I continue to be interested in tracking MP3 player prices in print advertising (Google spreadsheet) as a potential indicator of a growing mobile podcast capable audience.
This last couple of weeks has really seen a big increase in non-tech stores selling very low-end 1-GB devices: Sears, Mervyns, CVS, Kohls, etc. (but most of the prices include having to do a mail-in rebate).
Price per MB for flash can be as low as $16.50 a GB for some of the one-day Holiday related sales. Also a lot of older hard drive based players (soon to be discontinued?!?) have really come down in price (less than $2.50 a GB).
Prices for Apple iPod and Microsoft Zune (~$249) devices really haven't seen much price differences between advertisements, and even Apple, Microsoft, or Amazon's own online prices seem to be all very close together. Some places like Fry's & CompuUSA are selling iPods with bundles of 'free' 3rd party accessories which is about a big a deal as can be found on iPods. It is either that or a couple of bucks off retail by WalMart or Costco which apparently has enough clout to sell iPod products below Apple's retail pricing.
There does seem to be a trend of 40-50% less $ per GB on flash based MP3 Players over the last month. My gut tells me that this will more than likely increase the number of potential mobile podcast listeners, but given the lack of a good integrated Windows podcasting client from Microsoft, I don't see many immediate Holiday podcast listener increases from these devices. These will more than likely be used as music listening devices.
Apple iPod near-term Holiday sales though will continue to be very strong, and after Dec. 25th I think there will be a host of new potential listeners coming from iTunes since that integration is significantly easier than others.