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Jan 10th, 2014
Pace of growth for MEMS in mobile devices may moderate, but pace of change will not
Growth rates for MEMS in mobile phones and tablets will calm down a bit from explosive to merely strong going forward. But there will be no let up in the lightning pace of change, as the high profi le market opportunity next moves to more integrated solutions and to a much wider range of new applications, to expand to more than $5 billion over the next fi ve years.
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The fast adoption of MEMS sensors into mobile phones and tables drove a 3X jump in unit volume from 2009 to 2011, and a whopping 60% growth in revenues last year, as BAW duplexers, then accelerometers and MEMS microphones, then low cost consumer gyroscopes quickly became must-have components. Now that the market is more established, we expect the on-going rate of growth to ease a bit, but to still average a robust ~20% annually over the next fi ve years. That will drive sales of MEMS for mobile gear past $2 billion this year, and to $5.4 billion by 2017. By then each of the world’s 2.9 billion mobile phones and tablets will average 5 to 10 MEMS devices.

The market has ramped up roughly 20% faster to date than we foresaw in our last report two years ago, as innovations in Apple products, and by suppliers to reduce die size and cost, spurred faster than anticipated adoption. Most of the fast ramp of initial demand has been highly concentrated so far among a few device types from a few leading suppliers. Inertial sensors, microphones, and BAW fi lters and duplexers account for almost all the MEMS devices used in handsets and tablets to date, and the vast majority of those were sold by a handful of large players who were fi rst with key intellectual property for a device, early volume production capacity, and initial design wins with the dominant systems makers. STMicroelectronics captured more than 50% share of the motion sensor market. Knowles Electronics commanded some 80% share of the MEMS microphone market. Avago ontrolled over 60% share of the BAW component market. AKM dominated some 75% of the magnetometer market.

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