Capitalizing on their design wins in Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 and iPad, semiconductor suppliers STMicroelectronics and TriQuint in 2010 achieved industry-leading growth in the global market for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in consumer electronics and mobile devices, new IHS iSuppli research indicates.
TriQuint’s revenue in this area expanded by 778.6 percent in 2010, with its consumer and mobile MEMS revenue amounting to $74.7 million in 2010, up from a negligible $8.5 million in 2009. This propelled TriQuint to the No. 8 ranking in the market, up from 16th place in 2009. STMicroelectronics posted the second-highest growth rate among the Top 10, with its revenue rising by 63.5 percent. The company’s revenue amounted to $353.6 million, up from $216.3 million in 2009, allowing it to expand its leadership in global consumer and mobile MEMS sales.
“For the global MEMS market, the iPhone 4 was a breakthrough product,” said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS. “Not only did the iPhone 4 represent the first use of a gyroscope in a smart phone, it also integrated a 3-axis accelerometer, innovative MEMS-based transmit modules and two small MEMS microphones for noise suppression. Beyond the large number of MEMS devices in the iPhone 4 itself, the product’s design has been highly influential on the rest of the smart phone market, amplifying MEMS sales growth, as other companies move to emulate the product’s features. The iPad contained some of the same parts and had a similar effect on the market.
The iPhone 4 includes five separate MEMS devices, plus a third MEMS microphone in the headset, up from two in the iPhone 3GS.
The iPad 3G contains three MEMS devices.
The iPhone 4 and iPad 3G integrated TriQuint’s TQM666092 transmit module for the WCDMA band 2, which consist of a single-band power amplifier, a bulk acoustic wave (BAW) duplexer and a surface acoustic wave (SAW) interstage filter.
TriQuint has made a rapid rise to prominence in the BAW market. The company launched its MEMS BAW filter technology early in 2009 and by 2010 managed to grab 26 percent of the global BAW market from Avago.
STMicroelectronics Rides iPhone and iPad MEMS Wins
The iPhone 4 also includes STMicroelectronics’ LIS331DLH MEMS accelerometer, and its L3G4200D MEMS digital three-axis gyroscope.
The gyroscope design win in the iPhone 4 played an important role in STMicroelectronics’ massive revenue increase in 2010, serving as a new growth market for the company’s MEMS line.
STMicroelectronics accounted for 50 percent of global accelerometer revenue during the past two years, and its share is not likely to rise significantly in the future. Meanwhile, growth is slowing in the accelerometer market.
Because of this, STMicroelectronics has sought new growth drivers, investing heavily in gyroscope development in 2008 and 2009. This paid off in 2010 as gyroscopes brought in $117 million of revenue for the company and contributed to 85 percent of STMicroelectronics’ consumer MEMS revenue growth. The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service also identified STMicroelectronics’ 3-axis gyroscope in the iPad, the fourth-generation iPod Touch, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Sony Move controller.
The company also is paving the way for its next growth engines by offering MEMS microphones and MEMS pressure sensors for handsets and tablets, which should contribute to revenue starting this year.