A smaller microphone could be quite useful in some previously unexplored applications. It could reduce the area needed in phones, BUT the one thing that this world would not gain any benefit at all from would be a smaller cell phone. My reasoning is thus: the microphone will be even farther from the speakers mouth, and the ear-piece volume will still be low, as a way to save battery power. The result will be even more people jabbering loudly on their cell phones, sharing details of their conversations with all the passers-by, who have no desire at all to be involved with the private lives of these cell phone users. So use the new small devices for new medical applications and new security systems applications, and even for new video game console applications, but not to make a smaller cell phone.
Your reasoning is sound-and I concur-but Akustica has been ahead in die size from the beginning and keeps shrinking it ahead of competitors. Most cell phones, however, are buying their MEMS mics from Knowles Acoustics-their traditionally supplier of electret microphones. Akustica has yet to crack the cell phone market, but that may change now that they are a part of MEMS giant, Bosch Sensortec.
I could see the move to smaller phones and perhaps using an array of mics for improved audio due to noise reductions (as stated above). The benefit is multi-faceted: smaller die = lower cost and better placement options due to PCB layout flexibility. does the new mic have better or worse frequency response?
It seems there is not a big architectural breakthrough but just another shrinking in geometry. So, I would expect more companies can build the same kind of MEMS mic in this size and soon the record can be broken by a smaller geometry. An era of mic array is here!
Would there be any cost implications due to the technological rigour involved? What would be the impact on the yield? And will the discount due to more chips per wafer be helpful in bringing down the cost?
Akustica's advantage going forward will be the ability to fit more mics into a given form factor, thus allowing more products to benefit from microphone arrays, with attendant ambient noise reduction on communication up-links and headphone and Bluetooth earphone products. With more mics, talker tracking becomes easier in conference situations.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.