May 23, 2006 – Mobile handsets, the second largest market for semiconductors after PCs, also presents big opportunities for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), with consumption poised to soar from $157 million in 2005 to more than $1.0 billion by 2010, according to a new report from In-Stat Inc.
Microphones and bulk acoustic resonators have dominated the MEMS market, but opportunities are emerging for inertial sensors (i.e., accelerometers) and various RF components, the market research firm said. MEMS mode/band switches and digital tuning should show up in mobile handsets in 2007, followed by MEMS-based oscillators in the following year. Growth also is promising for microphones as demand increases for ultrathin handsets, and as prices for these devices goes down.
“Although high-volume MEMS, such as microphones and bulk acoustic resonators, are cost competitive, there are no near-term opportunities for other types of MEMS to break into the mobile handset market based on price advantage,” stated Frank Dickson, senior director for semiconductors and converging markets, In-Stat. Other types of MEMS devices such as displays and fuel cells could also develop a price advantage, he said, but suppliers “may find a quicker path to profit in other markets that have less demanding cost and size requirements.”