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Video iPod Boost All Portable Media Players

Even though Apple's video-capable iPod technically does not fit the definition of a true Portable Media Player (PMP), it has given the product class a boost, reports In-Stat.

Today, consumers are more aware of portable video, additional PMP brands, and ways in which they can download video to handheld devices. In-Stat estimates that the worldwide market for true, video-centric PMPs will grow to 5 million units by the end of 2006, up from a mere 390,000 just two years ago.

"Despite the fact that PMP shipments are finally gaining traction, suppliers and manufacturers continue to face challenges," says Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst. "PMPs will continue to compete with other portable devices offering similar functionality, such as notebook computers, portable DVD players, handheld gaming products, and other mobile devices."

In-Stat's study found the following:

- The video-enabled iPod has spurred a slew of video-capable portable MP3 players from competitors such as SanDisk, Creative, and Samsung. These products are not classified as "true" PMPs, but they have helped establish the market for portable video.

- In a US-based survey of consumers, 75 percent of all respondents (n = 1,099) have some level of familiarity with PMPs.

- Over the next year, In-Stat expects that improvements in video compression technology, download video content sites, and wireless communications will help drive the PMP market.

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