The quest for the ultimate convergence device

If you could have the ultimate in multimedia convergence, would you really want it?

If you could have the ultimate in multimedia convergence, would you really want it?

You’ve probably never heard of the name “Archos”. Short of thinking it’s some sort of archangel or character from a comic book, you probably would never contemplate buying one of their products for fear it’s some rehashed Chinese crap.

But today the innovative French multimedia technology company announced a device which really only lacks a phone, and that’s probably a good thing.

The Archos 5G is a portable media player that like most other devices in the same field can play music, watch movies, and do that whole media thing. Like many of the other Archos devices in the past, it has the ability to capture video from your TV just like a VCR using the DVR Station with it, meaning you can capture the footy game or your favourite show and bring it with you just like you would when you’d record it to a tape.

But the new Archos 5G also comes with a couple of features that set it apart from most dedicated media players. While you’re used to your iPod Touch having WiFi, you’re probably not used to it having a 3G SIM card slot for data access. “That’s ok,” you’d say, “my iPhone can do that.”

Yes, but your iPhone won’t have the DVR in it. Nor will it have as much support for formats with music covered in mp3, wma, aac, and wav and video covered in mpeg 2, mpeg 4, mjpeg, divx, h.264, avi and wmv.

And does your iPhone have a fold-out kickstand built in? Mine doesn’t.

At 4.8 inches for the screen size and running off of an ARM processor, this will be the device to reckon with especially if you go and grab a GPS cradle, but with the only thing really lacking being a phone – and I’m not sure if anyone would actually want a phone with a near-five-inch screen – you have to ask yourself if ultimate convergence is what you really want?

Do you use an iPhone or do you prefer to grab your iPod or other media device and have it separate from your phone?

Likewise, would you want your media player to be able to access the web knowing you could leave your laptop at home, or are you content with having a higher power computer with you strapped to your back or sides while your little mp3 player sits in your pocket?

The question of ultimate convergence will become ever more prominent too as more and more devices work out how to squeeze the best of both worlds into one single device.

The PSP later this year should be able to access TV programs. Your phone can already access GPS and the web. Do you really want to do more?

Written by Leigh D. Stark