A Billion Audio Players in 2009!

Sometimes you see market forecasts that blow your mind. I remember
attending Jupiter conferences starting in 1995 where forecasts were
made showing hundreds of millions of internet users worldwide in the
coming years, and it was mind-boggling then. Now, estimates say we’re
over a billion internet users worldwide.

Any time I see a billion of anything, I’m pretty impressed. So I was
suprised and impressed today to see analysts forecasting that nearly 1 billion mp3 players (including audio-enabled cell phones and audio playing portable gaming devices) will ship in 2009–just four years from now.

I always love seeing forecasts that reinforce business decisions that I have previously made.

In 2003, seeing the uptake in mp3 players (mainly iPods), I co-founded a niche digital audio company (LDSAudio.com) which is growing every month and is now moving into the mass audio book market with mp3books.com (great site redesign coming soon!).

It makes me wonder what other megatrends exist that might reach “a
billion” someday. Will there ever be a billion bloggers, for example,
or even a billion people reading blogs? Or a billion GPS-enabled
devices? Or a billion digital wallets?

I’ve seen the forecast for 3 billion cell phones by 2010, but are there
any other consumer electronics devices on the horizon that will see
rapid worldwide adoption and ever reach “a billion?”

Steve Jobs has denied for months that iPods would be video-enabled, but
yesterday’s video iPod announcement was really no surprise. And now it’s just a
matter of time before everyone else jumps into the portable video game,
following Apple’s lead, and there are a billion portable video devices
on earth. Maybe by 2012 or 2013.

I’m guessing a billion digital cameras (mostly on phones) is not too
far away. Maybe Tivo and other DVRs (or is it PVRs) are on track as
well. And I bet Skype, Google Talk and other free voip apps will collectively reach a billion users within a few more years.

What do you think? Please share your comments.

2 Comments

  1. David Wood

    I am interested to see how well the laptop for every child program designed by MIT is going to work (http://laptop.media.mit.edu/). They might not reach a billion, but they could have a substantial impact on the world, especially if China gets involved as is rumored.

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