The Archos press conference was a strangely empty affair, which is a shame since Archos had a pretty impressive addition to its range on show. The PMA430 marries Archos’ AV400 media player with the functionality of a PDA.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the expansion of the PMA acronym is Personal Media Assistant. The PDA side of the PMA430 uses the Qtopia environment, which will allow you to run most of the applications that you’d need when on the move. It can of course synchronise with Microsoft Outlook, and allow you to send and receive email while on the go.

Of course to get your email on the move, you’ll need some kind of Internet connection, but Archos has got this covered. The PMA430 has an integrated 802.11b WiFi adapter, so you can connect to your home or office wireless networks, or to the thousands of WiFi hotspots around the world.

If you want to hard wire the PMA430 to your network, Archos offers a USB to Ethernet adapter for this very purpose. The PMA430 will provide around 10 hours of playback time for music and 4 – 5 hours of playback for video. It also has a removable battery pack, so you’ll be able to keep going on those long plane journeys.

The PMA430 is the first model in the new PMA range, and as its name suggests, it has a hard disk capacity of 30GB. You can, of course, expect higher capacity models in the future. Archos is quoting a price of $799 for the US, and €799 for Europe – once again there’s an obvious price discrepancy considering the current currency values, but I guess we’ve had to get used to this over the years.

Another new announcement from Archos was the ARCDrive USB Key. The ARCDrive USB Key uses a 4GB Hitachi hard disk, and has a fold out USB plug for easy connection to your computer. Archos says that the device is both PC and Mac compatible and will retail for $149 and €149 in the US and Europe respectively.

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