August 31, 2011 — The market for consumer/mobile micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) is growing to record heights, thanks to integration into smartphones and tablets, according to the latest IHS iSuppli Consumer & Mobile MEMS Market Tracker report.
Revenue for consumer and mobile MEMS will hit $2.25 billion in 2011, growing a record 37%. This segment, which grew 27% in 2010 to $1.64 billion, is the largest sector of MEMS products. IHS expects the mobile and consumer MEMS sector to reach $4.54 billion in 2015, giving it a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.5% (see the above figure).
MEMS revenue for handsets will reach $1.21 billion, approximately 50% of the total consumer and mobile MEMS space. Gaming follows with $221.49 million in revenue (a decline from 2010), followed by media tablets with $158.64 million (up 331% year-over-year). Tablets will overtake gaming next year.
Accelerometers and gyroscopes provide intuitive motion-based displays; MEMS microphones improve auditory performance; bulk acoustic wave filters facilitate wireless Internet access, said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS, explaining how MEMS enable the smartphone/tablet functionality. Tablet/smartphone adoption is rising, and MEMS adoption into these devices is increasing, creating this record growth rate in 2011.
A new class of emerging MEMS sensors — thermopiles, varactors, timing devices, pressure sensors for indoor navigation, radio frequency MEMS switches and actuators used for autofocus functions in high-megapixel cameras and pico projectors — will further this trend and increase MEMS content in consumer devices.
Accelerometers will generate the most revenue for consumer and mobile MEMS in 2011. Gyroscopes will generate the second-highest revenue.
The 3-axis MEMS gyroscope, when used in conjunction with an accelerometer and a digital compass, allows for more accurate, smoother and faster motion sensing for applications such as gaming and augmented reality. Revenue in 2011 for 3-axis gyroscopes will soar to $420 million, up from $127 million last year. The 3-axis gyroscope can be found in smartphones such as the iPhone 4 from Apple Inc. and the Galaxy SII from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.; in virtually all tablet devices, including the Apple iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab; as well as in gaming devices like the PlayStation Move motion controller from Sony Corp.
Two new MEMS devices were introduced in 2011: a new type of joystick from Knowles Electronics, the leading manufacturer of MEMS microphones and a Texas Instruments thermopile or contactless temperature sensor. The MEMS joystick forgoes optical or magnetic sensors, is slimmer and less power-hungry for gaming accessories for handsets and tablets, IHS believes. The thermopile can be placed into a phone or tablet next to the processor to help with thermal management for optimal performance.
To learn more about the latest developments in the MEMS market, see the IHS iSuppli report: "Consumer MEMS Market Outdoes Itself Again in 2012 with 37% Growth."
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