NEW TRIPOLI, USA: High-Flying Silicon MEMs microphone installations, which nearly doubled between 2006 and 2008, hit a head wind in 2009, according to the report “Silicon Microphones and Speakers: Technology, Market Analysis, and End-Applications,” from The Information Network.
The main culprit was the cell phone business, which dropped 8 percent in 2009. In 2008, MEMS microphones grew 30 percent, but managed to eek out a meager 7 percent growth in 2009. MEMS microphone technology has grown from less than 1 percent of the 1.2 billion microphones sold worldwide in 2003 to 20.1 percent of the 1.7 billion microphones sold in 2009.
In 2010, we forecast MEMS microphones reaching 25.5 percent of the worldwide microphone market, as shipments increase 35 percent to nearly 500 million units.
The total available market (TAM) for MEMS microphones for cell phone, consumer, headsets, and hearing aid applications will be 535 million units in 2013. At that time, MEMS microphones will garner 55 percent of the market.
An even bigger market is for MEMS speakers, a TAM of 1.12 billion units in 2013. We continue to hear the occasional general market blurbs (Akustika at one time was involved as well as Carnegie Mellon) on some R&D roadmap activities for MEMS speakers but there have been no viable commercial successes to date from what we see.
Basic issues are same as always – challenges of physics, size versus output, and features compared to the existing dynamic offerings. All of these need to be understood and overcome in order to be of overriding value compared to existing technology to the customer/market. Like MEMs microphones, the market will use it if it recognizes the value, which in the case of MEMS speakers, has yet to be demonstrated based on what we have heard or seen.