Mar. 18, 2008 - The silicon MEMS microphone sector grew 12.4% in 2007 to 238M units, well off the pace of the prior two years (2005-2006) where installations doubled to account for 20% of mobile phones manufactured, due to a drop in cell phone growth and converged devices, according to a new report from The Information Network.
Annual growth in cell phones slowed to 13.4% in 2007 from 23.1% in 2006, the firm noted. Another factor in slowing silicon MEMS microphone use is the emergence of Bluetooth headsets, which don't require the smaller footprint/feature-packed advantage of MEMS microphones (whereas cell phones need to incorporate talk, music, and GPS functionality), and cost as little as 10% of MEMS microphones.
The vast majority (82%) of shipments in 2007 were for cell phones, with the rest in consumer applications including digital cameras, MP3 players, and PDAs, as well as a small fraction (2M installations) into notebook computers.
Growth areas in 2008 include contact center/office headsets and hearing aids, notes the firm's president Robert Castellano, "but overall growth again will be stymied by a drop in the cell phone and converged devices market," which will register just 11.1% Y-Y growth.