Sure, Apple's iPod may be all the rage among portable music lovers who want to take hours and hours of music wherever they wander. But plenty of other gadget makers are looking to unseat the hot little digital music player with their own mobile media wonders.
The latest is Archos, which intends to put a new contender, its AV 700, into the portable player ring at the end of this month.
Unlike the sleek and slim iPod, the AV700 will hardly fit in a shirt pocket or discreetly in a purse. But its 8-inch by 4-inch size does allow one feature that no iPod can handle: a 7-inch color screen.
Archos marketing manager David Feldman says the display, which is a "widescreen" format such as those on high-definition TVs, is needed because the AV 700 is a "mobile digital video recorder."
"It's a device that you can connect directly to your TV, your set top box, or your DVD player and record the content," he says.
Once attached to a cable TV decoder, an antenna or DVD player, the AV 700 can be programmed like a VCR to automatically record full color video and audio onto its built-in hard drive. That way, says Feldman, owners can take their entire video collection or favorite TV shows to watch while commuting to work or traveling on vacation.
And like the iPod, users can store thousands of digital song tunes, digital images and even computer data files.
The "removable battery gives you about 12 hours of audio life," says Feldman. "And if you're playing video -- like a movie or the TV show you recorded from last night, for example -- it would give you about five hours of battery life."
For longer-lasting entertainment -- say to keep the kids in the back seats occupied during long road trips – the unit can be plugged into a car's cigarette lighter for power. And once you've reached grandma's house, the AV 700 can draw power from a wall outlet and plugged into a larger TV display so everyone can enjoy the show.
The AV 700 will cost more than a pretty penny, however. A unit with a 40-gigabyte hard drive -- enough room for more than 80 DVD movies -- will cost about $600. A 100-gigabyte model which will hold about 400 hours of video will cost $800.
-- Larry Jacobs, ABC News
Cybershake is produced for ABC News Radio by Andrea J. Smith.