Thursday, November 8, 2012

3-axis consumer gyroscope market becomes hottest segment of all MEMS sensors

FRANCE: Yole Développement announced its new analysis “3-Axis Consumer Gyroscopes”. In this report, Yole Développement gives a global overview on the market data for 3-axis gyro-based MEMS devices used in consumer applications, with a focus on application on key existing markets and most promising emerging ones. This report also provides a clear understanding of the MEMS gyro value chain, infrastructure and players, and the major technology trends for 3-axis gyroscopes sensors and systems.

New apps will drive 2017 market to >$1.5 billion
Changes can happen quickly in the inertial MEMS industry! 3-axis MEMS gyroscopes did not exist in 2009, but it is now a very large market. Indeed 3-axis gyroscopes and gyro-based combos in consumer applications were a $458 million market in 2011. Since continuous growth is expected, everyone agrees that this is the hottest segment of all MEMS sensors and the market is expected to reach $1.57 billion by 2017!

Smartphones and tablets are the major contributors to the developments in 3-axis consumer gyroscopes. As the demand for products rises and the attach rate of gyroscopes increases, this area is very appealing for all gyro players. This report carefully details the applications and analyses how it is currently driving all the major evolutions in terms of size, combo roadmap, software etc.

Market opportunities are also present in many other areas. While some mature segments still represent a significant market (gaming, camera stabilization, etc.), a wide range of new applications is emerging. Many new developments are found in sports (e.g. gesture monitoring), fitness (e.g. posture monitoring), healthcare (e.g. fall detection), toys (e.g. robotic devices), remote controls (e.g. pointing for digital set top boxes).

“Many developers are currently working on such emerging applications and, at Yole Développement, we are convinced that these new developments will become significant markets in the medium or long term”, announces Laurent Robin, Activity Leader, Inertial MEMS Devices & Technologies at Yole Développement. “Recent advances in integration and spectacular decreases in price (6DOF IMUs will be available for close to $1 soon) are enabling these emerging markets”, he adds.

From 2 suppliers in 2011 to more than 25 competitors in 2017
While the market is already huge, it seems surprising that only 2 players have captured most of it so far! Indeed STMicroelectronics is the global leader with 69% market share in 2011; its only substantive competitor is InvenSense. But competition is heating up: Bosch Sensortec will be another key player with volume production by the end of 2012 and other players will join in 2013.

Out of the few players currently in the production stage or ramping up, Yole Développement has identified more than 25 newcomers looking at this market! Those new entrants have very different profiles: from existing MEMS or magnetometer manufacturers to start-ups, foundries, and large mixed-signal companies.

“We expect a high level of differentiation between all those players: some companies focus on increasing the level of integration and minimizing costs, while other players will introduce new technologies offering a premium performance to selected target markets”, precises Wenbin Ding, Technology & Market Analyst, MEMS Devices & Technologies at Yole Développement.

This report highlights how MEMS companies create high added-value. The MEMS value chain is very fragmented and the trend for combo sensors will reinforce that. There are opportunities for innovation at the MEMS design and front-end level and we see many start-ups working in this area. However there are opportunities for differentiation at many other levels: from front-end assembly to packaging, testing and even software/application.

Demand for combo sensors drives challenging technical evolutions
While the current roadmap of different players is well understood for 3-axis gyroscopes, the trend for combo sensors should change the market dynamics. Demand for combo units will skyrocket in the coming years: from 4.1 percent of the market in 2011 to 73 percent in 2017. Indeed 6DOF IMUs combos have already proven benefits in both cost and size, among other advantages, and 9DOF combos are also promising for the future, although significant footprint challenges need to be solved for many applications.

Yole Développement’s team analyses the significant changes that are driven by combo at many levels:

* At the front-end level: disruptive designs are enabling monolithic integration of more than 3 axes. CMOS-MEMS technologies are also in development and could significantly lower the cost and increase the level of integration.

* At the assembly and packaging level: evolutions are happening both at the wafer level with new interconnect and bonding technologies and at the back-end level, which is critical for SiP-based smart modules.

* Testing is also evolving in order to increase the number of tests run in parallel and be compatible with the latest developments (3-axis devices, small footprint, combo solutions) in a cost-effective way.

* Software is an increasingly important piece of the solution. This is both a critical success factor to be built-in to the design and a new source of revenue. From cross-calibration to data fusion and context awareness, new software developments need to quickly anticipate evolving market needs.

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