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Mobile device sensor market on the rise

Jack Loo | Sept. 28, 2012
Such sensors are vital in enabling screen orientation viewing and games: ABI Research

With the growing popularity of mobile devices, the MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) sensor market will jump from being valued at US$1.2 billion this year to US$2.8 billion in 2017, according to ABI Research.

"Although mobile device unit shipments are the primary driver for the bulging MEMS sensors market; there are numerous other factors in play propelling MEMS sensor growth in the mobile device sector," said ABI Research senior analyst Josh Flood. The figures came from the analyst firm's Sensors in Mobile Devices and Their Role in Service Enablement report.

"Smartphone users expect their device to be intuitive and capable of interacting without pressing a button. Sensors make this possible - from changing the device orientation view to turning or tilting the device whilst playing a game," said Flood.

MEMS sensors will play a key role with mobile service and application companies, said ABI Research. The sensors enable mobile network operators, app designers, and mobile device operating systems to offer better and more interactive features to different mobile devices.

The most common sensor is the accelerometer, enabling devices to switch from a portrait to landscape display by simply turning it.

More than four out of every five smartphones shipped this year will contain an accelerometer and ABI Research estimates 32 percent of MEMS sensor shipments will be accelerometers in mobile devices.

Currently, gyroscopes were the largest portion of the MEMS sensor market in revenue terms and will reach US$350 million this year.

Research from the report indicates that smartphones are the largest market for MEMS sensors in mobile devices. The total annual revenues for sensors will be US$1.3 billion by the end of 2012. MEMS sensor revenues for smartphones are forecast to be worth US$4.4 billion in 2017.


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