Back to the Future: ABI Research sees Portable Player Markets Almost Ready to Lose the PC

Today`s so-called portables are still tied by an umbilical cord to the computer and a broadband connection.

Oyster Bay, NY - May 12, 2005 - In 2004, ABI Research published a report suggesting that what today's portable digital audio and video players needed was to become truly portable, in the way that old portable cassette and CD players were. Vamsi Sistla, director of residential entertainment research, said at the time, ". The industry should address these shortcomings."

Today the signs are that the industry agreed, and true portability is beginning to arrive. Analyst Joseph Yau, who has just updated that 2004 study, reports that Wi -Fi networking capabilities are starting to appear in portable audio players. "Although such models are still few in number, they will become a flood in 2006," he says. Thomson is even introducing a product line that will interface the player directly with a home hi -fi system, without the need for an intermediary PC and broadband connection.

On the video side, EchoStar has just invested $10 million in player vendor Archos, which is said to be introducing a specially -tailored media player that will load movies directly from EchoStar's DISH Network feeds.

Video, however, is a more difficult proposition for true portability, because of long transfer times. "Media players are where the portable music market was five years ago," says Yau.

But the portable industry is growing explosively, he adds, both for equipment vendors and for content providers. "Yahoo's entry into the downloadable music market is a solid confirmation of that fact. One important development from such content providers is the bundling of free and extra downloads for annual subscribers. Apple, with its single 99 cent purchase model, will have to watch out."

ABI Research's study, "Portable Audio, Video and Game Market Evolution" discusses the technologies involved, the driving forces and the competitive business environment.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations that support annual research programs, intelligence services and market reports in automotive, wireless, semiconductors, broadband, and energy. For more information please visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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