Shipments of MP3 players should hit 3.5 million in 2003, almost double 2002 figures, Jupiter said in a report it issued Tuesday. It also said more than 26 million MP3 players will be in use by 2006. Starting in 2004, the demand for players with hard drives will surpass that of players with flash memory.
New music players and download services such ashave "energized the music industry," Jupiter said.
The market researcher said a few more stores and services may soon add their names to a list that includes America Online, Musicmatch, Napster and RealNetworks. While Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Amazon.com will miss the winter shopping season, computer makersand have already launched MP3 players, according to the report.
"MP3 players are not quite this season's DVD player, but portable music players, combined with online music stores and services, will be a strong holiday-shopping combination," David Card, Jupiter's research director, said in a statement.