MP3 Goes “Retro”

If you couldn’t tell what’s on my X-mas wishlist, here’s another hint. This is the new Archos hard-drive-based MP3 player. Sporting a new look much like their new Multimedia player (except with a monochrome screen rather than a color one), this 20 gig MP3-only player, imaginatively called the Jukebox FM Recorder 20 is sleeker than previous units at only 4.45″ x 3.11″ x 1.18.” That’s not iPod size, but not too bad, either. Price is only $300, significantly less than the iPod.

More than just the shape has changed from the old Archos Jukebox — it now uses USB 2.0 for fast transfering of MP3s from PC, and it also records MP3s from any source including the built-in FM tuner. It also has this very cool feature called “retro-recording” which means that if you’re listening to the radio and decide after the song starts that you want to record it, you press record and the unit will record from 30 seconds before you hit the button! I think this must work through some faster-than-light technology, but the company’s keeping mum about any violation of the laws of physics. Actually, it sort of reminds me of an idea I had a few years ago about a device that would constantly record the last 30 seconds of your own conversations, so that if somebody said something you thought you might want to remember later, you’d just press a button to save that part, effectively creating a retro-voice reminder. I should have patented the concept….