Music players remain in vogue, with
JupiterResearch predicting US sales will climb 35 per cent this year.

The researchers expect 18.2 million music players to ship in the US this year, and state sales will: "Maintain a compound annual growth rate of over 10 per cent through 2010, reaching an installed base of 56.1 million by then, up from 16.2 million in 2004," they said.

Apple maintains an 89 per cent share of the hard drive music player market and iPod shuffle stole 45 per cent of the flash-based market in February this year.

"The iPod is a consumer phenomenon. Apple dominates this sector and will dominate portable MP3 player growth over the medium term," said Michael Gartenberg, VP and Research Director at JupiterResearch.

The analysts believe flash-based player shipments will overtake hard-drive based sales in 2007. They point out that 15 per cent of US households now have MP3 players, which creates "a critical mass of customers for other products and services".