Google Nexus, Moto Droid boost MEMS microphone market

El Segundo, Calif. — iSuppli Corp. has raised its global MEMS microphone forecast from 1.1 billion units to 1.2 billion units in 2013 thanks to the introductions of Google Inc.’s Nexus One and Motorola Inc.’s Droid with active noise cancellation (ANC) technology. The market research firm says it takes at least two microphones to implement ANC, and sometimes more are used.

The report, “Dynamic Times for MEMS Microphones,” also indicates that the MEMS market is benefiting from new applications including MP3 players, such as the iPod Nano, which uses a high-performance and ultra-thin MEMS microphone from Analog Devices Inc. Laptops also offer also a great opportunity as more of them integrate two digital MEMS microphones, says iSuppli.

ANC headsets became popular last year with Sony introducing a headset that provides up to 99 percent ambient noise cancellation, says iSuppli. The company also introduced the world’s first earbud with noise cancellation at CES 2010, says the researcher.

Nokia also recently introduced an ANC-equipped headset using 10 MEMS microphones, illustrating how noise cancellation can drive higher volumes, says iSuppli. Since these applications often use higher-performance microphones they can also command higher price tags, says the researcher.


“ANC reduces or eliminates ambient noise, silencing background sounds that can make it hard to concentrate, sleep or listen to music or engage in cell phone conversations,” said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst, MEMS, for iSuppli, in a statement. “ANC leverages recent progress made by audio CODEC companies like Audience or Wolfson Microelectronics in dedicated noise-suppression integrated circuits (ICs). ANC leverages MEMS microphones which are preferred over traditional electret condenser microphones (ECM) for that function.”

iSuppli’s recent teardowns of the Nexus One and Droid found two MEMS microphones from Knowles Electronics in each phone.