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Nintendo Leads Global MEMS Consumption
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | iSuppli Corporation

Culminating a neck-and-neck race, Nintendo in 2009 surpassed Samsung to become the world's top purchaser of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) used in consumer electronics products and cell phones, according to iSuppli Corporation.

Despite deep cuts in consumer spending on electronic products, the market for MEMS used in consumer electronics and cell phones in 2009 grew a respectable 7.6% to $1.19 billion, up from $1.10 billion in 2008. Given the revenue increase in 2009, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for MEMS for the 2008-2013 forecast period now stands at 18.4%. As a result, revenue in this particular segment of the MEMS market will top $2.5 billion in 2013--more than double the $1.1 billion mark of 2008.

"Although Nintendo had been the No.-2 buyer of MEMS in consumer electronics during 2007 and 2008, the company in 2009 increased its purchase of gyroscopes--a MEMS sensor for measuring or maintaining orientation-for use in the Wii Motion Plus plug-in," said Jérémie Bouchaud, Director and Principal Analyst for MEMS at iSuppli. "This caused the company's spending on MEMS to rise to $108 million in 2009, up 11.9% from $97 million in 2008."

Dropping to second place after a two-year run at the top was Samsung.

"From 2005 to 2007, Digital Light Processing (DLP) chips for rear-projection televisions accounted for most of Samsung's MEMS consumption," Bouchaud said. "However, with Samsung exiting the DLP market, its overall consumption of MEMS in 2009 declined to $105 million, down 1.1% from $106 million in 2008. Nonetheless, Samsung remains a high-volume purchaser of BAW filters for duplexers and quintplexers, and the company was also the top buyer of MEMS microphones last year."

Rounding out the Top-5 after Nintendo and Samsung were Nokia in third place, LG Electronics in fourth and Apple in fifth.

Accelerometers accounted for most of Nokia's MEMS purchases, while BAW filters were the top product bought by LG. In the case of Apple, the company used accelerometers and BAW filters for the iPhone, accelerometers for the MacBook laptop and accelerometers, as well as MEMS microphones for the newest-generation iPod nano MP3 player. With Apple's consumption of MEMS continuing to expand, the company could increase its use of accelerometers--and possibly MEMS microphones--in its new iPad tablet.

Mobile Handsets Power MEMS Market

MEMS in 2009 found their biggest application in mobile handsets.

Accelerometers were the largest MEMS product category for cell phones last year, followed by BAW filters and microphones.

In accelerometers alone, 354 million were shipped for use in cell phones in 2009, with a strong upward spike in the second half of the year, MEMS companies reported to iSuppli. Almost every fourth phone featured an accelerometer in 2009, up from one out of every 10 handset in 2008.


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