April 15, 2008 — The Nintendo Wii’s motion-sensing remote control and the Apple iPhone’s self-orienting display represent the advance wave of what will be a rising tide of new and innovative uses for tiny MEMS accelerometers, according to ABI Research.
“In the very creative consumer electronics market,” says ABI analyst Doug McEuen, “the sky’s the limit. The growth rate of this market will be determined by the imaginations of designers as they think up innovative and unexpected ways to incorporate accelerometers into new devices. The arrival of another wildly popular consumer product that sells large numbers worldwide could give this market a significant boost.”
“Other major game console manufacturers are following Nintendo’s lead in seeking accelerometer applications for their next-generation products,” he says. “But games are only one use for these specialized devices. They are already widely used in automotive airbag systems (where the high sales volume has helped drive down prices.) They can measure vibration in industrial machinery; they are used in exercise step-counters, and we will see them in growing numbers of other phones and PDAs.”
A relative handful of manufacturers share this high-potential market. A “big three” — Analog Devices, Freescale, and ST Microelectronics — are joined by just a few others, including OKI Semiconductor and Hitachi Metals America.
ABI’s report, MEMS Accelerometers, examines MEMS accelerometer technology and the requirements for competitive solutions, including essential product capabilities. It includes an in-depth market forecast that numerically tracks both positive and negative market forces. The study concludes with profiles of key manufacturers and early-adopting handset/CE vendors.