Thursday, March 1, 2012

Smartphones/tablets propel silicon MEMS microphones

Dr. Robert Castellano, The Information Network, USA

NEW TRIPOLI, USA: High-Flying Silicon MEMs microphone installations caught a tailwind in 2011 as shipments grew 85 percent, according to our report Silicon Microphones and Speakers: Technology, Market Analysis, and End-Applications.

The main propellant was the increased use of MEMs microphones in smartphones and tablets. Smartphone shipments grew 61 percent in 2011 to nearly 500 million units while 72 million tablets were shipped.

MEMS microphone shipments reached 1.3 million units in 2011, up from 700,000 in 2010. The growth in shipments was coupled with an increase in the number of microphones per smartphone. Apple, for example has designed two MEMS microphones into its iPhone 4 and 4S models.

Because Apple leads the market in smartphones and tablets, it was the volume user in 2011 with nearly 350,000 purchased, well ahead of second-place Samsung with 250,000 units purchased.

MEMS microphone supplier Knowles continued to dominate the market, since it supplies units to both Apple and Samsung. Infineon was a distant second with a 17 percent share. Also supplying MEMs microphones to Apple in 2011 was Analog Devices, and sales to the iPad 2 moved the company to number three in the rankings.

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