SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - April 2, 2007 - Vendors of solutions based on silicon and micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) face an uphill battle to make a dent in the huge market for timing devices, according to a recent study from ABI Research.

The market was and is dominated by quartz crystal oscillator technology. Most of the largest crystal oscillator vendors - Epson Toyocom, NDK, Kyocera, and KDS - are Asia-Pacific based companies, and they rule the market, mass-producing low-cost crystal oscillators to feed the huge regional consumer electronics industry. That situation will continue beyond the end of the report's forecast period in 2011.

However, MEMS and silicon timing device vendors do enjoy certain advantages, if they target their efforts wisely. "They are trying to climb a Mount Everest of an industry that is already established," notes senior analyst Douglas McEuen.

"That said, the MEMS solution, like the computer and wireless IC industries, is based on a silicon CMOS chip. The benefits of a silicon CMOS chip are huge: the electronics industry has 30 years of established procedures, processes and understanding of the silicon solution, which creates an opportunity for these companies - mainly innovative startups such as SiTime and Discera - to make up ground."

Silicon solutions are less expensive, as well, and MEMS technologies are extremely rugged, and well-suited to low-jitter applications such as military and aerospace equipment where resistance to shock and vibration are at a premium.

The ABI Research study,"The Timing Solution Market: Quartz Crystal, Crystal and SAW Oscillators, and Silicon Timing Devices", identifies the trends and strategies driving each of these market segments, and focuses on detailed market share data and quantification of the market according to engineering parameters such as package type, tuning type, stability, and application.

It forms part of the company's Wireless Handset Semiconductors Research Service, which includes other Research Reports, Online Databases, Research Briefs, Market Data, ABI Insights, and analyst inquiry support.