One third of phones will use accelerometers next year

When you turn your iPhone on its side, if you’ve got an iPhone that is, you are taking advantage of accelerometers built into the device. And next year we’ll have gyroscopic MEMS.

And now market research company iSuppli predicts that by 2010 as many as one third of mobile phones will use microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), spurred on by features built into iPhones and the Palm Pre.

“While few consumers know what accelerometers are, they do know that when they turn their iPhones to the side, their screens automatically adjust from portrait to landscape view, or that when they shake their handsets they can roll a pair of virtual dice in a game of chance,” said Jeremie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst at iSuppli.

He said that its teardown of the iPhone 3GS showed the use of an ST Microelectronics three axis MEMS accelerometer. The Palm Pre uses a Kionix MEMS accelerometer and inclinometer.

He said that 38 percent of new Nokia handsets include accelerometers while Samsung and LG have also jumped on the MEMS bandwagon, using three axis devices.

Bouchaud said that the market for MEMS for mobile phones will more than triple between 2008 to 2013. Revenues from sales of MEMS in phones will rise to $1.6 billion in 2013.  MEMS gyroscopes are en route at the beginning of next year, while the devices are also used in microphones, autofocus actuators, and other devices.