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The entire Archos family - Image courtesy generationmp3
Archos shows off 5 new media players

Archos has always made a name for itself when it comes to portable media players (PMP) and the new generation of PMPs are no exception. The new models include the 604, 604 Wi-Fi, 504, 404 and 404 Camcorder.

The 9.5 ounce Archos 604 brings a 4.3" (480x272) screen to the table along with a 30GB hard drive. The device can playback music, video and images along with PDF documents in a pinch (although not all PDF functions are supported). Battery life is rated at 16 hours for music playback and five hours of video playback. The 604 Wi-Fi adds wireless capabilities, an Opera-based browser and the ability to control the screen with not only the stylus, but also your fingertip. The device is rated for four hours of battery life when using Wi-Fi.

The Archos 504, like the 604, features a 4.3" (430x272) screen, but is slightly thicker, can be had with a larger hard drive (up to 160GB) and has longer battery life (17 hours audio versus 16 for the 604).

Next up is the Archos 404. This smaller, 3.5" (320x240) unit features a 30GB hard drive and weighs in at just 6.75 ounces. Its dimensions are also pretty small coming in at 3.9” x 3” x 0.59”. For real-world impressions of the 404, you can read CNET Asia's review of the device. The Archos 404 Camcorder adds a 1.3MP camera to the mix and can also record video at VGA videos in MPEG4 format.

Pricing is only available for the Archos 604 and 404 -- they will ring up at $350 and $300 respectively and are available for pre-order on Archos’ online store. Pricing and availability for the other three models will be announced at a later date.

It’s quite interesting to see that Archos decided to add Wi-Fi capabilities to its 604. Wi-Fi is finding its way into more of our portable devices as witnessed by the immense popularity of the feature on the Nintendo DS. Nintendo just recently announced that it has surpassed the 2 million unique users mark on its Wi-Fi Connection service and has hosted over 70 million game sessions. The Nintendo DS, like the 604 WiFi, is available with the Opera browser in Japan although European and US support is still AWOL. Microsoft’s new Zune will have a Wi-Fi connection, but unfortunately it appears to be limited to only sharing media with other Zune devices.

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Just me or a waste?
By mindless1 on 9/6/2006 11:38:31 AM , Rating: 2
Is it just me or do devices like this seem an incredible waste? I mean, why have such a device that can only play video (OK, I concede some can do a little more but in the larger picture) instead of more offshoots of tablet PC that can play video, too. So it might cost a little more, but not necessarily THAT much more, particularly if certain things are omitted (like Windows %%%).

RE: Just me or a waste?
By Ringold on 9/7/2006 5:08:03 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, one of the few good applications for Linux in the consumer space. Devices like that doesn't get upgraded, the hardware is set, so the linux build can be optimized, and all without any licensing fees.

But I see the market for these. If you've got enough money to afford one of these, you're buying it to have a nifty little movie device right in your pocket. Not cause it makes financial sense. :)

Considering I went to an upper scale mall today with my girlfriend, I can attest there's a whole horde of people exactly in that category. Which I was one of them. Financially, anyway. :)

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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