The Gmini 4XX series is far more than meets the eye.
Skip through this introduction if it doesnÔÇÖt interest you and please read the MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE section for some AWESOME info.
I first purchased a Gmini 400 in mid 2004 because I wanted an mp3 player. Unlike most people in this situation, I did not go straight out and get the first Ipod I could get my hands on. I just did a little research on amazon.com and came across some Archos products. At first I had my heart set on the AV400. It was like the top of the line product at the time, (soon followed by the wifi PMA430), but I decided that I would sacrifice the Tivo-like recording capabilities of the AV400 for the portability and mophun games on the gmini400. So I went on www.nextag.com
and searched for the cheapest gmini400 from a dealer with an ok review rating. I loved this thing. It was cheaper than an Ipod and keep in mind, at the time this thing did more than the ipod video does now almost two years before the ipod video even came out. ( ie microphone, mophun games, tv-out no itunes necessary).
It did my music flawlessly and I didnÔÇÖt have to worry about protected music, or complicated software. I simply converted my music to mp3 with Musicmatch and copied it onto my Archos.
The video was somewhat of a hassle at first but after a little research I found Pocket Divx Encoder. This program is by far the simplest way of converting almost any video to work on the Gmini as well as many other portable video devices, including the other video capable Archos products. Its available at http://www.pocketdivxencoder.net/
Another great tool for capturing flash video from websites like Youtube is http://vixy.net/
this can convert .flv files to Divx easily which can then be converted with Pocket Divx easily. This whole process takes less than three minutes once you get the hang of it. These two programs make it almost idiot proof to get just about any video onto your Archos.
The mophun games kept my entertained during boring times.
I went out and got a Gmini 402 camcorder without hesitation when I dropped my Gmini400 from about waist height( 4.5ft) onto concrete. It still worked actually but the song that I was listening to at the time now freezes the gmini when I try to play it and my computer no longer recognizes it when I plug it in. And with me breaking one of the pins on the compact flash reader, there was simply no way of getting anything off or onto my gmini400.
I was not let down by the Gmini402camcorder at all. Its little camera works fine for what would be expected from it. It is an Mp3 player that has the ability to take pictures and video, not a camera that can do mp3s. The mophun game selection was also much better with lock n load, rally pro contest, and joes quest. (all of which were 3d)
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE:
I had heard of a program called Rockbox from a friend that that could run Linux on Ipods and when I read in my Popular Science magazine that it was available for some Archos products I checked out the website. Turned out it was only available for the Jukebox 5000, 6000, Studio, Recorder, FM Recorder, Recorder V2 and Ondio. So it was useless for my Gmini402cc. But I searched the internet and eventually came across Archopen (http://www.archopen.org/tiki-index.php
) They have available a Linux based Operating System (OS) called MediOS. I followed the readme file and got it to work as well as a calculator, and games including Bluecube (tetris), Mastermind, Memory, Minesweeper, Othello, Snake, SPuzzle, Sudoku, and Pacman.
Emulators available at Arhcopen for the 402cc include a NES (original Nintendo called aoNES), SMS(Sega Master System or Sega GameGear, called aoSMS), Doom( plays .wad files. Many good wads can be found by searching google including the original which is necessary for the emu to work. Called aoDoom) And after searching forums at Archopen I found a Sega Genesis emulator for the 402cc. Its actually called ÔÇ£picoÔÇØ ( available at http://greatxerox5.free.fr/pico.rar
) it needs Winrar to ÔÇ£unzipÔÇØ and it works flawlessly as do the other emulators on the whole. These all work with TV-Out functionality so you can play them on your big screens. Beware, if you get a video of a speed boat upon opening any of these emulators its ok, simply shutdown and restart the Archos and try again, it should work. I found it only plays this video if a ÔÇ£normalÔÇØ video has been played prior to opening the emu since a shut down.
The Gameboy emulator (aoBoy) is only available for the 402/402cc on a French forum ( http://www.jbmm.fr/forum/index.php?showtopic=13325
) This emu doesnÔÇÖt seem to expand all the way across the screen, one cannot simply exit the rom to the Archos firmware or start another rom without shutting down, and maybe problems with saving and loading as well as sound issues. It works much like the other emus as far as installation and actually boots MediOS before starting.
As far as I know there is currently no SNES emu available for any Archos. It is said here (http://www.archopen.org/tiki-view_forum ... &forumId=6
) that one is in the works. I would guess that a SNES emu turned down by many homebrew programmers since it only has 2 main buttons and no shoulder buttons. The SNES had 2 shoulder butons as well as 4 right-hand accessible buttons, start and select buttons at a grand total of 8 buttons plus a d-pad. Now, the Gmini4XX has the on and off buttons, 3 below the screen and 2 on the right totalling at only 7 buttons plus a d-pad. A developer for a SNES emu for the Gmini4xx would need to get creative in assigning these buttons, but I think its entirely possible especially after using the Genesis emu.
In addition to all of this the hard drive can be upgraded to 40gig for about $250 (ebay worldwide search) or 30gig for about $60 (ebay). A person on the archopen forum had a excellent idea to utilize the usb host feature as maybe a way of hooking up a gamepad to the archos to play emulators. This is an amazing idea and I hope that emu programmers jump on this idea. It makes me interested in trying my hand in programming. Just think, NES SNES Genesis GameGear and Gameboy via my wireless gamepad on my 50in plasma. Oh yeah.
I would like to thank all of the people responsible for the creation of the emus and medios and programs for medios I mentioned in this post. Any feedback or replies are much appreciated. Sorry it was so long but I had a ton of information that I wanted to convey in a single place for people like me to more easily find. I loved my Archos before I modded/ hacked/ cracked/ whatever-ya-wanna-call-it. Thanks.