Hybrid electric vehicles to boost microcontrollers sales
In 2010, automotive MCUs revenue is anticipated to reach $3.2 billion. Demand for energy efficient vehicles such as hybrid electric vehicles has increased due to rising energy costs and environmental concerns, said the research firm.
MCUs control many of the technologies used in hybrid electric vehicles. Electronic power steering and multiplexing are MCU-enabled applications which reduce overall vehicle weight and increase gas mileage by eliminating dedicated wires and mechanical systems.
The continuous growth in wireless technology and its increasing demand among people is a key market driver for the MCUs market. Individuals want wireless connectivity for many applications that are currently connected by wires. Short range wireless applications include keyboard, mouse, speakers and PC handsets.
According to the research firm, worldwide, Wi-Fi users totaled 1.58 billion in 2009, compared to 707 million users in 2008. These systems are using MCU and other external components to orchestrate this wireless control.
GBI research expects touch sensing to provide a significant boost to the demand for microcontrollers. Touch sensing is quickly becoming a favorite among designers due to the increased reliability, greater design freedom and more contemporary look it offers.
It is deemed one of the most effective means to implement user control. Growth in the touch sensing segment is expected to drive the MCUs market. Nearly 380 million touch panel shipments were recorded in 2009, and this is expected to rise to 660 million by 2015, said the research firm.
China contributed to 32 percent of the overall Asia-Pacific MCU sales revenue in 2009 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.2 percent during 2009-2020 in dollar terms. Chinese MCUs market will get a boost with the government's decision to invest $50 billion in semiconductor-related projects.
According to GBI, consumer electronics companies are raising the bar in terms of reducing the energy consumption of their products, and this trend is expected to increase the demand for MCUs.
In order to conserve energy usage in industrial and household applications effectively, sophisticated smart metering systems are required and these can be achieved by incorporating MCUs. The requirements for such energy efficient applications are getting increasingly stringent which is further accentuating the need for MCUs.
MCU manufacturers are investing in R&D activities to differentiate their products with features such as higher speed, lower power consumption, and so on. MCUs have come a long way in terms of their applications, but product differentiation is always key concern for MCU makers.
Many manufacturers are focusing on features such as user interface demand, connectivity needs and high voltage requirements. Renesas, in particular, has been leading the way in terms of technology node innovation and miniaturization and the other players in the MCU industry are playing catch up, added the research firm.
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