Nokia: Phones Will Kill MP3, Video Cams

In interview published in today’s edition of the Financial Times (signup required), Anssi Vanjoki, the head of Nokia‘s multimedia unit, predicted the mobile phone will kill markets for standalone media devices such as music players and video camcorders.

Vanjoki pointed out that in 2000, Nokia predicted the traditional photo industry was on its last legs, and, sure enough, Konica Minolta has shut down its camera business, and Agfa-Gevaert sold its photography unit in 2004. The article quotes Vanjoki as saying “In the next 6-12 months, there will be more of these announcements. The next to disappear will be the makers of music devices and then the manufacturers of video cameras.”

Nokia is the world’s largest maker of mobile handsets, having made some 100 million handsets last year, some 40 million of them with built-in music capability.

To date, phone handsets have made little dent in the market for MP3 players, with recent studies finding consumers prefer the control and quality of dedicated music players to the music capabilities often hastily added on to phones. But as mobile phones pay increasing attention to the design of their music features, become capable of storing significant amounts of music, and integrate with user’s digital music collections and over-the-air online music stores, the popularity of music phones is expected to soar. And, as ever, industry rumors have the engineers in Cupertino feverishly working on an Apple-branded iPod music phone.

Similarly, video recording capabilities have been the province of high-end smart phones, but as memory capacities increase and component prices decline, video-recording capabilities are increasingly becoming available in mid-range handsets.