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Chipmaker Cirrus Logic Taps into LED Lighting Market.

Chipmaker Cirrus Logic Taps into LED Lighting Market.

Austin, Texas-based chipmaker Cirrus Logic (CRUS) is entering into the LED lighting market with a digital LED controller that it says solves dimmer compatibility issues that have been a major barrier to adoption of LED.

According to the company, LED cabinet light retrofit bulbs available today are based primarily on analog controllers and often are incompatible with dimmers installed in homes and businesses. Dimmer incompatibility problems are a leading cause of product returns because they can cause flickering or flashing light or the inability to turn on or off.

To solve the problem, the company has developed new controller which has been tested to provide compatibility with the vast majority of lighting dimmers in use worldwide. The CS161X controller already is in high-volume production for a "tier-1 lighting company," Cirrus Logic CEO Jason Rhode said in an interview. Cirrus expects to ship 5 million to 10 million G4 LED controllers to multiple customers this year. The first products using Cirrus' TruDim technology are expected to hit store shelves within weeks.

According to Oppenheimer analyst Rick Schafer, Cirrus Logic is a top supplier of analog and digital signal processing components for audio and energy markets. It is the chief supplier of audio codec products for Apple (AAPL) devices ranging from iPods to Macintosh computers. Apple products account for more than 70% of Cirrus Logic's sales and could be close to 80% by year's end. And any contribution from LED lighting products will be minuscule for at least a couple of years.