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Archos announces GPS, Flash 9, Paramount movie downloads

Archos has announced a GPS add-on for its flagship 605 WiFi PMP, along with support for Adobe's Flash 9, and a deal with Paramount for on-demand movie downloads

Last week Archos announced some interesting new additions to its product line, most notably the GPS add-on to the flagship 605 WiFi, which lets you use the CNET award-winning PMP as a GPS device in-car. It'll be available from May for £99 without a 605 WiFi, or for £299 with a 30GB 605 WiFi included.

We checked it out and liked what we saw. If you already own a 605 WiFi and are in the market for a GPS system, we think this may well be a deal worth investigating. Obviously we'll have a review as soon as possible for you to check out before you hand over any pictures of the Queen.

But that's not all Archos announced. It also told us it was adding Adobe Flash 9 to the 605 WiFi, which, along with Flash-utilising sites such as YouTube, means the BBC's streaming iPlayer service is compatible. This upgrade -- in a miraculous move for the micro-transaction-mad French company -- will be free when released in May from the Archos Web site.

Another new add-on will not be free, however -- Archos also announced a new Web radio and TV plugin for the 605 WiFi. It's not clear how this will look, as we only had a brief peek at a screenshot that was shown as part of a slideshow, but we were told that a podcast directory will bring the world of on-demand programming to the player. This, too, will see May availability.

Paramount Pictures also got in on the action by inking a deal with Archos to supply on-demand movies as both rental and download-to-own titles, directly to the 605 WiFi. At launch -- again in May -- about 160 titles will be available, and Archos told us the catalogue and partner roster would be extended significantly over time. No prices or deals were discussed, but we were told downloads would be DRMed and not movable from the device to, say, a laptop.

Finally, users of the Archos TV+ will get an update in May that adds Slingbox-esque functionality to the system, called TVportation. This will let you access live TV and anything that's on the TV+ via the Web, using 605 WiFis, 705 WiFis, laptops and even Symbian and Windows Mobile-based smartphones. It'll be a free update for Archox TV+ systems registered to the Archos Web site, or £29.99 for the plugin to put this functionality inside the Archos DVR station.

Keep your eyes peeled on Crave for more updates and hands-on reports as soon as we get a chance to finger and prod these new additions to the Archos world. Safe to say you'll be able to check out Car Tech every week right from the palm of your hand. That's good news for all concerned. -Nate Lanxon