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Jupiter: 1,000-song pocket about the right size

A consumer survey says digital music players don't need to store more than 1,000 tunes. Larger players not only go beyond the size most consumers want "but also beyond the digital music that they own."

One thousand songs is just about the right size for a portable media player, according to a survey by Jupiter Research.

The online survey found that 90 percent of consumers have no more than 1,000 songs on their PCs. And 77 percent of the consumers Jupiter questioned said they'd be interested in purchasing a portable media player with a capacity of 1,000 songs. The 4GB hard drive included in Apple Computer's iPod Mini, and in MP3 players from some Apple rivals, holds roughly that number of songs.

Apple's latest product was so popular in the United States that the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker had to push the player's global release back from April to July.

"Vendors such as Creative, Archos, Dell and Apple have all created hard drive music players that can hold up to and beyond 5,000 songs," the report states. "Hard drive players with such large capacity for content go above and beyond not only the music that most consumers want on their portable music player, but also beyond the digital music that they own."

Hard drive size isn't the only thing that matters to music lovers. When asked which features matter most, 55 percent listed a rechargeable battery, 52 percent said small device size, and 49 percent said the ability to connect the device to their computer. Vendors should be cognizant of these priorities, Jupiter said.

The Jupiter Research survey also found that 20 percent of consumers said playing MP3 files is important, versus 7 percent who would prefer files in Microsoft's WMA format and fewer than 1 percent who prefer the Advanced Audio Coding format, an open standard that was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group and which is supported on Apple's iTunes music store.