Cirrus Logic today moved one step closer toward releasing an integrated processor, or "system on a chip," a product that's intended to give the chipmaker a slice of the growing small-device market.
Cirrus said its system-on-a-chip prototype now includes audio capabilities, but still lacks graphical capability. When finished, the processor will run on embedded Internet appliances like set-top boxes and network computers.
Integration has become one of the buzzwords among specialty chip vendors such as Cirrus, as many of their traditional segments, such as the graphics chip market, are being eroded by low prices and high competition. The decline has coincided with the need for versatile and relatively inexpensive microprocessors with built-in modem, audio, and graphics functionality for set-top boxes and cell phones.
The search for new markets is especially important for Cirrus, a company that has seen most of its graphics business vanish.