Global demand for portable digital media devices remains strong, a research report claims.

Worldwide shipments for flash- and hard drive-based portable media and MP3 players - such as the iPod - reached 182 million units in 2006, up 42 per cent on 2005, figures released by Research and Markets claim.

The researchers observed that new generations of affordable flash-based players, growing broadband penetration and the increasing availability of music and video online will propel future market growth.

They expect 275 million portable media players and digital music players will ship by 2011.

The analysts also expect shipments of video-enabled players to outpace those of music-only devices by 2008.

The data is contained in the latest Research and Markets report: Worldwide Demand Remains Strong for MP3 and Portable Media Players.