Cell Phones Poised to Replace Music-only Mp3s

By: Kevin Cantera

Just think! If Alexander Graham Bell could see the latest phones!
When the inventor, not all that long ago in 1876, first uttered those famous words through the prototype telephone to his co-inventor, "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you," there is no way he could have imagined how his simple invention would grow into such a world-wide phenomenon. With a slow evolution at first, the telephone has become the world's most favored device, and now, with cell phones all but omnipresent wherever you go, the humble invention of Mr. Bell is ready to become the world's favorite musical device too. Bell, who labored to come up with a device that could send a human voice over a telegraph line, would never have imagined that his trusty telephone could ever permanently replace all music devices.

Growth for Mp3 players is tailing off as more people turn to cell phones to get their music fix. In fact, according to The New York Times, overall sales growth of devices that play media - but which don't make phone calls - is likely to slow harshly over the next five years after a decade of double-digit gains, said the newspaper, citing a report from iSuppli Corp., a consumer electronics industry consulting firm. Fueled mostly by the attraction of the iPod, Mp3 player revenues in the US have constantly shot through the roof. Revenues jumped from just $80 million in 2000 to a whopping $5.56 billion in 2006, said the Times, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, an industry trade group. The world-wide exigency has been even better, with iSuppli industry revenues from MP3 players and other personal media players growing 8 percent worldwide in 2007 to $19.5 billion, up from $18 billion in 2006.

But, according to the authorities on such subjects: "The party is about to be over ... The slowdown in the next 24 months is due to the long-term threat from multi-media devices that make calls." Music-capable phones now outnumber portable music and video players. On top of mounting competition from phones, revenue generated by Mp3 players is also feeling a pinch from a rising tide of low-priced gadgets. With prices having gone steadily downward, music lovers do not have to pay more than $200 for a device anymore - and many excellent music playing phones can be purchased for less than that!

At the same time as the general Mp3 commerce may be slowing down, the biggest players, such as Apple, are for the most part well-positioned to take advantage of the trend toward new and more capable devices.

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