Study: MP3 Player Market in Its Infancy

Apple Computer's iPod might be the hot MP3 player these days, but according to a new study, the MP3 market is still in its infancy. Research firm IDC predicts that the MP3 player market will experience 20 percent growth each year for the next few years and hit $58 billion in revenues in 2008. Surprisingly, the firm believes the portable flash player market will see the largest growth. In 2003, device makers shipped 12.5 million flash players, but that number is expected to grow to 50 million in 2008. IDC said several vendors will shortly be launching new portable jukeboxes with small hard disks, providing increased competition for the iPod. In related news, Sony, a portable audio pioneer that has yet to leverage its Walkman success to the MP3 market, is expected to finally support the MP3 audio format natively in its music players. The company currently supports only the proprietary ATRAC-3 format on its devices. This format requires users to endure a time-consuming conversion process when transferring music. The move could (finally) make Sony a major player in the MP3 market

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