Archos

Archos

Archos is a French consumer electronics company that was established in 1988 by Henri Crohas. Archos manufactures portable media players and portable storage devices. The name is an anagram of Crohas' last name, and it is also Greek for 'master' (αρχος). The company's slogan has been updated from Think Smaller to On The Go and the now-current Entertainment your way.

Archos has developed a variety of products, including digital audio players, PVPs (portable video players), USB flash drives, portable hard drives, digital video recorders, and a personal digital assistant.

Current products

Internet Media Tablet

On August 19, 2008, Archos announced their 6th generation portable media players with WiFi and celluar 3G internet capabilities. Labelled as "Internet Media Tablets", they come with a web browser and web TV and radio capabilities after registration. These devices use a built-in hard disk as storage capacity. The Archos 5 will be released in capacities of 60, 120, and 250 GB; while the Archos 7 will come in 160 and 320 GB capacities and the Archos 5G in 30 GB. Though similar to the Archos 5, the Archos 5G features 3.5G HSDPA wireless connectivity. Availability ranges from September to December 2008 depending on the model.

Archos 7 is based on TI OMAP technology and uses OMAP 34xx/35xx

Archos TV+

The Archos TV+ is a standalone Digital Video Recorder station from Archos and is performs similarly to an Archos player with a DVR dock. It will also include the new Qwerty remote for navigation and internet use. The device was announced alongside the Generation 5 players and is presented as competition to the Apple TV. The Archos TV+ was released in January after some initial reviews from the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show.

Generation 5

Officially announced on June 14th, 2007, Archos released details of the new flagship 605 WiFi, as well as announcing the 105, 405, and 705 players.

The 605 Wifi and 405 officially went on sale on September 1 2007. The 605Wifi comes in 30GB, 80GB, and 160GB models as well as a 4GB model with an added SDHC slot. The 405 comes in 2GB with SDHC slot. A 30GB version was later added.

The 105 is to be designed with some video capabilities but still mainly targeted as a small and affordable MP3 player. The 705 uses a similar design to the 704 with a slimmer profile and new 5th Gen features.

The main upgrade in this series is the addition of the Archos content portals (ACP). Also the Opera web-browser became optional but added support for Adobe Flash mainly for the purpose of online video streaming.

Discontinued products

Generation 4

The Generation 4 series is an upgrade to the previous AV Series. The 8 models include the 404, the 504, the 604 WiFi, and the 704 WiFi. All players in this series are Microsoft PlaysForSure compatible.

Archos employed a philosophy of producing a modular player, making the standard 04 unit base price cheaper with the option of adding on additional features for additional costs. Using the DVR Station or the DVR Travel Adapter, each unit can record from TV and other standard video sources (DVD players, satellite systems and cable boxes among others). The DVR Station and DVR Travel Adapter are not included with the 04 units and must be purchased separately. Not all video codecs work right out of the box. Each unit is capable of playing MPEG-2/VOB videos with Dolby 5.1 Sound (AC3) sound and H.264 videos with AAC sound, however separate plugins must be purchased to unlock these capabilities.

PMA400

The PMA400 is a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) with a hard disk drive, audio and video playback, and recording capabilities. It was released on Thursday May 26, 2005, and weighs 280 g. The PMA400 was the most expensive within the line of products that they supplied. The product runs on the Qtopia Embedded operating system.

AV series

The AV300 was released Monday March 22, 2004, and weighs 12.3 ounces (350 g).

The optional AVCam 300 turns the device into a digital camera and camcorder, with other selective addons available such as an FM radio remote control (which also enables radio recording) and a memory card reader. The battery life of the device is stated at 3 and a half hours when watching video or 10 hours when listening to music.

The AV400 runs the same software as AV300, the camera has been removed and a CompactFlash card slot has been built directly into the product. Image preview slides and DRM WMA support, as well as WMV access are also included.

The AV500 came just before the PMA400 was released; there was a name conflict within the models. The PMA400 was scheduled to be released as the AV500. Ultimately, the name went to a new model of Digital Video Recorder (DVR). The Archos AV500 is similar to the GMini 500, but it has extra facilities (video recording and the new AV Pod).

With the release of the AV700, Archos changed the company slogan from "Think Smaller" to "On The Go". In 2006, Archos developed the TV-Edition from the AV700, the AV700TV.

Gmini series

Gmini 400 was introduced in October 2004. It has a color LCD screen as well as photo, audio and video playback capacities.

The Gmini 402 replaced the Gmini 400 featuring PlaysForSure compatibility. The Gmini 402 Camcorder was later introduced which includes a 1.2MP (Megapixel) digital camera, and has video recording capabilities, with up to a 2x digital zoom. The player also holds 3 resolution modes, which enables users to choose size over quality, as well as recording directly into MPEG4 in VGA resolution.

Just after the release of the AV500, the Archos Gmini 500 was released. It also has full support for Windows Media's PlaysForSure system which allows users to play DRM restricted music.

The Gmini 120 cannot play DRM-protected WMA files, and was also released as Archos Gmini SP. There is also an optional FM radio attachment available for this player so users can play and record directly from FM radio.

The Gmini XS 100 group of players features a 1.5" screen, and full PlaysForSure capabilities. The Gmini XS 200 has a monochrome screen that supports gapless playback. It was replaced by the Gmini XS 204, which adds a color screen and image viewing capabilities.

Jukebox series

The Archos Jukebox 6000 was one of Archos' first portable media players, containing a 6 GB hard drive. This player is only MP3 compatible, and was bundled with Musicmatch Jukebox to allow users to rip their music collection onto the jukebox. The Jukebox Studio succeeded the Jukebox 6000.

The Archos Jukebox Recorder was similar to the Player/Studio models, but featured recording capabilities.

The Archos Jukebox Multimedia is the first official portable media player, which enabled users to upload from a camera attachment. It also featured an audio and video player, an image viewer, and appropriate AV cables included. The player also has the ability to record audio from a line-in source straight into MP3 format. The player features a 10 or 20 GB hard drive and uses DivX MPEG4 format for video recording and playback.

Early players

  • FM Recorder

Similar to the Recorder model, but featured a Li-Ion battery, an FM tuner and a slightly different case. 60 grams less weight.

  • Recorder v2

Similar to the FM Recorder model, but featured no FM tuner (some of the earliest V2 models did in fact feature an FM tuner although it was not advertised nor used by the original firmware).

  • Ondio SP

A flash-based MP3-player with bit-mapped 112x64 LCD. It is powered by three AAA-cells and features an MMC expansion slot and 128MB of internal memory. It is the smallest MP3 player in the Archos lineup.

Rockbox is supported on the Ondio devices.

  • Ondio FM

Similar to the Ondio SP model but also features an FM tuner and recording capabilities.

Portable Storage Devices

Though PVPs are their primary market, Archos has also released a number of different portable storage devices over the years. Their latest devices are the ArcDisk series from 2005.

Model Capacity Main features Connection AC Adapter Weight Release
ArcDisk 20,40GB, now 120GB USB 2.0 Optional 96g May 17, 2005
ArcDisk 4 GB 4GB USB 2.0 No 40g May 13, 2005
MiniHD 20GB 20GB storage drive at release USB 2.0 Optional 180g June 4, 2002
QDisk 40,60,80,100, 120,160,250GB Uses a laptop hard drive and comes in various sizes USB 2.0 Yes 780g Sept 17, 2002
ArcFire Zip 100,250MB Uses Zip Disks FireWire No 55g Nov 9 2000
FireHD 20,40GB Hot swappable FireWire Yes 750g Oct 17, 2000
ArcFlash 128MB an early USB Flash Drive USB 1.1 No 14g Sept 5, 2000

  • ArcDisk 4 GB

A 4 Gigabyte portable USB disk drive which provides data transfer to personal computers. The device plugs into the computer's USB socket and will be recognized as a "Mass Storage Device", enabling the user to transfer data to and from the unit and the computer.

The USB plug is retractable to the unit and neatly folds down to the disk to prevent protruding edges and possible damage. The device is Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux compatible.

  • ArcDisk

Comes in 2 capacities: 20 GB and 40 GB, and has a USB 2.0 interface. The unit does not require a power supply, and is fully compatible with Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux.

Partnerships

Content Portals

Released along with the Generation 5 and Archos TV+ devices in 2007, the Archos Content Portal (ACP) provides video on demand purchase or rental directly to the internet enabled devices. However, there is no PC based software for the service such as iTunes. A major difference from similar services is that given "portals" are serviced by different distributors, such as CinemaNow in North America. Archos has numerous ACP partners worldwide but they vary by region

MoovyPlay

In the summer of 2007 French-based Cinebank announced MoovyPlay. The device runs on a kiosk to harddrive rental service with Archos building the 40GB player. The Drive attaches to a Dock similar to those seen in Archos players and connects to a Video Display. The device was launched in France in December 10, 2007 with initial success. It is currently expected to move to other markets in 2008.

PocketDish

DISH Network Corporation, which owns 19% of Archos since 2005, sold Archos PVPs under the PocketDish brand. There were three versions, the AV700E (AV700), AV500 (AV500), and the AV402E (Gmini 402). While the original products are no longer available, on December 18 2007 Dish Network released info on a new similar deal with the current generation 605 WiFi and 705 WiFi, allowing high speed transfers to the devices from their current HD receivers. Unlike with the original PocketDish, the products will not be sold a Dish rebranding, instead the software plug-in was made available for free for the two products. They are expected to be sold alongside Dish products in January. In 2008 Dish Network's PocketDish page was updated to show the new service and products.

Other

  • American Airlines

In May 2007, American Airlines revealed plans of offering modified Archos 604 and 704s to first-class passengers for entertainment during their flight.

  • Opera

Opera Software has provided the web browser for Archos devices since the PMA400. They are a version of Opera for Devices similar to that seen on the Wii video game console and the Nokia N800 Internet appliance. On Generation 5 devices Adobe Flash support was added. An update to full Flash 9 support was announced in April 2008 from the current Flash 7.

  • SFR

In late 2007, SFR, a French mobile phone company, announced to be building a new device with Archos that ulitizes 3G communication. It was revealed to be the Archos 5G.

  • Blockbuster

A similar deal to the one with Cinebank was announced with Blockbuster Inc. in 2008. The specifics were revealed and Blockbuster hinted that the service will not be Archos exclusive.

See also

External links

References

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