Global sales of flash memory-based portable digital music players are expected to rise significantly this year, according to research from IDC cited by Creative Technology. The company said IDC estimates that Creative and its rivals, including Samsung and Apple, would collectively sell 35 million portable flash players in 2005, compared with 25 million in 2004. “Apple is the leader in the mini hard disk-drive (HDD) music player market, with a roughly 60 to 70 percent share… But Samsung and Creative together hold 13 percent of the global market share in the fast-growing segment that uses flash memory chips. Seeking to capitalize on the high-growth market, Apple moved earlier this month to offer more affordable products by introducing the gum-stick size iPod Shuffle, with 512 megabytes of memory, for US$99.”