Sneakernet Will Drive Flash Sales
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Wireless networks may have sold like hotcakes over the past two years, but even in the US where the penetration of home networking is far higher than Australia, the sneakernet is alive and well.

All the press might be about the latest and greatest MIMO and hopes for the forthcoming 802.11n standard, but out there in user land its luggable media nearly all the way.

It’s good news for the makers of flash memory and portable disk drive devices according to research outfit In-Stat. The news could be even better for content publishers and retailers looking for a new generation content delivery system they can put on shop shelves.

In-State reckons consumers like luggable media because its low-cost, high availability, and convenient.

“There will be opportunities for movie studios and other professional content companies to get extra revenues by licensing portable versions of their content, as well as by cross-promoting their content,” says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst. “The portable versions can be used to drive consumers to the packaged goods versions such as DVDs. We expect to see luggable media solutions being tested this year and next, and then hitting the big time during 2008.”

There is now a wide choice in low-cost interfaces such as Secure Digital, Memory Stick, USB, and MicroDisk which all serve the moveable media industry’s needs and the researcher predicts that sales of this type of media could rise form about US$441 million this year to more than US$25 Billion by 2010.

In-Stat says the portability factor coupled with the ability to transfer very large movie files in less than half a minute suits the consumer, while the ability to build DRM, encryption, and even conditional access into the devices is attractive to content distributors.