Archos Launches a Pair of So-So eReaders

It seems that I may have been negligent in keeping an eye on Archos; this French Gadget company has released a pair of ereaders in the past few months which I feel are both over-priced and underwhelming. Luckily for me I'd already seen one of the new ereaders under another brand name, so it's not a major loss.

I haven't had my hands on either Archos model, but I can tell you that these are some very basic ereaders. They have incomplete support for Epub and limited annotation options. Luckily they do also offer some limited ability to play video and audio, so if you like you could use one as a media player.

Back in late April Archos started shipping the 70d ereader, a minimalist device with a cheap 7" screen and a decent amount of storage and format support but no Wifi or touchscreen.  I have it pictured at right, and if you've read this blog for a while you might recognize it.

When I reviewed the 70d it went by the name Slick ER-701, and it's now the Polaroid ER-701. And it's not just a similar looking device; I found a review of the 70d and not only does the ereader look like mine it also uses the exact same menus and  displays ebooks in a way that looks identical.

I wasn't terribly impressed with the ER-701 at the time, but I've since had a number of readers report that it's not bad for a $30 to $40 ereader. I still disagree; I still think a tablet would be a better buy. Or if you're planning to buy 2 devices, I'd pool the funds and get a better tablet.

Now, the other new Archos ereader just showed up on yesterday. It has a 9" screen, and aside from having some buttons moved around it is pretty much the same ereader as the 70d.

I haven't had my hands on this one, but from all appearances it looks to be a close relative of the one of the Polaroid ereaders that i saw at CES 2012. Some buttons have been moved around, but aside from that I'd bet it's the same ereader.

I don't believe it ever hit the US market, though.

In case you're interested, I know the 7" ereaders are the same device because of the general similarity in hardware design as well as the fact they use the same menus. That tells me that the devices were originally developed by Gajah, a Singapore based ereader company.

They've had a bunch of their designs show up under a number of different brand names. Line all those rebranded devices in a row and I'm pretty sure that Gajah would turn out to be one of the most widely distributed ereader manufacturers . They also make a few Android tablets, but it's been a while since I saw any of those, either.

About Nate Hoffelder (11466 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Archos Launches a Pair of So-So eReaders

  1. The second one reminds me of a Rocket Book in design for some reason..

  2. These particular two devices might not be the “answer” – but if somebody can break into the North American market with an inexpensive no-bells-and-whistles dedicated e-reading device that might really be a boon to the digital market.

  3. I was given an ARCHOS 70d eReader (4GB) – it was impressive to start with but after a month or so my computer could not connect to it, the USB port was very wonky. Eventually it could not be charged either so now it’s just a dead chunk of plastic. The worst part is Archos’ complete and utter denial of all responsibility – I have phoned, emailed and written to them and they will not, in any way, repair or replace it; once they have your money you are dead to them. Robbing bunch of gangsters and a sketchy product. Do not fall into this trap, do NOT buy any Archos products.

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