Dissections conducted by the
IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service confirm that combo sensors are
present in recently released mobile devices includijng the Asus Nexus 7
tablet; the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and the Samsung Galaxy S III
smartphone. Apple's iPhone, by contrast, uses a discrete motion sensor
solution in order to retain flexibility and implement custom parts if
needed, IHS said.
Various configurations of combo sensors exist,
including 6-axis IMUs and 9DOF (degree of freedom) units made up of a
3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis electronic compass.
According to IHS, the 6-axis IMU is expected to be the dominant
configuration. The majority of its handset and tablet customers have
converted—or are in the process of converting—to a 6-axis solution,
which offers superior functionalities over a 3-axis design, according to
California-based InvenSense, a MEMS maker and pioneer in combo sensors.
According to IHS, STMicroelectronics and InvenSense enjoy a
considerable head start over rivals in 6-axis IMUs. But Germany's Bosch
and New York-based Kionix are expected to join the fray soon, with
production of 6-axis IMUs set to begin before the end of the year, IHS
said. The market research firm said it also expects Fairchild
Semiconductor and Maxim Integrated Products to enter this market.