MEMS Industry Matures, Big Changes Lay Ahead

Having plugged away for the last decade, MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) technology is about to shrug off the flash-in-the-pan mantle some have bestowed upon it, and emerge as a bona fide industry, according to Cahners In-Stat Group ( As the technology enters its second decade of commercialization, the industry is taking on an entirely new look with significant levels of venture capital funding, the emergence of brand new markets, and even increased collaboration amongst companies.

"It's been a long time coming, and the effort is about to pay off," says Marlene Bourne, senior analyst for the high tech market research firm Emerging Semiconductor Applications Service. Over the next 18 months or so, an incredibly diverse array of products will move into volume production, and the impact is expected to be far-reaching as current MEMS markets expand and new ones emerge. "As a result, this industry will look very different in five years' time," says Bourne. In-Stat expects a fundamental change in device complexity and cost to help worldwide MEMS revenues nearly quadruple by 2005.

In-Stat has also found that:

* Sensors, which generated the bulk of sales in 2000, will take a back seat to actuators in 2005, dramatically changing the top ten applications.

* The telecommunications market will account for nearly a third of total MEMS consumption by 2005, up from less than 1 percent in 2000.

* Currently, the MEMS market is largely comprised of sensors with an average sell price of $5 to $20.

Hundreds of Billions Riding on New Technologies and Business Models

Operators of third generation wireless networks must deliver a vast choice of streaming media at affordable prices or face one of the biggest financial disasters in history, That is one of the conclusions of the new 223-page study, "Wireless Streaming Media: Markets & Business Opportunities."

"This report details the challenges of creating profitable 3G services," said Ira Brodsky, president of Datacomm Research. "Operators require more than just new radio and backbone networks; they need scalable content servers, portable media players, and industry wide support for micropayments," he added.

Dr. Paul Polishuk of IGI Consulting believes streaming media could drive the need for additional backbone bandwidth.

"Wireless streaming will make or break operators, manufacturers and content providers," said Paul Pauesick, Datacomm Research's director of research. "If they get it right, it will lead to new business and consumer applications, higher average revenue per user (ARPU) per month and lower subscriber churn," he added.

"Wireless Streaming Media: Markets & Business Opportunities" includes an executive summary with answers to key questions about 3G wireless performance and cost, plus subscriber and service revenue forecasts for north America, Europe and Asia. The Enabling Technologies section explores media players, data compression, air interfaces (GPRS, CDMA2000 and WCDMA) and digital rights management (DRM). The Applications section reveals which streaming content people are paying for today, while the Markets section explains why youth will be the dominant segment. Over 70 vendors are profiled including ActiveSky, Bluekite, CelVibe, CyberCash, Digital Bridges, Hiwire, I-Drive, Intertrust Technologies, Inviso, Liquid Audio, Live365, Mobile Engines, Packet Video, Qualcomm, Solid Streaming and Streamsearch.

Additional conclusions found in the report:

* 3G wireless operators must develop integrated business models leveraging new capabilities such as advertising insertion, Internet-based storage radio locating and digital cash.

* GSM's 2.5G solution (GPRS) is not, and must focus on text, graphics, animation and electronic music.

* W-CDMA and CDMA2000 networks are capable of streaming audio and video to a large number of users.

* Public wireless LANs will offer enhanced streaming services at prime locations, such as airports. 3G wireless operators must team up with public wireless LAN operators to develop hybrid services and dual mode devices.

* Mobile handsets will become multimedia terminals and wireless will become a standard option for PDAs, MP3 players and digital cameras. Wireless digital cameras will print to the Web. Wireless MP3 players will play music stored in digital lockers.

* Copyrighted material will be secured from unauthorized redistribution. But the music industry must also change. Wireless delivery of digital content eliminates costs associated with traditional packaging, transportation and retail store shelf space.

The table of contents of this report is available on the IGI Consulting Web site:

Worldwide Wireless Penetration to Hit 24 Percent in 2005 ... China Rises to the Top

The next five years will see dramatic wireless subscriber growth, with the worldwide penetration rate reaching 24 percent in 2005, according to Cahners In-Stat Group. The high tech market research firm anticipates that this continued growth will be marked by the long awaited surge by China into first place, with the country passing the US in wireless subscribers during the third quarter of this year.

"This five-year forecast period will harbor a number of changes in the industry. The most significant is the role that will be played by 3G. Today's massive investments that are required to deploy 3G infrastructure will not yield significant subscriber revenue to offset the short term expenditures" says Ray Jodoin, principal analyst for In-Stat's Wireless Technology and Infrastructure Group. According to In-Stat, virtually all 3G service providers will not see a return to profitability until well after 2005, leading to serious conflicts between the need to maintain profitable 2.5G service, and the desire to rapidly add to the 3G subscriber base. Despite this, subscriber growth continues at an unabated rate and services, not specific technology, will continue to drive the growth.

In-Stat also found that:

* GSM will leap into second place among air link technologies in the Americas.

* ROW (rest of the world) will achieve rapid dominance in the mobile market place. This may lead to large shifts in the manufacturing "balance of power" for infrastructure as well as handsets.

* The Americas will have a combined compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the forecast period of 14 .5 percentage points. Canada will lead the growth, followed by the Caribbean and Latin America, and the US.

* Europe will have a combined CAGR over the forecast period of 5.8 percentage points. Russia will lead the growth, followed by Eastern and Western Europe.

TDK Systems Launches Bluetooth for Palm V Series

TDK Systems Europe and Tactel have launched a Bluetooth clip-on device that enables wireless dial-up networking, remote access and e-mail applications for Palm V handheld devices.

The new product, Blue5, attaches to the back of Palm V an Vx series handhelds to provide instant Bluetooth connectivity and interoperability across different telephony and computing platforms. Using Blue5, Palm V users can 'hot sync' to notebooks and desktop PCs, use dial-up networking, e-mail applications and gain access to the Internet and Intranets.

Blue5 has been developed by Swedish mobile technology specialist, Tactel. TDK Systems will undertake worldwide sales, marketing and support of the product. The company has an extensive channel infrastructure and, through rigorous testing, has proven Blue5's compatibility with Bluetooth-equipped phones from Nokia and Ericsson. TDK will also be announcing US channel partners at PC Expo. The product is expected to hit market at around $200. More information about TDK Systems can be found at *