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Friday, January 21, 2005

The Mobile Phone As The Digital Music Player

We recently covered The Mobile Revolution Is Next Only To The Mobile Revolution emphasising the growing importance of mobile technologies and the potential it holds towards offering new range of services. Now Moconews points to an excellent trend analyis of the mobile phone providing digital music player capabilities. Excerpts with edits and comments added:

For portable music players, 2004 was a watershed year all over the world, and Japan was no exception. There's a big jump in the number of people using iPods and other players. With the introduction of full-song master-ringtones the mobile phone moved one step closer to competing with devices such as the iPod in the portable music player space. As phones with hard disks begin to enter the market in 2005, it's only a matter of time before the mobile phone will have the capacity to store the thousands of songs that most portable music players are able to hold now.It will be at least a year, probably two or more before a mobile phone comes out with enough storage space to mount a serious challenge as a stand-alone music player.A more immediate threat to the iPod comes from the full-song master-ringtone service being offered. It took the service provider only 48 days to achieve 1 million full-song downloads, despite being available on only four handset models. As with polyphonic MIDI-based ringtones, the key to success for master-ringtones has been the ease with which songs can be downloaded straight to the phone.

Another big factor working in favor of the mobile phone as a music download platform is the rate of subscriber growth. There are presently over 25.6 million 3G subscribers in Japan, and the number has been growing at a rate of nearly 1 million per month since January 2004. Contrast this with the present number of Japanese broadband subscribers (around 15 million)and the future for digital music on the
mobile phone begins to look even brighter still. Given the choice of using a PC/player combination versus downloading songs straight to the phone, the average Japanese consumer is more likely to go for the latter, even if it means having
fewer songs on the player

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