/ Technology

Are mp3 players becoming extinct?

Playing music on a smartphone

The rapid advance of smartphones’ capabilities means many of us no longer carry around a separate mp3 player. But can a phone perform as well, and are you ready to ditch your portable media player completely?

Statistics from a recent Mintel report indicated that the smartphone could be replacing the stand-alone portable media player. A third of us listening to music on our phones, compared to just 12% using a dedicated portable media player.

So, is it the end for the humble mp3 player?

With so many of us owning a smartphone these days – be it an Apple, Android or Blackberry device – we effectively have a media player in our pocket at all times.

Why have two devices when one will do?

Carrying around a separate product simply to play music seems a little archaic, especially as today’s mobiles are a lot more user friendly than they used to be when it comes to playing music. Most devices have done away with propriety headphone sockets, so headphones can easily be plugged into phones without the need for an adapter or the cheap sets that come with the phone.

A large proportion of smartphones also have expandable memory storage, through micro SD cards, meaning that even the most dedicated music fan won’t run out of space.

Add to that the plethora of music apps available to stream content, such as Spotify and Last FM, and you don’t even need to have your favourite music stored locally any more.

Not just mp3 players at risk

Then there’s cost. If you buy your mobile on a contract, you might perceive it as being ‘free’. Of course, we end up paying for the device over the time our contract runs, but on the surface it may seem a lot more attractive than paying for a portable media player out-right.

It’s not just mp3 players that are in danger of being discarded. Handheld games consoles and digital cameras are also under threat from the convergence of mobile phones.

Do you still use your mp3 player, or has your phone replaced it?

J Pound says:
22 December 2011

I was lucky enough to be given a 2nd gen. i-touch which is great when travelling as I can use the wi-fi in hotels, cafes ,etc. I own a non-smartphone (I”m a light user) as I do not see the economic advantage of shelling-out for a smartphone for now. When the prices came down I may be converted though.

My battery life is so rubbish on my smartphone – until that improves I can’t see smartphones being the ‘one size fits all’ solution.

I won an MP3 player from Virgin Media years ago – It is brilliant – holds around 200 tunes – battery lasts for 10 hours continuous playing – to be used anywhere and is excellent stereo. I also have an excellent pay as you go phone with no excess charges. Not to mention a PC in every room some of them Laptops to cater for all of my computer needs. Why the devil should I buy a “smart phone”?? Just so some company can make vaster fortunes from third world exploitation??

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I think there will still be a market for smaller, more basic mp3 players.

I have had one of these for about 4 years, but have used it almost exclusively during jogging. I find the simple, one button operation easy and because it was so cheap I don’t worry about it – on the other hand, my phone is more valuable and would certainly worry more about dropping it!

David Bevan says:
15 February 2012

MP3 for me every time.
a) it holds my entire cd collection – several hundred.
b) I can listen in areas where phones are banned.
c) couldn’t survive a plane journey, especially long-haul, without it.

GillyGloucs says:
22 February 2012

I have a Creative Zen MP3 player which I use very day, mostly when I’m out walking the dogs. It’s small, holds loads of music and audiobooks (I listen mostly to the latter) and also doubles as a radio. . My MP3 player gets a bit of a tough time of it, being dropped in the muddy woods, stuffed in damp pockets, thrwn around at the bottom of my handbag etc and it’s robust enough to cope (and cheap enough to replace if necessary). My smartphone is bigger, less convenient and I’d worry about damaging it, and the associated repair/replacement costs.

So no, I’m not planning on ditching my Zen buddy any time soon!

crossleydd42 says:
22 February 2012

One thing about mp3 players over smartphones is the battery life. I was on a long coach ride and what with listening and making/receiving calls, the battery went flat and no mp3 player after that!

Craig says:
24 December 2015

Dedicated MP3 players have several advantages:
Battery life (most smartphones are lucky to last a day or a day and half, most need charged overnight, with regular use, if you listen to music a lot then the phone battery will really not last!)

Storage capacity (a 32gb smartphone doesnt have anywhere near that kind of storage available for music as its taken up with apps, photos, emails, messages, ringtones, etc but a 32gb mp3 player has that as USEABLE memory)

Physical size (they’re not the bricks that smartphones are)