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Archos ships video, audio, gaming handheld

Mobile game console market becoming crowded

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Archos has begun shipping its Gmini400 personal multimedia device, taking the French company into the increasingly crowded mobile gaming market.

Archos Gmini 400Pitched primarily as a portable media player, the 400 sports a 2.2in, 18-bit colour screen backed by 20GB of hard drive storage and a CompactFlash slot for content storage.

But with a five-way navigator control and the Mophun games engine, Archos is also aiming the 400 at the same well-to-do adult gamers the likes of Tapwave, Gizmondo and Nokia are also gunning for.

Alongside games content, the 400 will handles MP3, WAV and WMA audio playback, along with BMP and JPEG photos, and MPEG 4 SP, DivX 4.0 and 5.0, and XviD video. The player has TV out, and is capable of recording MP3 files from its line-in and stereo jack audio inputs.

The unit measures 10.6 x 6 x 1.7cm and weighs 160g, but it's price is rather beefier: $400 in the US and €400 over here.

The arrival of the 400 comes hot on the heels of Creative's Zen Portable Media Center, which shipped in the US yesterday and comes to the UK later this month. On the one side we have hard drive-based media players expanding into the games market, and increasingly handheld games console makers are stressing the broader multimedia features of their devices. Games at least offer a proven market - it remains to be seen whether consumers really want video on the move. ®

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