Battery life drives chip clock growth

Battery life drives chip clock growth

Market news |
By Nick Flaherty

The power consumed by the clock tree in a chip may not seem significant, but it is a major diver of the global semiconductor clock market. This market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 13% until 2020 to drive up the lifetime of battery-backed systems says the report by Technavio.

“Semiconductor clocks are used in different types of electronic devices including portable and battery-operated equipment. A semiconductor clock ensures synchronization between the software time and the real time in electronic devices. The clock helps reduce power consumption by putting the processor of the electronic device in sleep or hibernation mode, thereby boosting the device’s battery life,” said Asif Gani, one of Technavio’s lead analysts for semiconductor equipment research. “A standalone semiconductor clock consumes only 100 nanoamperes in the power-down mode while the integrated clock consumes 2-10 microamperes. In this respect, semiconductor clocks are indispensable devices for almost all electronic devices being sold in the market,” he said. 

Consumer electronic devices using quartz crystal and MEMs clocks lead the market with 36.5%, followed by computing devices at 33%. Industrial devices account for 13% of the market with automotive applications at 9.7% and telecommunications at 7.6%.

The consumer electronic device segment was valued at $759.7 million in 2015. The high demand for smart, efficient, and power-saving household equipment means manufacturers are engaged in delivering household products with improved semiconductor equipment. Most consumer systems and applications such as smart meters, banking systems, and security systems run on the basis of time-based information. This explains the importance of semiconductor clocks in these systems and applications.

The computing device segment was valued at $689.4 million in the same year, having been overtaken by consumer in 2014. A major driver for the computing devices segment is the growing cloud computing market. A number of hardware products such as storage devices and servers used for cloud infrastructure require quartz crystal or MEMS oscillators. The growth of the cloud computing market will lead to the increased demand for oscillators. The computing segment will increase its market share during the forecast period due to the positive outlook for the information and communications technology sector worldwide.

The $269.6m industrial devices segment has increased its spending on quartz crystal and MEMS oscillators that are required for basic functions across applications such as programmable logic controllers, healthcare machinery and equipment, security systems, manufacturing equipment, power generators, and point of sale (POS) terminals. The use of semiconductor clocks, along with ICs, will accelerate integration and enable downsizing of electronic equipment. Industrial manufacturers intent on reducing their carbon footprints are driving the market demand for smaller, more accurate RTCs that consume less power. Thus, the adoption of quartz crystal and MEMS oscillators for industrial applications will result in an increased demand for advanced semiconductor clocks during the forecast period.

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