Upward spiral of MEMS in 2011


4 Feb 2011

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This year, media tablets are predicted to be the fastest-growing market for microelectromechanicalsystems (MEMS) in the consumer electronics and mobile segment.

New IHS iSuppli research reveals that as a result of the increasing demand for Apple Inc.’s iPad and Android-based alternatives, sales of MEMS for use in tablets will grow to $140.4m this year, up 373pc from only $29.7m in 2010. Tablets will become the second-largest application for MEMS sensors in the consumer and mobile space after mobile phones by 2014, with revenue of $280m.

Jérémie Bouchaud, principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS, stated, “With their focus on providing compelling user interfaces, tablets are emerging as a major growth area for MEMS."

This year, the consumer electronics and mobile market for MEMS will rise by more than 25pc. Revenue in 2011 for MEMS sensors and actuators employed in a range of consumer and mobile devices, including mobile phones and tablets, will attain $2.07bn, up 26.2pc from $1.64bn last year.

Bouchaud also added, “MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes play a key role in tablets, utilised not only for automatic screen rotation and tilt compensation for the compass but also for motion-based user interfaces. MEMS filters such as bulk acoustic wave duplexers are also used in 3G tablets, and pressure sensors and MEMS microphones likewise will join the fray in 2011. All this will result in the expansion of MEMS sales in tablets and help drive the growth of the overall market for MEMS consumer electronics devices and mobile devices.”

However, the second-largest application for consumer MEMS in 2011, at $229.7m, is decreasing due to market saturation and declining prices for MEMS devices for the sector. In 2014, revenue will recover when next-generation gaming platforms are introduced.

Accelerometers also used in devices such as cameras, laptops and remote controls will continue to maintain the central position among all consumer MEMS devices. Revenue from accelerometers in 2011 will exceed $500m, with mobile phones accounting for the majority of accelerometer shipments from now until at least 2014.

3-axis gyroscopes are in second place, with revenue in excess of $500m due to their use in the iPhone 4 and the PlayStation Move game controller, Nintendo 3DS and the new PSP.

The combined market for both accelerometer and gyroscope devices is expected to reach $1.6bn by 2014.