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December 15, 2004

PVPs: Is there a market?

eHomeupgrade has some thoughts on this article from Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research who does a weekly column in Engadget. Jupiter Research found that 55% of people would like to watch video on a mobile player (as opposed to 79% who would like to listen to music). That's a high number, but as Walter Mossberg, columnist for the Wall Street Journal mentioned previously, the difficulty of getting content on to a device is too high to make it ready for primetime.

It will be interesting to see what happens. When asked about these things without a price tag, it's easy to incorrectly extrapolate whether users will pay an additional premium to have that functionality. I'd love for my MP3 player to bake chocolate chip cookies, but if it cost another $100, I'll stick with a traditional oven.

On the other hand, buying decisions can be quite different than the way people actually use a product. Many people buy 4 wheel drive vehicles but never actually use the feature. All else being equal, people will purchase a 4 mega-pixel camera over a 3 mega-pixel if it's the same price, regardless of whether they need the extra pixels or not. The point being that if people think they need video features on their MP3 player, it may not matter in the long run if they rarely use it.

Assuming PVPs fall into the same product category as MP3 players, the real issue could very well rest on what the cost difference is between video-capable and traditional MP3 players. At the current $100 difference at retail it's a hard sell, but if the differential is reduced, it might very well become a checkbox item.

Posted on December 15, 2004

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