RealTime IT News

Report: A Cell Phone of All Trades?

Are iPods soon to be history? Cell phones boasting hard drives may muscle-out standalone MP3 players, according to a new study.

Ten years ago, few would have envisioned cell phones with hard disk storage. Now, as wireless handsets take on music, video and more, phones are appearing with hard drives boasting up to 8GB capacity.

As storage increases and cell phones become multifunction devices, "the standalone MP3 player may well be left behind," said ABI Research analyst Alan Varghese in a statement.

Samsung, which in 2004 began the trend with its 1.5GB SPH-V5400 phone, recently offered its 8GB SGH-i310. Nokia sells a 4GB N91.

"As the mobile phone becomes a multimedia entertainment and computing device, it has incorporated high-capacity storage similar to that of the PC," said Varghese in a statement.

MP3 vendors will attempt to retain market share by offering larger hard drives, but may fail, writes the analyst.

While MP3 players have maintained their lead by upping storage capacity to as much as 60GB, increasingly, it won't matter to consumers whether they can store 2000 songs or 7,500, according to ABI Research.

Apple's iTunes will feel even greater pressure from mobile operators offering similar services to subscribers with phones able to store their personal music collections, as well as music downloaded online, said the study.