Analysts Predict'99 Solid-State Portable Sales

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Two leading research organizations have forecast U.S. consumer sales of 500,000 to 600,000 solid-state portables in 1999.

Growing consumer awareness, more SKUs, and the entrance of traditional CE suppliers into the solid-state portable market will help raise sales to 600,000 units during calendar-year 1999, said Dataquest analyst Van Baker.

Unit sales will hit that full-year mark despite sales through mid-October reaching only about 300,000, he said, noting that Diamond Multimedia sold the majority of those units.

Forrester Research analyst Mark Hardie forecasts sales of almost 500,000, down significantly from his estimate earlier this year of 1 million, and due to delayed shipments and constrained production.

Manufacturing had more problems than expected, he said, citing the complexity of incorporating an operating system, BIOS, memory-drive bays and the like into portable devices.

Hardie believes the majority of sales to date have been online.

Expanding distribution will help boost the market, Baker said, but so will consumer demand -- is growing because of more awareness that "there's nothing illegal about MP3" and that such technologies can be used to copy music from discs.


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