Analog Devices' SoundMAX line of audio codecs has been one of the more notable integrated audio options in PC motherboards for some time now. SoundMAX solutions have found their way into motherboards from Intel and Asus, among others, and have fared reasonably well in our testing. However, ADI hasn't quite managed to steal enough market share away from suppliers like Realtek to make a go of it, and now, the firm has decided to cease development of new PC audio codecs in order to focus on other markets. In a statement, Analog Devices explained it reasons thus:
In a move that reflects the maturing state of the PC codec business, Analog Devices has decided not to advance our PC HD audio codec roadmap with additional silicon products. ADI will continue to ship all of the codec products currently in the market, and will continue to provide the support and resources needed by the many customers using these codecs.
More specifically, ADI will fulfill its commitments to current customer product launches and will continue providing software updates to sustain older platforms.
While ADI is proud of the quality that SoundMAX represents in integrated motherboard audio, the PC audio market has become more and more of a commodity space. Accordingly, this decision is in line with a strategy to focus core investments where the company's signal processing expertise can earn superior returns.
In other words, Analog Devices believes there's not enough money in integrated audio codecs, and it plans to exit that market and focus on something more profitable. The firm hasn't said exactly what it plans to do next, but it did mention in its email to us that its digital signal processing team "has a lot of other things in the works." Unfortunately PC integrated audio will be a little worse off as a result.