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MEMS microphones shipments up 57% in 2012

Posted: 28 Feb 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS microphones  cell phones  headsets  tablets  Apple 

MEMS (microelectromechanical system) microphones that provide clear sound in mobile devices witnessed large shipment and revenue growth, due to its increasing penetration in the four areas of cell phones, laptops, headsets and media tablets, according to IHS.

Shipments of MEMS microphones in 2012 amounted to 205 crore units, up a remarkable 57 per cent from 130 crore in 2011. In 2013, shipments will climb by another 30 per cent to 266 crore units, to be followed by at least three more years of notable double-digit-rate increases. By 2016, approximately 465 crore MEMS microphones will be shipping.

Revenue also made big gains in 2012, up 42 per cent to Rs.3,180.33 crore ($582 million), on the way to a projected Rs.5,464.48 crore ($1 billion) by 2016, the research firm said.

"Microphones continue to be one of the biggest success stories in MEMS, with the rapid growth of the device due to its increasing penetration in the four areas of cell phones, laptops, headsets and media tablets," said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS.

"MEMS microphones also can be found to a lesser extent in applications such as gaming, cameras, televisions and hearing aids, contributing to their broadening use overall, with further utilisation coming to set-top boxes this year and to automotive during the next three years."

For cell phones, penetration of MEMS microphones rose to 69 per cent last year, up from 52 per cent in 2011 and 38 per cent in 2010. In particular, multiple microphones are now being adopted in smartphones for noise suppression, in which the cancellation of ambient sounds is crucial for handsets when carrying out voice commands, like what Siri does in the Apple iPhones. The total number of microphones per handset is also on the rise: While midrange to high-end smartphones mostly used two microphones in 2010 and 2011, three microphones are fast becoming standard ever since Apple introduced a third device on the back of the iPhone 5 for high-definition video recording.

MEMS microphones are also making major headway into media tablets, expected to become the second-ranked application by 2016. MEMS microphones were also present in more than half of laptop computers last year, as well as in headsets for the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Both Apple and Samsung were the top consumers of MEMS microphones last year, accounting for a combined 54 per cent of all shipped MEMS microphones, well ahead of other significant users like LG Electronics and Motorola.

The top supplier of MEMS microphones was U.S.-based Knowles Electronics, which continued to dominate even though its share of shipments last year slipped to 58 per cent, down from 74 per cent in 2011. Knowles is a second supplier of MEMS microphones for the iPhone, and is a first supplier for the iPad mini.

Other important MEMS microphone suppliers were AAC and Goertek, both from China and ranked second and third, respectively. In fourth place was Analog Devices Inc.—the sole supplier in the iPhone 5 of the third microphone.

Together the four top makers represented nearly 90 per cent of MEMS microphone shipments last year, with the remaining portion of the market split among seven other suppliers, including STMicroelectronics in fifth place.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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