Are phones bringing a swan-song to dedicated DAPs?


I just caught the latest press release from Creative about their new Zen Mosaic Digital Audio Player when this question came to mind: are these devices slowly fading away as the same functions are becoming standard in mobile phones? Let’s take a look at the new Zen, for example:

  • 2- or 4-GB of flash storage ($99 and $129, respectively), with 8- and 16-GB models coming later. That’s plenty of room to carry tunes, but most new phones have some internal storage and many are including microSD expansion options.
  • 32 hours of audio playback, which is pretty darn good. Most phones can’t approach that, but some can play audio for well over 20 hours. Plenty in my book.
  • A built in speaker for the Mosaic. Nice, but probably of limited use and I can’t remember the last time I saw a phone that didn’t have some sort of external speaker that could be used for the same purpose.
  • 1.8-inch display on the Zen to display photos and videos. This doesn’t exactly trump most modern phones.
  • A built-in FM radio. That’s definitely attractive to some and I’ve seen very few phones with this capability. It’s a differentiator, but for a limited audience I think.

Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not picking on the new Creative Zen Mosaic as it looks good on paper and for folks that want a dedicated DAP, it should be a consideration. I could have easily inserted any other player in the mix here because the question really applies to the product genre, not a specific product.

What do you think? Are we at the point where a dedicated DAP is moving down (or off?) your gadget list due to phones offering similar functionality? I haven’t looked at sales numbers to confirm or refute my thought on this; I’m more interested in your opinions of the trend. For the record: I still have the first-gen Zune that I bought when it was introduced. However, for most audio & video, I use my first-gen iPhone these days; my son uses the Zune to watch transcoded DVDs we own.

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