Applications for Hall Effect IC Switches in Portable Electronics

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, consumer electronics became the largest user and primary driver of semiconductors in 2004 and continues to increase over the corporate market segment. In consumer electronics, portable products are the fastest growing area. With cell phones alone projected to grow from over a billion units in 2007 to almost 1.5 billion in 2010 according to market research firm Gartner Dataquest, it should be no surprise.

While providing high volume opportunites for suppliers of the right components, consumer electronics and especially the portable consumer electronics portion places high demand on suppliers, requiring small size, high functionality, low power consumption and low cost as the major criteria for acceptance. In this highly competitive arena, the Hall effect, a magnetic technology discovered in the 19th century and popularized in the latter part of the 20th century through its implementation using large-scale integrated circuit (LSI) technology and advanced packaging is proving to be the right solution for adding functionality to cellular phones, portable computers, digital cameras, navigation systems, electronic toys and more.

In portable consumer electronic products, Hall effect sensors provide an effective alternative to mechanical switches with increased reliability as well as cost and/or performance advantages over other non-contact technologies. Using integrated bipolar sensing and CMOS logic circuitry with highly reliable semiconductor packaging and a small magnet, the Hall integrated circuit (IC) provides several useful functions.

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