are now available from CSR, Qualcomm and Broadcom.

- Paul Buckley
??EE Times





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