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  Date: 3rd Apr 2012

IHS: Revenue for digital MEMS microphones to reach $315 Million in 2013

IHS has estimated the revenue for digital MEMS microphones will reach $315 million in 2013, compared to $261 million for the analog MEMS equivalents. IHS says the market this year still will favor analog MEMS microphones, which are projected to achieve revenue of $267.4 million compared to $226.1 for digital. However, digital MEMS will gain the upper hand in 2013 when analog's share dips below 50 percent, as shown in the figure below.

Electronics Engineering Herald

"Apple once again is setting the pace in the adoption of innovative new MEMS technologies," observed Jérémie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. "Having already established the market for MEMS accelerators and gyroscopes in the iPhone and iPad lines, Apple now is leading the transition to digital MEMS microphones by employing them in its iPad 2 and the new iPad."

The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis of the new iPad indicates that the tablet uses a single MEMS-based digital microphone from AAC Acoustic Technologies Holdings Inc. The iPad 2 employs a digital MEMS microphone from Analog Devices Inc.

Vendor analysis by IHS:
Digital MEMS microphones have been available since 2006, when Akustica-now Bosch-started to ship them into laptops from Fujitsu. The following year, Knowles and Sonion-now part of TDK-EPC-also started shipments.

Overall, however, the penetration of digital MEMS microphones remained relatively modest because of the lack of a credible alternative source beyond Knowles, and their high price-typically 50 percent more expensive than analog MEMS.

Knowles had managed to keep the price high because of the lack of viable competitors.

All this changed in 2011 with the arrival of new players. STMicroelectronics entered the market and focused exclusively on digital MEMS microphones, allowing them to emerge as strong alternative volume suppliers in 2011, with more aggressive pricing policies.

Akustica introduced a new and more competitive digital MEMS microphone in early 2011 with a 30 percent die size reduction. As a result, Akustica grew its share in the laptop business from 4 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2011, grabbing share away from Knowles at customers such as Hewlett-Packard.

STMicroelectronics-already the No. 1 supplier of accelerometers to Nokia-started to deliver MEMS microphones to the Finnish original equipment manufacturer in 2011 and became the top source within one year ahead of Knowles. As a result, Knowles' share of digital MEMS microphone market revenue fell to 59 percent in 2011, down from 81 percent in 2010.

Overall, the arrival of new suppliers with more aggressive pricing boosted the penetration of digital MEMS microphones in laptops in 2011 from 18 percent in 2010 to 40 percent in 2011.

The top suppliers in 2011 for digital MEMS microphones included, in descending order: Knowles, for laptops, tablets and handsets; Analog Devices, for the iPad 2; Bosch (Akustica), for laptops; STMicroelectronics, to Nokia and also for laptops; Goertek, to Lenovo; AAC; and BSE.

Author: Srinivasa Reddy N
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