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76 percent CAGR for MEMS oscillator units from 2012-2017

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MEMS oscillators offer several advantages over quartz devices

USA: Oscillators and clock generators are timing devices, which are needed in just about all electronic circuits. Quartz crystal oscillators, along with clock generators, are a $5 billion market that MEMS oscillator vendors are hoping to crack. Quartz crystal is well established, and system designers are accustomed to using these devices.

However, MEMS oscillators offer several advantages over quartz devices. In addition to various metrics on performance and reliability, MEMS hold a distinct edge over quartz in size, cost and power consumption.

System designers have become more receptive to considering MEMS oscillators. The MEMS oscillator vendors have invested a great deal of time and effort into reliability and performance testing to demonstrate that MEMS oscillators are on par with and even better than traditional quartz solutions. These vendors are citing increasing design wins.

At $37.9 million, the MEMS oscillator market represented less than one percent of the total timing market of $6.9 billion in 2012. There is huge potential for growth for MEMS oscillators, which is attracting more vendors, like recent entrant Silicon Labs, which offers a single-chip CMOS MEMS oscillator. According to the new report from Semico Research, MEMS Oscillators: The Momentum is Building, the CAGR for MEMS Oscillator unit shipments will exceed 76 percent from 2012 through 2017.

"MEMS oscillator vendors are beginning to offer smaller innovative packages in order to achieve smaller footprints and thinner profiles," says Tony Massimini, chief of yechnology for Semico Research. "The key markets that will drive growth are portable applications with new designs and short life cycles. More cell phones, tablet PCs and ultraportable PCs are trending to thinner designs."

Key research findings include:

* SiTime is the MEMS oscillator market leader with ~80 percent unit share.
* Cell phones accounted for 22.6 percent of the almost $5 billion timing market in 2012.
* Although the timing market as a whole will show a CAGR of 4.9 percent on revenues from 2012-2017, MEMS oscillators will show a 65.2 percent CAGR on revenues during the same time frame.
* Smartphones will be the fastest growing market for MEMS oscillators, with a 113.3 percent CAGR on revenues from 2012 through 2017.

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