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TheStreet Open House

3-Axis Consumer Gyroscopes

Out of the few players currently in the production stage or ramping up, we have identified more than 25 newcomers looking at this market! Those new entrants have very different profiles: from existing MEMS or magnetometer manufacturers to start-ups, foundries, and large mixed-signal companies. We expect a high level of differentiation between all those players: some companies focus on increasing the level of integration and minimizing costs, while other players will introduce new technologies offering a premium performance to selected target markets.

This report highlights how MEMS companies create high added-value. The MEMS value chain is very fragmented and the trend for combo sensors will reinforce that. There are opportunities for innovation at the MEMS design and front-end level and we see many start-ups working in this area. However there are opportunities for differentiation at many other levels: from front-end assembly to packaging, testing and even software / application.

DEMAND FOR COMBO SENSORS DRIVES CHALLENGING TECHNICAL EVOLUTIONS

While the current roadmap of different players is well understood for 3-axis gyroscopes, the trend for combo sensors should change the market dynamics. Demand for combo units will skyrocket in the coming years: from 4.1% of the market in 2011 to 73.0% in 2017. Indeed 6DOF IMUs combos have already proven benefits in both cost and size, among other advantages, and 9DOF combos are also promising for the future, although significant footprint challenges need to be solved for many applications.

The report analyses the significant changes that are driven by combo at many levels:

At the front-end level: disruptive designs are enabling monolithic integration of more than 3 axes. CMOS-MEMS technologies are also in development and could significantly lower the cost and increase the level of integration.At the assembly and packaging level: evolutions are happening both at the wafer level with new interconnect and bonding technologies and at the back-end level, which is critical for SiP-based smart modules.Testing is also evolving in order to increase the number of tests run in parallel and be compatible with the latest developments (3-axis devices, small footprint, combo solutions) in a cost-effective way.Software is an increasingly important piece of the solution. This is both a critical success factor to be built-in to the design and a new source of revenue. From cross-calibration to data fusion and context awareness, new software developments need to quickly anticipate evolving market needs.

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