MEMS for mobile electronics: Current and future devices to bring $6B+ by 2016

February 22, 2012 — Annual revenues generated by micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) devices built into mobile devices — including sensors, audio, displays and RF — will exceed $6 billion by 2016, shows Juniper Research. MEMS are both riding the growth of smartphones, tablets, eReaders and ultrabooks, and contributing to the appeal of these products.

Three categories comprise this revenue estimate: MEMS that have already deployed (accelerometers, magnetometers & gyroscopes), MEMS in initial stages of deployment (displays, RF devices, pressure sensors & microphones) and future MEMS applications, such as joysticks, temperature and humidity sensors, speakers & pico-projectors.

Figure. Global MEMS device revenue ($M) by region. SOURCE: Juniper Research.

Inertial sensor adoption, including accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers, has mainly depended on advanced availability and capability of gaming and navigation applications, becoming ubiquitous in most mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, Juniper asserts. Increased mobile device integration is coupled with overall mobile device growth to drive MEMS sensors upward.

MEMS sensors will become "an important differentiator for mobile device manufacturers," said Nitin Bhas, who authored Juniper’s report, "MEMS in Mobile." MEMS enable new capabilities and functionalities, including location-based and navigation services. In the future, smartphones and tablets will pick up additional capabilities via MEMS integration, such as stabilization control, which is emerging now, Bhas said.

MEMS microphones and RF components have huge growth potential in mobile electronics. MEMS mics generate high-quality audio input, and multiple microphones can be integrated for better sound, voice recognition, and more. The total number of MEMS microphones in mobile devices will exceed 2 billion in 2016.

MEMS RF devices are expected to be found in most wireless products. Recently, an RF MEMS component was revealed in a major Samsung high-volume smartphone.

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary. Access the MEMS report at http://www.juniperresearch.com/reports/mems_in_mobile

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