When your iPhone's screen automatically reorients itself, it's using a nascent silicon technology expected to become a $1.7 billion market by 2013.
It's called an accelerometer--and the iPhone brought these devices into the mainstream.
"When you turn your iPhone to the side and the screen automatically adjusts from portrait to landscape view, there's an accelerometer at work. And when you swing your (Nintendo) Wii controller and bowl a virtual strike, there's an accelerometer at work there too," iSuppli noted in a report released Thursday. The market for these devices is expected to grow to $1.7 billion in 2013, up from $947.7 million in 2007, according to the market research firm.
Accelerometers are based on another burgeoning silicon field, Microelectromechanical Systems, or MEMS--also referred to as micromachines. MEMS are made up of components typically no larger than 100 micrometers in size and usually integrate a microprocessor and other components, such as the microsensor found in the iPhone's accelerometer.
Accelerometers in recent years have emerged as a popular input device for some of the world's hottest electronic products, causing shipments to boom, according to iSuppli. "Due to this rapid sales growth, accelerometers by 2013 will displace the current leading MEMS products--inkjet heads and Digital Light Processing (DLP) chips--to become the dominant type of MEMS device sold worldwide in 2013," said Jérémie Bouchaud, iSuppli principal analyst for MEMS, in a statement.
"Consumers' desire for motion-sensing in smart phones and video game systems will boost demand for accelerometers," Bouchaud added.… Read more