April 5, 2007 – Silicon MEMS microphones were installed in 20% of mobile phones manufactured in 2006, up from 10% in the previous year, but in reality there are only two suppliers who reap the benefits, according to data from The Information Network.
Silicon microphones, which accounted for 6.1% of the 1.6 billion microphones sold worldwide in 2005, are expected to grow at a CAGR of 90% through 2008, surpassing 500 billion units in 2008, according to the firm. Nearly 90% of silicon MEMS microphones in 2006 were for cell phones, with the rest targeting consumer applications such as digital cameras, MP3 players, and PDAs. By 2008 a small percentage of the microphones will tap new market applications in headsets and hearing aids.
Right now the beneficiaries of this growth rate come down to two suppliers: Knowles Acoustics in the US (far and away the top supplier with 95% share) and Danish firm Sonion Microtronic. “We see no other companies…that will be able to make a dent in the market over the next three years except for some esoteric application such as hearing aids,” noted the analyst firm’s president, Robert Castellano.
He credited Knowles’ early success in marketing the products as having “created a lock on the market, minimizing the chance of market share gains by existing silicon microphone vendors and a growing number of Chinese manufacturers.”