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Flash-equipped Personal Media Players Outpacing Those With Hard Drives

4 Jun, 2007 By: Chris Tribbey

More personal media players today are equipped with flash memory instead of hard drives, and the disparity between the two will only grow, according to a new study by electronics research firm iSuppli Corp.

Nearly 55 million flash-equipped Personal Media Players (defined as MP3 players capable of color video playback) will ship by the end of 2007, compared to fewer than 6 million units in 2006. In contrast, fewer than 30 million PMPs with hard drives are expected to ship by year's end, according to iSuppli. By 2011 flash-equipped PMPs could reach more than 150 million units shipped, iSuppli forecasted, compared to more than 35 million PMPs with hard drives.

“Flash costs are nearing a point where makers of MP3 music players can add enough capacity to support video content,” said Chris Crotty, a senior consumer electronics analyst for iSuppli, in a press release. “The average cost of NAND flash memory will decline by 47.1% per year from 2005 to 2010.”

While hard drives are less expensive to produce, Crotty said, flash drives allow for longer battery life, are smaller than hard drives, and can be more flexible in what they can store. Flash drives also use less battery power and are less susceptible to breakdowns than hard drives, he added.

Using the numbers, iSuppli predicted that PMP market leader Apple will add video-capable flash players to the market following the launch of its iPhone this summer.

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