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How Embedded Sensors Enable Mobile Interactivity

The ever growing popularity of mobile devices -- such as media tablets and smartphones -- combined with the growing usage of interactive apps will drive continued sales of integrated micro electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors.

New market intelligence from ABI Research projects the MEMS sensor market in mobile devices will be valued at $1.2 billion by the end of 2012 and reach $2.8 billion in 2017.

"Although mobile device unit shipments are the primary driver for the bulging MEMS sensors market; there are numerous other factors in play propelling MEMS sensor growth in the mobile device sector,” says Josh Flood, senior analyst at ABI Research.

Smartphone users expect their device to be intuitive and capable of interacting without pressing a button. Embedded sensors make this interaction possible — from changing the device orientation view to turning or tilting the device while playing a game.

The most commonly used sensor is the accelerometer, enabling devices to switch from a portrait to landscape display by simply turning it. More than 4 out of every 5 smartphones shipped this year will contain an accelerometer and ABI Research estimates 32 percent of MEMS sensor shipments will be accelerometers in mobile devices.

Nevertheless, gyroscopes were the largest portion of the MEMS sensor market in revenue terms and will reach $350 million this year.

MEMS sensors will play a key role with mobile service and application companies. The sensors enable mobile network operators, app designers, and mobile device operating systems to offer better and more interactive features to different mobile devices.

Smartphones are currently the largest market for MEMS sensors in mobile devices. The total annual revenues for sensors will be $1.3 billion by the end of 2012. MEMS sensor revenues for smartphones are forecast to be worth $4.4 billion in 2017.

That being said, media tablets were the second largest market for MEMS sensors in mobile devices and are predicted to to reach almost $835 million of revenue in 2017.

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