Market research firm ABI Research suggests the dominance of standalone MP3 players could be ending thanks to the advent of hard disk drive-based cell phones. The company predicts cell phones could “rival or surpass” mobile MP3 players like Apple’s iPod “as the mass market mobile music device of choice.”
Alan Varghese, ABI Research’s principal analyst of
wireless semiconductor research, said that many users want just one device that handles many functions — mobile music, phone calls, digital photography, e-mail, Web browsing.
“As the cellular handset becomes the one device that the world carries, the standalone MP3 player may well be left behind,” said Varghese in a statement.
ABI said that hard drive-based handsets have grown in capacity from 1.5GB in 2004 to 8GB today, with larger, smaller hard drives headed to the market all the time. What’s more, mobile operators are muscling in to the commercial music download space with their own services, to compete against the iTunes Music Store, Napster and other services.
Even so, the real threat, said ABI, is that high-capacity handsets provide users with the ability to listen to music they’ve ripped from their own CD collection — still the dominant source of songs for most music listeners.