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A recent review of the ABI Research teardown products showed that Wolfson Microelectronics is expanding its presence in smartphones with a number of new product lines. It's interesting to see three new parts appear in recent teardowns:

  • The WM7130, a MEMS microphone
  • The WM8915, a multi-channel ultra-low power audio hub for high quality voice and Hi-Fi quality multimedia playback and recording
  • The WM1830, a low power audio DSP for high performance voice and multimedia enhancement

The first part was found in the Motorola Droid 4 and the second two in the Blackberry Bold 9790.

This demonstrates that Wolfson in now starting to see a return on the investment it made purchasing MEMS microphone specialist Oligon in 2007. Winning a slot in a prestigious handset such as the Droid 4 is no mean feat, especially as it is up against the main incumbent Knowles and a whole host of more recent arrivals in the market such as STMicroelectronics. This is a fast growing market, expected to reach over 500 million units per annum by 2014 in the smartphone market alone (See Mobile Device Semiconductor Markets: Platform ICs, MEMS, Wireless Connectivity ICs, and Audio ICs).

Wolfson have long been a major supplier of audio ICs to the mobile handset market, the inclusion of its WM8915 and WM1830 shows it is continuing to develop compelling solutions for this market. When this is combined with MEMS microphone capability it makes Wolfson an interesting partner for smartphone OEMs.

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