Archos Beats iPod & Zune To Touchscreen & WiFi?

The race is on.

Touch Screen and wireless functionality are probably the two most talked about technologies in the portable media player (PMP) market at the moment with Apple rumoured to be going for the former and Microsoft’s Zune set to bring the latter. Yet could Archos be about to pip both at the post?

The ‘Archos 604 WiFi’ is scheduled for release in November, sports the 6G iPod’s anticipated touch screen technology and (as the name suggests) features integrated wireless. Unlike the Zune however, whose WiFi is severely restricted, the 604 WiFi will enable its owners to connect to the Internet for web and web mail access (via the Opera browser) as well as to home networks.

Archos is also stating that with future firmware upgrades the 604 WiFi will add SHOUTcast Internet radio support and audio/video podcast capture. While the company is looking into partnerships to enable the device to download content from music and video online stores directly and view TV via a DSL modem (IPTV over WiFi).

As for the device itself, it features a 30GB hard drive, 4.3in 480 x 272 native resolution touch screen and plays Mpeg4, ASP, WMV (including protected WMV) codecs with the option to add H.264, Mpeg2 and VOB via plug-ins from the Archos website. There’s a built in photo viewer with zoom, music and transition effects, video and audio recording and a removable battery though Archos doesn’t state the anticipated battery life.

Despite the imminent release date we don’t yet have an RRP but with the Zune and (apparently) 6G iPod both on their way the pressure is on to be competitive.


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