Samsung Electronics has developed a music-player cell phone with 8GB of built-in flash memory—double the amount of memory in Apple Computer’s hit-iPod nano.
The SCH-B570 can store about 1,600 MP3 music files or about 16 movies, and if that’s not enough entertainment, then there’s also a receiver for South Korea’s mobile satellite broadcasting service (S-DMB). It also has a 2-megapixel camera.
The phone, which was announced on Tuesday, will go on sale in South Korea shortly.
A day earlier, SanDisk took the wraps off an MP3 player with a similar 8GB storage capacity.
The relatively high price of flash memory is a limiting factor in the storage built into products such as MP3 players, phones and digital still cameras. But both Samsung and SanDisk are among the world’s largest manufacturers of flash memory chips and so are able to benefit from lower prices than those paid by competitors like Apple and Sony.
Both the new SanDisk player and cell phones capable of playing video like Samsung’s SCH-B570 are among the types of products that could kick-start the market for portable video. After Apple released the iPod with video last year, interest in the sector has grown, but the market remains small compared to that for music.
With such products raising awareness of portable video, the worldwide market for video-centric portable media players is expected to hit 5 million units this year from 390,000 in 2004, according to a report published earlier this month by InStat.
-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)