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Is Handheld Video the Next Big Thing?

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Is handheld video the next big thing? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Handheld digital music players like Apple's iPod have captured the attention of consumers over the last year. Can portable video follow in those footsteps? Creative Labs and Samsung are planning Microsoft Portable Media Center Devices. And Archos has just made some significant improvements to its handheld video recorder and player. Chief Operating Officer Brad Wallace…

"We've taken the size down, about half the thickness. Approximately the same space because you have a 3 and a half inch screen for a surface space. But the thickness is half the size and easily fits in your pocket. It is about 40 percent lighter also."

There are other changes. The AV400 has a removable battery….and docking station…that lets you control and record from cable or satellite boxes. You can record from any other video source…including DVD players. Watch recorded shows back on your TV…or lift the device out of the docking station…and take the video with you. You can also bring along your digital photos…and music…

"Our first model here has 20 gigabytes, which has anywhere from 40 to 80 hours of video depending on compression. You can probably fit 30 or 40 DVDs on there or 80 hours of TV programs or home movies."

A built in compact flash slot…lets you copy your digital photos to the hard drive. The 20 gigabyte model sells for about 550 dollars. An 80 gigabyte version will follow….priced at about 800. Archos has a history of being first to market with these kinds of innovative products. How well it will eventually do against the coming competition remains to be seen. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.