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Current Edition: 2010 

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Introduction

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The big, bright market potential of semiconductors built with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology is indisputable. Annual sales of MEMS-based sensor and actuator devices are expected to nearly double in four years according to IC Insights’ new Special Study: MEMS 2010—A Realistic Look Beyond the Hype.

However, the report also states that it is erroneous to portray the burgeoning MEMS segment as a utopian market opportunity. MEMS 2010 reviews factors that have impaired MEMS sales growth in recent years and provides a detailed forecast of revenues, unit shipments, and average selling prices (ASPs) for sensor and actuator product categories through 2013.

To be certain, 2009 was the first major setback for the MEMS-based semiconductor market since it began spreading into high-volume commercial systems applications from its traditional base in military/aerospace and automotive applications. The MEMS sensors/actuators market will recover in 2010 and is forecast to enjoy strong growth rates in the following years.

IC Insights’ MEMS 2010 report says that the expanding MEMS market continues to face growing pains as suppliers attempt to serve new high-volume commercial systems applications. Ironically, a major challenge facing the MEMS semiconductor segment is the amount of attention and wafer-production capacity that’s being heaped onto the business worldwide. With traditional IC categories seeing a slowdown in annual growth rates since the late 1990s, more major semiconductor companies, pure-play foundries, and wafer fab equipment suppliers are shifting attention to the MEMS arena in order to boost revenues. The entry of large device suppliers into market segments pioneered by MEMS start-up companies is radically changing the dynamics of many emerging niches.

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