Archos is well known for their audio and video products, but their new Pocket Media Assistant PMA400 goes beyond the standard media recording and playing that would be expected. The Linux-based unit features wireless access, a 30 GB hard drive, USB host and personal information management. While not a traditional PDA, it will get the basics done, while throwing in the ability to have more multimedia fun. Is it time to consider converged devices like the PMA400 as a PDA alternative?
Archos is certainly pitching the PMA400 as a fun device. The hard drive has the capacity to store 120 hours of video, 6500 songs, 300,000 photos or some combination of each. Clearly the power of the integrated hard drive makes this possible, something that PDAs are going to need to include going forward. At this point Sharp is the only one to include a drive and it's not even available in the US.
The PMA400 isn't all fun though. It has 802.11b and infrared for wireless communication and a USB port with an optional dongle to allow an Ethernet connection. The USB is host capable, so external Storage devices and some other accessories can be used with the unit. Also included is a robust email client and Qtopia, the PIM manager. And just when you think it's just a media player, Archos would like you to know that Qtopia can sync with Outlook. This single feature makes the device a good deal more interesting as a potential PDA replacement.
Archos isn't skimping on accessories either. Included in the package is a television cradle, remote control, headphones, protective flap, stylus, removable battery, USB 2.0 cable, power adaptor and universal power plugs. There will be optional accessories like a keyboard and car kit. The PMA400 goes on sale worldwide in the next few weeks at a price of $799, just a little more than the highest end PDAs.
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