Posted by Charbax on 23rd January 2008
This could be the release of the revolutionary Archos HSDPA product that has been in preparation at the Archos R&D labs for three years.
It could be the unveiling of the product and its functionalities with or without the partnership announcements partnering with different HSDPA network providers in different countries. Rumors are it could be SFR for the HSDPA service in France. My guess or my hope is for Three of Hutchinson-Wampoa to be a partner for the UK, Australia, Italy, Sweden, Hong Kong and Denmark. Deutche Telekom could handle HSDPA service for Germany and the USA as T-Mobile.
Archos could release a product with a sim card slot for HSDPA service, still hopefully also keep the WiFi connectivity. And sell the device as is without the necessary HSDPA service plan included, so you could buy it and use any HSDPA sim card with it from any service provider in your country of your choice. http://3.dk for example in Denmark is providing a monthly 299kr (= 40€ or $58) HSDPA access plan with up to 7.2mbit/s download speed and 348kbit/s upload speed with a monthly bandwidth usage limit set at 10GB. I am very much a fan of this type of HSDPA plan. The question is, are those HSDPA networks ready to support a potentially massive usage of streaming video at high bitrates by a lot of customers who would be fascinated by this revolutionary technology.
Possible business plans:
- Archos has started selling the 605 WiFi 4GB with the DVR Station Gen5 for 1€ in France, with a 24-month 19€ per month non-cumulable content subscription to watching movies in the Archos Content Portal. Archos could very well simply use this exact same subsidizing deal to market the HSDPA powered Archos product in cooperation with the HSDPA provider who also wants to get a fair share of the overall potential product, add-ons, subsidizing, content and bandwidth revenues.
- Archos could do like Amazon does with the Kindle on the EV-DO network in the USA. They could sell the HSDPA powered device with or without a subscription that subsidizes the entry price of the bundle with the DVR Station Gen5, and subsequently charging for use of external bandwidth for browsing the Internet, downloading and streaming files that are not part of the content portal. As for the files on the Archos Content Portal, the bandwidth required to transfer those could thus be covered by the transaction required to access that content. So for example the bandwidth could be unlimited basically for streaming commercial content from the content portal, as well as the streaming that is going on might not be in full DVD quality, since that content might be re-encoded to lower bitrates and resolution suitable to view on the LCD, and suitable to save as much as possible on the HSDPA bandwidth usage. So there could be a special version of the Content Portal automatically switching depending on the HSDPA or WiFi connection being used.
- Archos could release a HSDPA Dock for all 605 WiFi users and a HSDPA firmware update to have the exact same features but in a slightly bulkier product than the product that will have the HSDPA module built-in.
I believe the HSDPA connectivity could be absolutely revolutionizing for the history of Archos in terms of the mass market appeal the product could subsequently have. Archos CEO Henri Crohas has previously hinted that making a cell phone was not a priority, but what Archos could bring with this product for the first time also is voice-over-IP on HSDPA. Which could help sell this product as a little free worldwide calling machine. “Get free worldwide phone calls”, “Use Skype”, Instant Messaging. Gmail in your pocket, remotely access and control your Archos TV+, remotely access your whole film and music file collection streamed over the Internet using a software like Orb or using an FTP server on NAS drives in your home if you have a decent upload speed, free unlimited music streaming from a built-in Flash 9 based Last.fm personalized music discovery service and on-demand music streaming and downloading over HSDPA and WiFi.
Basically, I think that the possibilities become endless with such a HSDPA product and I have been waiting for it for years. Now I am just hoping that the HSDPA providers will be enthusiastic to give such possibilities to their customers using their 3G networks which they often invested so much money in acquiring licenses for and for which they mostly haven’t yet found the ways to recoup on their investments. So hopefully many HSDPA providers will want to try to do it this way, agree to let people use VOIP on it, agree to leave the WiFi on it, agree that it supports all those codecs, resolutions and bitrates, agree to let people access any content they want over the Internet. And so many other Worlds Firsts that this device would bring. This would I also think make the Flash based Archos more usable to still have access basically to a huge music and movies collection be it your personal collection simply streamed over the Internet from online storage or from your home storage or to every single piece of music and every single movie and TV show streamed on-demand from the Internet legally from services such as the new Last.fm and an equivalent for free unlimited streaming video access.
Thanks to cajl at jbmm.fr for the tip.