Tag Archives: IHS

Atmel is the No. 1 supplier of sensor hubs



Analysts at IHS have confirmed that Atmel was the number one supplier of sensor hubs in 2013 – clinching an impressive 32 percent of total industry shipments.

In 2014, worldwide shipments of sensor hubs are expected to reach a projected 658.4 million units, up 154 percent from 259.6 million units last year.

As senior IHS analyst Marwan Boustany notes, the market has been “on a tear” since 2011, when shipments first started from a low initial base.

Indeed, the 2012 growth rate exceeded a staggering 2,000 percent, with the market pegged to increase 1,300 percent to shipments of 1.3 billion units by 2017.

“The centralized processing in a sensor hub is typically achieved via three different approaches, each with its own advantages along with specific tradeoffs in cost or performance,” Boustany explained.

“One approach employs an external hub, typically a dedicated microcontroller (MCU), as offered by the likes of chip makers such as Atmel.”

According to senior IHS analyst Tom Hackenberg, the MCU approach will be the best-performing, most flexible solution for high-end handsets and tablets for several development generations to come.

“In whatever format, low-power sensor hubs are absolutely critical to supporting the expansion of sensors and other low-power capabilities in mobile and other applications, such as wearable electronics,” Hackenberg added.

Report: Wearables to drive significant battery revenue

Analysts at IHS say the global market for batteries used in wearable electronics will increase more than tenfold in just four short years, propelled by new devices suitable for active sports and fitness lifestyles. 

Indeed, worldwide revenue for wearable electronics batteries is projected to reach $77 million by 2018, up considerably from a mere $6 million by year-end in 2014.

In addition, industry revenue will have grown nearly 120 percent from 2014 levels.

“Wearable electronics will be the key to sustaining the current very-high-growth levels of battery revenue in consumer electronics,” explained Thomas McAlpine, power supply and storage component analyst for IHS.

“The tremendous expansion in store will come thanks to an increase in the shipments of smartwatch products, wearable health monitoring devices and smart glasses—products geared toward an active lifestyle combining advanced technological trends in miniature computing with newly smart consumer imperatives in fitness and fashion.”

In addition, annual shipments for wearable electronic devices will reach an estimated 56 million units by 2018, fueling continued demand for the batteries that power these products.

“Of the total number of batteries expected to be installed in wearable electronics by 2018, lithium polymer batteries will take the predominant share, accounting for 73 percent of total wearable electronics battery revenue,” said McAlpine. 

”Lithium polymer batteries are typically the preferred choice as they are lighter in weight and can be manufactured into a wider range of shapes and sizes, compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.”

Smartphone and tablet PC demand will continue to drive the majority of revenue growth in the lithium battery market for portable electronics over the next couple of years, with the combined shipments of these devices projected to grow 46 percent from 2013 to 2015. 

However, shipments will decrease from 2015 onward, and coupled with projected erosion in the average selling prices of lithium battery cells, growth will decelerate for the overall lithium battery market for portable consumer electronics.

“This means the emergence of new applications in the market is critical. Lithium batteries will remain an integral component for innovation in consumer electronics,” McAlpine added. “To achieve sustained market growth, new wearable electronics and other devices need to be introduced and adopted by the mass market, similar to what is occurring now in recently emerging product categories.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel is right in the middle of the wearable tech revolution, with the the soft electronics DIY Maker community adapting various Atmel-powered platforms specifically for wearables, including the Arduino Lilypad (ATmega328V) (developed by MIT Media Lab professor Leah Buechley), along with Adafruit’s very own Gemma (Atmel ATtiny85) and Flora (ATmega32u4), the latter of which can be easily daisy chained with various sensors for GPS, motion and light.

In addition, Atmel’s microcotrollers are found in a number of smartwatches and wearable medical devices.

Interested in learning more about wearables? You can check out our extensive article archive on the subject here.