SAN FRANCISCO—The market for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in consumer electronics and mobile communications devices is on pace for record growth in 2011, thanks to the red hot media tablet and smartphone markets, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
Revenue for consumer and mobile MEMS—the largest and most dynamic sector of the MEMS market—will hit $2.25 billion in 2011, up by a best-ever annual expansion rate of 37 percent, according to iSuppli. This compares to the previous high-water mark of 27 percent in 2010, when revenue reached $1.64 billion, the firm said.
Overall, IHS projects that the consumer and mobile MEMS market will grow nearly three times between 2010 and 2010, equivalent to a compound annual growth rate of 22.5 percent.
"From the accelerometers and gyroscopes that provide intuitive motion-based displays, to the microphones that allow people to talk on the phone, to the bulk acoustic wave filters that facilitate wireless Internet access, MEMS devices provide many of the basic functions that make tablets and smartphones such compelling products," said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at HIS, in a staement. "Because of this, MEMS content in these devices is increasing, driving the expansion of the entire consumer and mobile MEMS market."
Beyond the 3-axis gyroscopes, accelerometers, microphones and bulk acoustic wave filters already found in tablets and smartphones, a new class of emerging MEMS sensors is stimulating growth, according to IHS. In this category are devices such as 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, according to the firm.
But the real blockbuster in 2011 is the 3-axis gyroscope, IHS said. Revenue for 3-axis gyroscopes is projected to soar to $420 million in 2011, up from $127 million last year, IHS said. 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. and 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.
Mobile handsets—including smartphones—will be the largest application for MEMS this year, reaching $1.21 billion, or about 50 percent of the total consumer and mobile MEMS market, according to IHS. The firm projects that gaming will be the second biggest application for consumer MEMS, with $221.49 million in revenue, followed by tablets, with $158.64 million in revenue.
The rise of a substantial MEMS pure play foundry infrastructure will allow fabless and fab-lite companies to participate. In number of projects, the startups still outpace the established companies, though the established companies have the resources to support the development, qual, and market launch process.
I believe MEMS growth is just in its initial stages. We will have many revolutionary MEMS prodcuts available in the maket in coming days. And this will help semiconductor growth to stay in positive territory.