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MP3 player all over the place

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DQW Bureau
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According to IDC, the portable compressed audio (MP3) player market continues

to surge, led by the portable flash player category which is expected to grow

from 26.4 million units shipped worldwide in 2004 to nearly 124 million units in

2009. Growth in the portable flash player category is expected to be fueled by

falling flash memory costs, vendor adoption of flash for multiple device storage

capacities at competitive retail price points, availability of paid online media

services, and growing consumer awareness of and demand for portable MP3 players.

However, music-enabled mobile phones are expected to inhibit the portable MP3

player market somewhat during the forecast period and the extent of this trend

will vary by world region.

IDC segments the compressed audio player market into four major categories:

portable, home and automotive audio-focused devices, and a fourth

"other" category of devices that support compressed audio as a

secondary feature (such as DVD players, mobile phones, and gaming devices).

These categories are developing at different rates with distinct market forces

influencing each one. The 'other' category, which includes devices that are

competitive substitutes for audio-only portable, home and automotive players,

will lead the compressed audio player market throughout and beyond the forecast

period, and worldwide is expected to exceed 700 million units shipped and $114

billion in revenue in 2009.

"Demand for portable MP3 players is booming, as more and more consumers

get acquainted with their stylish form factors and digital audio

functionality", said Susan Kevorkian, Program Manager, Consumer Markets-

Audio at IDC. "In addition, DVD players, mobile phones and gaming devices

that play back compressed audio will be key drivers of the compressed audio

player market during the forecast period."

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