Due to the growing need for miniaturization and improved functionality, a variety of consumer electronics products, such as mobile phones, disk drives, digital cameras, video game interfaces, and GPS devices have increasingly begun to integrate micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). MEMS manufacturers and suppliers stand to gain from the immense growth potential of this market.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (semiconductors.frost.com), World Markets for MEMS in Notebooks and Digital Cameras, finds that the market earned revenues of approximately $45.2 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $129.5 million in 2010.
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The growing need for high-quality audio in notebooks has mobilized the industry to adopt MEMS microphones. For instance, high-end notebooks now integrate MEMS microphones for voice-over IP (VoIP) applications due to their small size and immunity to interference.
"Consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of the need for data protection in portable devices such as notebooks and are turning to MEMS accelerometers to provide hard disk drive (HDD) protection," observes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jayalakshmi Janakiraman. "Several notebook models currently in the market incorporate accelerometers for hard disk drive protection, which will likely become a ubiquitous feature in notebooks of the future as prices reduce and performance improves."
Additionally, image stabilization drives many consumers to replace their older cameras with new models which has resulted in the rapid adoption of MEMS gyroscopes.
"The consumer electronics market requires constant enhancements in the MEMS product line and manufacturers must maintain their competitive edge through the development of innovative designs and solutions," explains Janakiraman. "Companies that work to make their product's performance, size and reliability unique will attract OEM partnerships."
Time-to-market also represents a critical factor and MEMS suppliers need to reduce development time for their products to succeed in the market. Superior cycle times and faster time-to-revenues will guarantee operational excellence of the market participants as well as aid the continued commercialization of MEMS.
MEMS suppliers need to continue manufacturing products at a competitive cost without compromising customer expectations for the further integration of MEMS in consumer electronics.
Trends also point toward high-level integration and the development of devices with the ability to perform multiple functions. Placing both the MEMS and the IC on a single chip almost doubles the cost of silicon, thereby limiting manufacturing flexibility. However, it considerably reduces packaging costs and provides several performance advantages.
When monolithic integration is not feasible, hybrid solutions satisfy the requirements and provide superior designs. Therefore, integration must overcome yield concerns and reduce prices in order to perform significantly better than hybrid solutions. Overall, the integration of MEMS and ICs is necessary for the long-term commercial success of MEMS.
In terms of customer preference, the trend in the MEMS motion sensors market seems to lean toward digital interface and smaller form factor. Customers also expect the device to integrate some basic functions as hard wire or algorithm. Three-axis sensing will likely open up a host of new applications, particularly in the areas of enhanced man-machine interface, power management, and shock resistance. In the consumer market, there is a trend of integrating accelerometers and gyroscopes into inertial measurement unit (IMU) modules that target navigation applications in PDAs and mobile phones.
World Markets for MEMS in Notebooks and Digital Cameras is part of the Semiconductors Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: World Markets for FPGA, DSP and ASIC in Medical Imaging Equipment, World Markets for Lithography Steppers and Scanners, and Strategic Assessment of World Organic LEDs Markets. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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