An MPEG-4 iPod? No, but…

One of the more interesting smart storage devices introduced at CeBIT was the Archos AV340, a 40 GB video player and recorder with a 640×368 screen. It stores up to 80 hours of content — that’s a minimum datarate of around 1 Mbit/sec — for viewing on the device’s 3.8″ screen or a television. It can also be used as a 3 megapixel digital camera with an optional attachment, and will apparently sell for just north of $500.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that I believe that Archos either lying or confused about their MPEG-4 support. The press release specifically talks about the device’s MPEG-4 codec, and says that it supports MP3 audio rather than MP4 audio — that suggests that this device might just be a DivX AVI player/recorder rather than an MPEG-4 player/recorder, which makes it a short-term solution that I couldn’t recommend to anyone.