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Summary:

The MP3 player saved the music business. But now consumers are replacing dedicated music players, ebook readers and compact cameras with multi-purpose smartphones. All hail the new Swiss Army knife.

Mobile-Apps-Are-Taking-Over

Earlier this month, we reported how ebook reader sales were set to sink in 2012 — and plummet in future years. We also know compact camera sales are declining.

Now there is also a gloomy outlook for portable audio players, with consumer retail research outfit Mintel (via Telegraph) seeing MP3 players shedding 22 percent in 2012 UK sales revenue.

The common thread — consumers are now replacing these dedicated single-function devices with multi-function smartphones or tablets at an accelerating rate.

What once was, itself, a mono-functional device for making calls has become a Swiss Army knife for communication, entertainment and more. In fact, as Telegraph Media Group executive editor Edward Roussel comments:

Mintel forecasts MP3 player sales halving again to £177 million by 2017. But it also sees a “worst-case” scenario of their revenue diminishing to just £25 million — that is £356 million less than Mintel’s 2012 sales estimate.

If it’s any consolation, this pace of decline — at least, for now — is less than that predicted by IHS iSuppli for ereaders.

A quarter of consumers polled by Mintel said they will buy a smartphone instead of a portable media player in future.

Ofcom’s recent annual International Communications Market Research report shows how smartphones are the handheld devices most commonly used to access the internet…

Handheld device internet connections from Ofcom CMR 2012

This year, we saw the emergence of a mobile-first digital ecosystem, with many services beginning to report greater consumption on mobile than desktop devices. But Ofcom’s data shows computers are still the device on which people most frequently use the internet…

Ofcom CMR 2012 - internet device usage

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  1. All-singing devices? I had to read the article to understand the meaning of the title, but I still don’t understand what the term is supposed to mean.

  2. This is interesting. I got into a heated discussion with my wife, who is not a gadget person (and in her early 30s). Note that she owns a smart phone. Her gripe was that she does not like multipurpose devices because there are always more steps involved with getting at the information you need, and they often don’t multitask very well (especially with an incoming phone call). She was appalled that I wanted to remove her car’s GPS and just use the phone. She was offended at my suggestion to play music from her phone.

    I prefer desktops and laptops to less customizable UIs like tablet and smart phones. I wonder if UI-wise most people really have a preference for single-use devices but don’t want to spend the money on duplicated hardware.

  3. Isn’t this just device convergence? I thought we were talking about this like 4-5 years ago.

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