updated 02:50 pm EDT, Wed March 12, 2008
Archos 606 Leak
One of Archos' higher-end sixth-generation players is being restyled to compete against the iPod touch and provide some features not present on the current iPhone, according to a leak from sites in Archos' home country of France. The media player will most likely be called the 606 but should be more than just a minor generational increase: instead of devoting some space to navigation buttons on the side, all but the most basic controls will be pushed to the side in favor of a larger touchscreen, the sources say. A significant amount of the interface will change to match.
The apparent slip also expands on Archos' promise of 3G access for at least some of its devices. Similar to a phone, the 606 will have high-speed Internet access and will be subsidized depending on the number of services attached to the player. In France, a stock 606 will cost 299 Euros ($463) without any contracts; adding a two-year plan from local carrier SFR with unlimited browsing, instant messaging, and mail drops the plan to 249 Euros. Purchasing the device will cost as little as 149 Euros ($231) with MMS, SMS, and an unlimited music subscription.
By contrast, the current iPhone sells for 399 Euros in France with a similarly long contract and offers 2G Internet access without MMS/SMS messaging or music subscription services.
As a result of the wide-area access, the Archos player will additionally have instant messaging over MSN and Yahoo as well as streaming Internet TV. No exact release date is set, though SFR's plans for the Archos 606 are to be finalized by the start of school in September and will likely be accompanied by an announcement of the jukebox itself. Archos typically releases most of its lineup in the US but may have to either strike a deal with AT&T for 3G access or remove the feature for a US launch.
Archos 606 mockup