Apple, Sony and Creative: MP3 Mutations and Mindshare (AAPL, SNE, CREAF)

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 |  Includes: AAPL, CREAF, SNE
by: The Stalwart

The Stalwart submits: We have Mp3 players galore these days. In addition to all the flashy Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) products, we now have strange mutations such as Sony's Bean and Mobiblu's Cube, as well as a host of more iPod-ish clones. Yet Apple is suprisingly still able to dominate the the mindshare of its US consumers despite having so many contenders. It seems no other media player to date has been able to steal the limelight, with Sony's (NYSE: SNE) Playstation Portable (NYSEARCA:PSP) coming the closest, with 10m units sold so far, but still far off.

SCEI has shipped the greatest number of PSPs in North America. Shipments there totaled 4.5 million units and are followed in the ranking by Japan, at 3 million, and then Europe, at 2.5 million, it said.

By September this year, there were 183 software titles available and total shipments of games had reached 19.6 million units.

But going back to Apple, we note from our enlightened position here in Asia that the word "iPod" is less synonymous with the idea "MP3 player" in this region than it is in the US. While the iPod exists, people are more aware of other brands available and in turn shop around for different players quite readily. The iPod is just the one which you'd most like to reveal at the local Starbucks. Believe it or not The Sony Bean still lacks a certain Je ne sais quoi.

Still, after seeing how slick the Nano looked (despit its easy-scratching issues), we were suprised here to find that Apple's latest iPod Video's screen was still a bit small to be watching Desperate Housewives on. Why didn't they maximize their screen space? We might love the classic iPod click wheel, but perhaps more screen would have been better.

Hey, Creative did it -- (NSDQ: CREAF) having put out a new nice looking video player with a huge screen. But then again it probably doesn't matter since most people probably won't ever see or hear of Creative's device until well after Apple has caught on. Creative has learned the hard way that its not just what you do, but how you say it. Maybe the next lesson to learn from Apple is that its also about who you say it to. Because I doubt many people will ever know about Creatives slick new device...

So perhaps Steve Jobs didn't want to lose the big clickwheel just yet. Maybe we're getting phased off of it in stages, with a large-screen, small click wheel video player in the works. Still, for now we've been underwhelmed by the latest iPod. A few mp3 mutation photos provided below. The Sony's floppish Bean, iAudio's X5 (popular now among gadgetophiles), Creative's Zen Video, and the Stalwart favorite -- Mobiblu's Cube:

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