J@pan Inc writes:
As phones with hard disks begin to enter the market in 2005, it’s only a matter of time before the mobile phone will have the capacity to store the thousands of songs that most portable music players are able to hold now. The question is ‘how much time?’. We think it will be at least a year, probably two or more before a mobile phone comes out with enough storage space to mount a serious challenge as a stand-alone music player.
A more immediate threat to the iPod comes from the full-song master-ringtone service offered by KDDI (with DoCoMo and Vodafone sure to follow). It took KDDI’s service only 48 days to achieve 1 million full-song downloads, despite being available on only four handset models. As with polyphonic MIDI-based ringtones, the key to success for master-ringtones has been the ease with which songs can be downloaded straight to the phone.
Another big factor working in favor of the mobile phone as a music download platform is the rate of subscriber growth. There are presently over 25.6 million 3G subscribers in Japan, and the number has been growing at a rate of nearly 1 million per month since January 2004. Contrast this with the present number of Japanese broadband subscribers (around 15 million) and the future for digital music on the mobile phone begins to look even brighter still. Given the choice of using a PC/player combination versus downloading songs straight to the phone, the average Japanese consumer is more likely to go for the latter, even if it means having fewer songs on the player.