Electronic Design

RF MEMS Switch Market Set To Soar

Only $5 million worth of RF MEMS switches were sold last year, but an updated technical and market analysis by Wicht Technologie Consulting (WTC) predicts that the market will surge to $210 million by 2011. Nearly half of that total — $100 million — will go into test and instrumentation applications, according to the WTC study. Other important markets include mobile phones and telecom infrastructure. At the module level, reconfigurable power amplifiers and antenna modules for cell phones should exceed $150 million in 2011, according to WTC. The Munich-based consultants estimated that 500,000 to 600,000 switches have already been sold and that about 50,000 units are shipped monthly. Among the companies selling RF MEMS switches are Advantest, Matsushita, Radant (restricted to the U.S. only due to export restrictions), and Teravicta. Companies sampling switches for selected customers include WiSpry for mobile handsets and MEMTronics and XCOM for high-end applications like defense. Omron is expected to start serial production by mid-2008. "We have been following developments in RF MEMS switches since 2000, when the mobile phone market was booming and a number of companies envisioned using RF MEMS switches in each handset," Jeremie Bouchaud, head of market research at WTC, said in a statement. "What happened after perfectly fits the well-known 'hype curve of new technologies,'" he said. "After experiencing the so-called 'peak of inflated expectation' in 2003 and subsequent 'trough of disillusionment' phase during 2004-2005, RF MEMS switches have now emerged shining into the 'slope of enlightenment,' an indicator that both the industry and technology are maturing." The results of the analysis are available through WTC's Web site.

TAGS: Defense
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