Archos has been going through some tough times lately, having to reorganize and lay off a quarter of its staff toward the end of last year. You could say that the company is using the spring as a chance for renewal: company Chairman Henri Crohas has picked Deputy CEO Loïc Poirier to replace him in the full CEO position as of May 1st. Poirier's main focus will be on finishing the work that started in 2012, which should concentrate Archos' efforts on its signature tablet business as well as ventures into home automation and smartphones.
As if to mark its potential comeback, the company is catering to Americans by shipping its 80 Titanium and 97 Titanium tablets their way alongside the already mentioned GamePad. The 8- and 9.7-inch slates are selling for $169 and $249, with screen size the real differentiatior -- both run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on top of a dual-core 1.6GHz processor and an IPS-based LCD. They won't give a Nexus 10 owner second thoughts, but they include a fair amount of bang for our US bucks.
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Nomination of a New ARCHOS CEO and Perspectives for the Future
Igny, France – March 22, 2013 - Following the recommendation of ARCHOS Chairman, Henri Crohas, the Board of Directors has named Loïc Poirier to replace Mr Crohas as CEO of the Archos Group taking effect May 1, 2013. Loïc Poirier joined the Archos Group in 2005 as Chief Financial Officer, was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2007 and more recently to Deputy CEO in January 2013.
Henri Crohas, Archos founder, will retain his role as Chairman of the Board and will lead the Strategic Committee alongside the CEO; however he will be concentrating his efforts on the strategic repositioning of the Group via the restructuring of R&D resources between European and Chinese teams while focusing on three axes: Themed Tablets, Smartphones and Home Automation.
The reorganization that began at the end of 2012, aimed at reducing operating costs, nears its completion, having led to the downsizing of the workforce by one quarter at the head office and throughout the group. The 2012 fiscal year financial accounting incorporates restructuring costs as well as inventory depreciation.
In 2013, the group's revenue will benefit from the completion of the diversification efforts that began in 2012:
* The launch of Themed Tablets under the Archos brand or under major distributor brands. These devices require a high level of personalization but also generate higher margins.
* The entry into the Smartphone market. According to GFK, at the end of 2011, 57% of smartphones sold in France via retail channels were subsidized by telcos, however only 34% were subsidized during the 3rd quarter of 2012. This upheaval is favorable to Archos who traditionally sells through retail channels. Furthermore, Smartphones and Tablets are interrelated markets that have quickly crossed over with the arrival of "Phablets" - half-phone, half-tablet devices as well as 3G becoming commonplace.
* The Investments in Home Automation, or, in the broader sense, connected objects that take advantage of new low energy wireless technologies. Archos has developed a range of miniaturized wireless connected objects and is building services around this connectivity.