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Portable Media Players Will Gain Momentum

Driven by increased broadband market penetration, declining price points, and a growing catalog of online audio and video content, the market for MP3 players and portable media players (PMPs) will remain strong over the next five years, according to In-Stat.

Nevertheless, according to In-Stat's latest primary research study, the main reason consumers are purchasing portable MP3 players and video-capable PMPs today is for the audio playback capability, the high-tech market research firm says.

"Only 11 percent of survey respondents say they will purchase a PMP primarily for its video playback function," says Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst. "Still, the cost of incorporating video into portable devices continues to decline. As a result, In-Stat expects shipment growth of video-enabled PMPs to outpace that of audio-only MP3 players by the end of 2008."

I believe that portable media player functionality will continue to reside in other devices -- such as handheld computers. As an example, I own a Windows Mobile-based pocket PC, and have no need for a separate device. Therefore, I suspect that the total addressable market for mobile digital media consumption will always be much greater than the dedicated device adoption.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- Worldwide unit shipments for audio-only MP3 players and PMPs combined will reach 275 million units in 2011, up from 182 million in 2006.

- Of the 2,408 respondents to In-Stat's latest survey of U.S. consumers, 52 percent own an MP3 player or PMP.

- In-Stat does not expect music-enabled cell phone shipments to displace dedicated PMP/MP3 player shipments any time soon, but there is an opportunity for cell phone manufacturers to capture those consumers who are considering cheap, audio-only MP3 players.

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