Thursday, April 05, 2007

What's wrong with Archos 204 ?

Maybe you have seen the old news - Archos now has a new model in the Gmini XS 20x family - the 'new' 204 - which will just be another failure typical for the companies where 'managers' and 'marketing experts' have a much heavier influence than engineers or the real consumer research :(

So what's wrong with the 'new 204' ? Many people jumped on the 'no movie' problem - which is actually only a very minor drawback - watching movies on a 1.8'' screen is so pathetic that even the kings of 'lame by trying to be too cool' - Apple of course - weren't too attracted to it ...

The real problem is the disk size vs. product price - in case you have 'Mac-memory' (meaning that you forget in a few months how 'pathetic' x86 was ... until Steve 'the God' Jobs discovered it ... ) the 204 is the 4th consecutive model in so many years ... with the same 20 GB HDD and for about the same price !!! And while almost 4 years ago XS200 with 20 GB for 200 US$ at NewEgg was a killer deal, today at about the same price Archos could have easily placed in PRECISELY the same case and with the same battery life a 40 GB version for a production cost that was even LOWER that the original XS200! Actually since the original was the 2mm thicker version Archos could have even placed an 80 GB version in the same size or 40 in the slimmer version - but somehow it seems that Archos is living in a world of protectionist pricing where the competition is ultra-thin (I have just described France, the same country that was dreaming that the Minitel will kill the Internet) - and just like most of the other companies from there that could not care less about what the consumer wants, Archos is slowly moving to a smaller and smaller 'niche' - with the portable video players remaining the only segment that keeps them afloat ... and at this rate it will not be for a long time :(

So, in case you are an investor in Archos and you are wondering if things will get any better - I will put the entire 'philosophy' of the market in a single phrase - if DURING THIS YEAR they'll be able to have a small XS 240 (40 GB) for the audio fans, either a 60 or an 80 GB at a LOW price for the video fans and a 2-8 GB flash USB-stick format for the 'joggers' then 2008 might not be the last year for Archos ... but if none of those take place the prospects of your investment is rather bleak :)