Category: Archos

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Archos dominates tablet sales at Hong Kong Golden Computer Market

Posted by Charbax – April 21, 2011

Archos surely seems to dominate in terms of nearly every store in Hong Kong that sells tablets have a range of Archos Gen8 tablets for sale right there at prime shelf space, while very few have the iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab for sale. It seems consumers and gadget retailers in Hong Kong Electronics Market regard Archos as great value, even as there might be cheaper "Archos Home Tablet" or "Arnova" grade tablets also being sold there, consumers who want high-end experience for low to mid-range pricing, still overwhelmingly choose the Archos tablets.

ABI Research recently speculated that Archos as being the third largest tablet maker worldwide in 2010. If Apple still has 85% in Q1 2011 and with 4.69 million iPads sold, that means Archos would have had to only sell 110 thousand tablets worldwide between January-March 2011 to remain at that 2% 2010 ABI Research speculative worldwide tablet market share.

My theory, Archos probably has more than 6% global tablet market share today

Archos officially released their Q1 earnings at 39€ Million ($56.7 Million) (up 158% from a year before), if an average Archos tablet is sold at $150 to retailers, that would mean Archos may have sold 378 thousand tablets between January and March 2011, that's thus probably more than 6% worldwide tablet market share for Archos if Apple has 85%.

One things for certain, while the global market share is one thing, another is regional tablet market share, Archos was shown to have over 22% tablet marketshare in November-December 2010 sales for tablets in France, and may thus also have much higher than 6% tablet marketshare in markets like Germany, England, Hong Kong and even the USA.

Another thing to consider, Archos can only have as much marketshare as it can afford to build for.

If you consider Apple may have about 80% tablet market share in Q1 2011, and Archos let's say 8% in that same period, here are some of the differences between those two companies:

  • Archos has less than 150 employees mostly based in France, $56.7 Million Q1 2011 revenues, Market Capitalisation at $215,34 Million, probably has less than $20 Million in the bank to use for production enhancements, sales channels increase, marketing, manufacturing capacity increase, and R&D investments.
  • Apple has 49,400 employees (329x more than Archos) mostly based in the USA, $24.6 Billion Q1 2011 revenues (433x more than Archos), Market Capitalisation at $223,77 Billion (1039x more than Archos), probably has over $40 Billion in the bank to use for production enhancements (2000x more than Archos), sales channels increase, marketing, manufacturing capacity increase, and R&D investments.

This is why Archos has started today issuing a capital increase of upwards $43 Million, a call to their investors to invest more money in new Archos stock. If investors answer the call (by May 4th), Archos may triple their bank account size, thus having more money to spend on increasing production capacity, smoothing sales channels, optimizing software/hardware R&D efficiency, and may gear up for trying to reach upwards 24% global tablet marketshare by the end of the year.

Considering the many new entrants to the tablet market, including major ones like Asus, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, etc, it might be hard for a small company like Archos to reach 24% marketshare in such a rapidly growing market. But who knows, in my opinion, it's mostly a matter of cash, investments and being able to provide the best value. While Archos may triple their sales having 3x more cash in the bank for tripling production capacity (considering they can easily sell everything that they make), that does not mean they would triple their marketshare if the tablet market at the same time more than doubles in size. They might go from 8% to 12%, something like that. And if the tablet market triples in size they could remain at 8% in a 3x larger market.

Arnova 10 capacitive RK2918 to be released in May

Posted by Charbax – April 14, 2011

Here's the Arnova 10 with capacitive touch screen and the RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 processor. At around $229 MSRP it could possibly become one of the best value 10.1" ARM Cortex-A8 capacitive tablets on the market. It's thin, uses most of the nice design features of the Archos 101 Internet Tablet released in October 2010, but removes the kick-stand (to lower cost), replaces some of the metallic design features with plastics (to lower cost), removes HDMI output (I need to let them confirm this, perhaps that was just removed on the prototype). This device uses the new 1.2Ghz Rockchip processor, with 1080p video codecs support (possibly all codecs at up to over 30mbitps high profile playback), new better graphics performance, but most importantly, this awesome 10.1" tablet may be sold around $229/229€ at retail MSRP (with capacitive and rk2918), and there is a good chance Rockchip should be getting access to the Honeycomb source code soon (comon Google, give it to them sooner rather than later! (I have no idea if Rockchip has Honeycomb yet or not, I will try to interview Rockchip again about Honeycomb at China Sourcing Fair tomorrow)).

Archos 7c Home Tablet, RK2918 Capacitive

Posted by Charbax – April 13, 2011

Welcome to Archos Shenzhen offices, Sandy Chen is Archos OEM sales director, she introduces the new Archos 7c Home Tablet, an updated Archos Home Tablet with capacitive screen and RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 performance chip inside.

Archos at the Shenzhen Electronics Fair

Posted by Charbax – April 8, 2011

Archos Technology (Shenzhen) Co Ltd has a big booth in the middle of the Shenzhen Electronics Fair, there is a lot of interest for Archos and Arnova products in the Chinese market and developing countries. They have of course invited me to their Shenzhen offices tomorrow where I will try to film some awesome behind the scenes videos for you showing how Archos makes things happen here in Shenzhen, I'll try to film at their factories if possible.

I am the new Editor in Chief of Engadget

Posted by Charbax – April 1, 2011
Bestselling author Steven Carter with celebrit...
On the phone with Arianna Huffington

I just got off the phone with Arianna Huffington. She likes what I do and has asked me to be the new Editor in Chief at Engadget.com effective immediately.

I told her I will do it under one condition, that they agree to rename Engadget.com to ARMdevices.net, all visitors going to the previous Engadget.com will be automatically redirected to the more future-proof ARMdevices.net brand instead.

Under my command, the site will only feature Benchmarks and Funny Videos. I believe that snarky news items are a waste of time. Any Engadget editor who owns an iPhone, who knows someone who owns an iPhone or who has been in an Apple Store during the previous 6 months will be fired.

100% of the posts will be ARM related, 10% of which will be Archos and ARM related, as I believe Archos is the best company in the world. Any negativity towards Google will not be tolerated, let them close Honeycomb and ban emulators if they want!

If anyone has a problem with this, you can send me an email.

Here I'm being interviewed with Arianna Huffington at the announcement event this morning here in Davos:

Honeycomb source code and CDD delayed

Posted by Charbax – March 24, 2011

Businessweek reports that Google has decided to delay Honeycomb source code release.

The search giant says the software, which is tailored specifically for tablet computers that compete against Apple's iPad, is not yet ready to be altered by outside programmers and customized for other devices, such as phones.

"To make our schedule to ship the tablet, we made some design tradeoffs," says Andy Rubin, vice-president for engineering at Google and head of its Android group. "We didn't want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones. It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut."

Rubin says that if Google were to open-source the Honeycomb code now, as it has with other versions of Android at similar periods in their development, it couldn't prevent developers from putting the software on phones "and creating a really bad user experience. We have no idea if it will even work on phones."

Here is my opinion on this:

As long as Google releases the full Honeycomb source code within a month or so from now, and hurry up to confirm (even sooner) that the updated Compliance Definition Document for Honeycomb will open up to allow many more smaller manufacturers (such as Archos, Rockchip, Telechips, ARM11 and many other small tablet makers) access to the full Google Marketplace (that can provide filtering), then all will be good.

My expectation is that Google is working to make sure their Honeycomb source code release supports all types of hardware, not only including cheaper ARM Cortex-A8, ARM9, ARM11 tablets, but also optimize things for Laptop use (see Asus Transformer, how awesome would Honeycomb be on devices like Toshiba AC100!), and also they might try to coordinate the Honeycomb source code release with the first open source release of Google TV thus making all those devices Set-top-box ready when HDMI output is used on any HDTV.

One can expect Google to synchronize full open source release of Honeycomb, Google TV and Chrome OS by the Google I/O conference coming up on 10-11th May or before.

What is your opinion on Google's Honeycomb source code and updated CDD release delay? You can write in the comments.

Archos Gen9 tablets, 1.6Ghz Dual-core, 3G, to be announced in June

Posted by Charbax – March 18, 2011

Archos just announced that their revenues are up 44% for 2010 sales compared to 2009 sales, to $118 Million in yearly sales. They also managed to increase their profit margins from 13.5% to 23.3%. In terms of actual profits after R&D, Marketing and other expenses, Archos is about break-even. Archos plans to more than double its revenues and profits in 2011, grabbing about 5% of the worldwide tablet market share expected in 2011 (they captured 22% market share in France for November-December 2010, behind iPad 67% but infront of Samsung 4%, so it should be doable even as tablet competition strongly increases). They plan to do that among other by launching Generation 9 in June (at least show it for the first time), that's only 3 months from now!

Here are the first few details as reported by bestofmicro.com from what they heard at Archos investors meeting today about the Gen9 tablets (what's in bold is from the report, the rest of following text are my added speculations and guessing):

- ARM Cortex-A9 Dual-core 1.6Ghz, it's the fastest processor in a tablet ever unveiled thus far. I expect this to be a customized Texas Instruments OMAP4440, but that is only because I guess Archos will continue their long time partnership with TI that they've had for over 10 years now.

- New innovative 3G modem. Yup, we're getting 3G (at least as an option). What kind of 3G? How they implement it? I dunno, it seems they have a new special way of doing it? I hope they do it with some kind of modem module that can be added or swaped, thus making the tablet compatible with all types of cellular networks current and future and making production and distribution easy, anyone think it could be a module? Somehow allowing for space for a standard USB 3G modem on an "internal" USB host could also be a very innovative way to simply add 3G to the devices, the back of the device could "simply" have some space available to insert any standard compact 3G modem such as the Huawei or ZTE 3G usb dongles that anyone can buy everywhere for as little as $20 unlocked.

- 6 sizes from 5" to 10". That's the sizes it seems they are aiming at. It might mean Archos noticed their 7" and 10" Gen8 were much more popular and in demand than the smaller sizes, and it might mean Archos is realizing a tablet has to be at least 5", perhaps they leave the smaller sizes to the Arnova line? I expect/hope all are capacitive, even the 5" one. Likely sizes are 5", 7", 10.1", other possible sizes (since there are 6 sizes planned), 9.7" 4:3 aspect ratio, 5.8", 8.9", 8" 4:3 aspect ratio. I also hope Archos and Pixel Qi can synchronize release schedules so Archos can provide Pixel Qi matte capacitive screen option on all these sizes, at least as an option. Would you pay $50/$100 extra for Pixel Qi if Pixel Qi is not yet fully mass produced? One can hope Pixel Qi is fully mass produced in time, and that somehow Archos sees the opportunity in using it accross the line, thus making Gen9 ready for productivity, ready for real reading, ready for outdoor use, ready for use in professional and study situations, ready for serious collaboration on text annotations, ready to be Kindle-killer and iPad-killer all at the same time.

- All are Android, obviously it has to be Honeycomb (source code for Honeycomb has yet to be released in the open by Google, it should be done any day now), can Google finally open up Android and allow value Archos tablets the full Google Marketplace access? I would expect so, that could hopefully allow Archos to be certified. (this is totally up to Google is my guess)

- Archos says they continue to focus on aiming for the medium range pricing. My guess is it likely stays below $300, but if they do 3G, Pixel Qi and if they are first out with OMAP4440, who knows, perhaps the price might sneak up to something below $400. Archos CEO is planning all this based on offering the best possible value they can, my guess is that they aim to stay below $300 for the basic models.

- They continue to make hard drive versions. Reason being hard drives provide much more storage at much lower cost. My expectation is at least some of the 6 sizes will have hard drive options. Capacity can depend on how thick they can accept that hard drive to be, cause 2.5" hard drives can go up to 1TB as far as I know, but those are probably too fat. So 250GB for sure, 320GB and 500GB again maybe, if the 320GB or/and 500GB are available in super slim mode.

Well that's all they have teased for us for now. What other features are you hoping Archos is preparing for us in the Gen9 tablets? write in the comments. You can also comment in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=43708&p=337531#p337531

Sources: http://www.archos.com/corporate/investors/financial_doc/ARCHOS_2010_Results_en.pdf, http://www.bestofmicro.com/actualite/28876-Tablette-Android.html

Apple’s manufactured scarcity, free publicity, playing for the analysts

Posted by Charbax – March 12, 2011

The craze started at the release of iPhone1 in June 2007. I remember watching the live stream on Mogulus, predecesor to livestream.com, it was filmed and broadcast by Max Haost, founder of livestream.com and they were extremely hilarious in the way they would actually make fun of the people standing in line. I find this unbelievably hilarious, it's the extreme example of the gadget-craze (out-of-control gadget consumerism?)


The ipad 2 line in Houston, TX as reported by Engadget.

Blame the analysts, unless they see lines, they think Apple isn't selling any products.

This launch was engineered to generate lines (no pre-orders, 3 week waits if ordered on line...) and lots of free publicity...

Comment by Ghostbear1 in that Engadget article.

the scarcity principle is the mother of all marketing techniques (...) We generally perceive that things that are difficult to get are typically better than things that are easily available. If everyone wants it then it must be good right? This actually taps into the principle called social proof

Source: salescrunch.com

Queuing up for a piece of gadget is a really weird concept. In theory, especially for Apple, those devices are mass produced in gigantic proportions in the biggest Chinese factories, somehow Apple would not be able to manufacture enough to sell to whomever would want one?

This whole lining up deal is a situation designed by Apple's viral marketing department.

This carefully choreographed gadget marketing/pricing ballet has turned Apple into the second largest company in the world, just 3 and a half years after the release of the iPhone. It's really insane if you think about it. If not for the largest oil company in the world Exxon Mobile, Apple would be the largest company in the world, and most of Apple's current profits and revenues come from their ARM Powered iOS devices, especially the iPhone.

So now Apple is doing a big push on the tablet market with iPad. And the iPad2 certainly has a nice Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor in there.

There are Android tablets like Archos 101 Internet Tablet released 6 months ago, that are lighter at 480gr vs 600gr, that have real mini-HDMI outputs built-in, real USB-host built-in, a real kick-stand built-in, and that still support more video and audio codecs (such as all DivX, MKV found on BitTorrents), with Flash support, real multi-tasking for 40% to 60% cheaper price than the ipad2.

In my opinion, Honeycomb is the first real Tablet OS. And I am pretty sure Honeycomb tablets will overtake iPad market share in less than a year, faster than Android overtook iPhone after the Nexus One release.

For some engineering resource/time allocation/prioritisation issues, Google chose not to allow much to happen with tablets with Donut, Eclair, Froyo and Gingerbread. Companies like Archos were left with the open source part of Android, doing the customizations they want, but for some strategic reason, they were left without the full support from Google. Google didn't want Android Powered iPad and iPod Touch competitors to dominate the market in 2010. They thought they perhaps were busy enough dominating smartphone growth of that year, and gaining the full support by two dozen Smartphone makers in the process.

I think Google's strategy is to simply let the Apple viral marketing people do their thing first, then get their better open and free software in gear, and riding on Apple's viral marketing coat-tails, Google's Android ecosystem can then provide the big push and rapidly dominate.

This is also a dance of technological disruption, and disruption of those disruptors. Google can't be seen as encouraging the industrys too rapid change, while some companies bet their futures on the Open Handset Alliance, Google had to be careful and let the market move as fast as it can without hurting the feelings of the big partners who invest billions of dollars in this and want to see their investments safely recouped.

In any ways, look forward to the Android Honeycomb ecosystem taking care of making Android the top platform for tablets fast, and look forward to new designs to make tablets even more fun, more productive, and basically turn these gadgets into the user interface of the future of mobile computing for all the people of the world.

Look forward to my CeBIT 2011 video coverage this week

Posted by Charbax – February 27, 2011
A crowded exhibition hall during CeBIT 2000.
Image via Wikipedia

Starting tomorrow, I will be posting here upwards 50 videos of the best ARM powered devices to be shown at this CeBIT Hannover Germany, one of the worlds biggest consumer electronics trade shows. This is my 8th consecutive CeBIT doing video-blogging. Yup, I started video-blogging from consumer electronics trade shows at CeBIT 2004 (you can see my CeBIT video archive for 2004-2009 at techvideoblog.com). If you have any tips you can write them here in the comments, click on Submit News at any time, or send them to my email charbax@gmail.com

Here are some of the topics that I expect to find at this show:

1. Chrome OS devices, does Google find it appropriate to let the laptop and desktop makers start to display ARM Powered Chrome OS laptops and similar devices? Recently it has been leaked that the ARM cortex-A8 i.MX51/53 Powered Acer DXH241 monitor will come with built-in Chrome OS, letting all monitor makers add Chrome OS for below $50 in ARM Powered component costs. Though it is also likely that Google may want to delay Chrome OS devices release a few more months and do some kind of big Chrome OS device unveiling at some other event.

2. Is it time for the International ARM Powered Google TV unveiling yet? Samsung usually has gigantic booths at CeBIT, will they show their Exynos ARM Cortex-A9 Powered Google TV there already? Because of the international media rights issues, and Google's issues with getting TV rights within the US market even, it may be Google waits for Google I/O in May or so to unveil more on that.

3. Anyone to launch Honeycomb, Chrome OS and Ubuntu compliant ARM Powered laptops, as nice or nicer even as the Toshiba AC100 (which recently got the Froyo upgrade)? Tegra2 is getting very popular, and other Cortex-A9 platforms are ramping up traction, as all major laptop makers have big booths at CeBIT, I will be looking for them showing off ARM Powered laptops.

4. More and better Android tablets. I will be bringing you videos on all the best new Android tablets, including filming the news from the Archos booth where I think that they will show more than the Arnova 10 and Arnova 8 that I just recently filmed.

5. I'm hopeful Panasonic will unveil a new compact HD camcorder to be the equivalent to a Sanyo HD3000 with better optics, better compression, WiFi/Bluetooth features and more, because I'd like to upgrade my camcorder to something like that. Panasonic recently unveiled camcorder designs similar to the Sanyo Xacti.

And much much more. Subscribe to my RSS feed, add my RSS feed to your Google Reader, subscribe to my YouTube channel, follow my Twitter.

Arnova 10, $199 10.1” Android Tablet

Posted by Charbax – February 25, 2011

Here is a world exclusive video unveiling of the new Arnova 10 entry-level 10.1” Android tablet:

This may become the world’s cheapest ARM Cortex-A8 1Ghz RK2918, 10.1” capacitive Android tablet on the market (I filmed an early pre-production prototype of it with capacitive/rk29 combo at CES here). Until about April, Arnova 10 is released now as a 10.1” resistive ARM9 600Mhz RK2818 tablet. The price remains $199 in the USA, 199€ in Europe (consider all European prices always include ~20% VAT). Look for a slightly different model number once the capacitive/rk29 version starts shipping. They will shift to it as soon as 10.1” capacitive and rk29 components are ready/stable and mass manufactured, the Chinese suppliers are working as fast as they can, this should be in a couple months.

Archos is the second largest tablet maker in France according to GfK sales numbers, having 22% market share, far in front of Samsung with 4%, 67% for iPad. Arnova is a new brand from Archos based in Hong Kong, that uses the design, manufacturing and distribution strengths of Archos but will remain a separate brand for the cheaper $100-$200 Rockchip based devices (see the press release here). The idea here is to get these excellent valued Rockchip based designs to more people in Europe and the USA. But Arnova is also more extensively going to be promoted for developing countries as people there enjoy cheaper stuff. But people enjoy cheaper stuff everywhere.

Rockchip is doing excellent work optimizing cost in their entry level SoC designs, and are doing stable hardware optimizations with the latest versions of Android that can be adapted for the given ARM architectures that they use. Archos has probably been the top selling Rockchip maker thus far with the Archos 7 Home Tablet massively sold in every major electronics store in the USA and Europe these past 12 months (go check your local Staples, Best Buy, etc.. it’s probably there), and they plan to further extend that kind of reach with their new Arnova branding.

As it stands right now with Rockchip, Eclair is the furthest they can go for ARM9 RK2818 based devices (Donut for their older ARM9 RK2808 without graphics acceleration), and Gingerbread is the furthest they can go with ARM Cortex-A8 RK2918 based devices. But who knows, Google may announce tomorrow Honeycomb support for every popular ARM architecture used in any previously certified or not certified Android tablets out there, even including the cheapest Rockchip designs. I asked some Google people at MWC, including in my interview with Honeycomb designer Matias Duarte, they told me Honeycomb has no minimum hardware requirements, which hopefully also means other than opening Honeycomb source code for all to use, that Google will also allow for Google Marketplace on all devices without requiring stuff like compass/gps/3g, and hopefully Google also plans to dedicate resources to help all SoC platform makers and device maker with getting great and fully hardware optimized new firmwares with Honeycomb and Marketplaces onto all these cheaper devices as well (evt with Holographic UI effects disabled on low hardware specs).

$800 for a Honeycomb tablet is a lot of money for some people. Sure enough, the Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 Tegra2 Honeycomb experience is awesome, but a lot of people prefer paying 4x less if they can get a decent ARM Cortex-A8 Honeycomb experience, if Google and companies like Arnova just allow consumers to have that choice.

Specs:
Price: $199 in USA, 199€ in Europe (consider all European prices always include ~20% VAT)
Capacity: 4GB (or 8GB) with MicroSD slot
OS: Android 2.1 Eclair (on RK2818), Gingerbread (on RK2918 version available ~April), Honeycomb? (depends on Google/Rockchip)
Display: 10.1" 1024x600 touch screen (resistive now, capacitive version available ~April) , 16 million colors
Video playback (on current RK2818 model): H264 up to 720p 30fps 5mbitps, Mpeg4 30fps 2.5mbitps, RMVB up to 720p 30fps 2.5mbitps, in these extensions: .avi, .mp4, .mkv, .mov, .flv (RK2918 version available ~April may add 1080p and higher bitrates support)
Audio playback: mp3, wav, ape, ogg, flac
Photo: jpeg, bmp, gif, png
Interfaces: USB 2.0 Slave MSC, USB 2.0 Host MSC, MicroSD slot
Wireless: WiFi b/g
Other: built-in speaker, microphone, G-sensor, front-facing VGA camera
Battery runtime: TBC music, up to 6h video
Size: 272x152.3x13.5mm (10.7"x6"x0.5")
Weight: 570gr (20.1oz)