MEMS microphones, on the
other hand, are trending to multiple devices per application. For
instance, Apple Inc.'s iPhone 4 had only two microphones, but the iPhone
5 uses four MEMS microphones. Other smartphone, tablet, netbook and
laptop makers are following suite, studding the bezels around their
displays with MEMS microphones that lower noise, cancel echoes and
beam-steer their reception pattern to follow the voice as the user's
As a result, Bouchaud predicts that 1.8 billion MEMS
microphones will ship in 2012—more than double the 700 million that
shipped in 2010. And since every smartphone maker worldwide is compelled
to copy every capability that Apple introduces into its iPhone, the
MEMS microphone market is expected to grow to more than 4 billion units
by 2016, according to IHS.
To boot, by 2017 there will be 10 new
MEMS device types in mass production, resulting in a worldwide market
for MEMS devices of all types of over $21 billion, according to Yole.
The new MEMS types, which have already been invented but are following
the predicted decade-long development process, include pressure-based
altimeters, RF switches, oscillators, camera auto-focus mechanisms,
micro-displays, micro-speakers, thermopiles, environmental sensors,
touchscreens and joysticks.
Future applications of all these MEMS
devices will also vastly expand, according to Stephen Ohr, senior
analyst at Gartner Inc., including facial recognition, context aware
gesture recognition and personal medical monitoring.
Silicon MEMS timing solutions have grown at an annual rate of over 120% since 2008. The timing industry as grown at 6% per year and the Japanese quartz oscillator industry has declined for 15 consecutive months.
Clearly, customers are rapidly adopting MEMS timing technology and driving volume.
Exec VP, Marketing, SiTime Corp.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.