MEMS consumption in mobile handsets reached US$157 million in 2005, and by 2010, consumption will exceed US$1 billion, reports In-Stat. In addition to the microphones and bulk acoustic resonators that have dominated the MEMS market to date, there are emerging opportunities for inertial sensors (principally accelerometers) and several types of RF components including band/mode switches, matching elements (such as digital varactors) and oscillators, the high-tech market research firm says.
Although high-volume MEMS, such as microphones and bulk acoustic resonators, are cost competitive, there are no near-term opportunities for other types of MEMS to break into the mobile handset market based on price advantage. Longer term, displays, fuel cells, and other types of MEMS devices could also develop a price advantage. However, suppliers of these devices may find a quicker path to profit in other markets that have less demanding cost and size requirements.
Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
Mobile handsets, which are the largest single product market for semiconductors outside the Personal Computer (PC) market, are also a major opportunity for MEMS component suppliers. MEMS mode/band switches and digital tuning will first appear in mobile handsets in 2007, followed by MEMS-based oscillators in the following year. In the microphone area, continued growth is foreseen based upon an increasing demand for ultra thin handsets, as well as continuing price declines.