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Archos Launches Android Tablet

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Archos Launches Android Tablet

Archos has been making portable media players for a long time. Long before the iPod touch was a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye, Archos was producing big screen portable media players, with capacious storage and more features than you could shake a stick at. But now that the world and its dog are producing PMPs, can Archos still produce products that stand out from the crowd? If what I saw yesterday was anything to go by, the answer is a definite yes!

The new Archos 5 Internet Tablet is the first device to come out of the Archos stable running Google's Android platform. That means that the new Internet Tablet can run all of the apps that are available via the Android AppsLib Store (the Archos version of Android Market). As with the Apple app store, you'll find a mix of free and paid-for apps in the Android AppsLib Store, some genuinely useful, some pointless but cool, and some that will leave you scratching your head wondering why anyone coded them.

You get a selection of pre-loaded apps such as Deezer for music streaming, eBuddy for multi-platform instant messaging and ThinkFree Mobile for viewing Office documents. ThinkFree Mobile should also allow editing of documents before the end of the year.

As we've already seen on Android phones like the T-Mobile G1 and HTC Hero, the home screen is split into three pages. You can swipe between the pages and drag apps and shortcuts to any of them for quick access. But unlike Android phones, the Internet Tablet also has shortcuts to the traditional Archos PMP functionality along the bottom of the screen.

The device itself is surprisingly slim, but it's the 4.8in screen that really grabs your attention, while the 800 x 480 resolution means that you'll be making the most of that physical screen real estate too. There's also full Flash support, so you'll have no problem watching online video from pretty much any source. You'll also be able to play and download any Flash based games, if you're so inclined.

Obviously there's Wi-Fi built in, but you also get Bluetooth, complete with mobile phone tethering. So if you do need to get online and you can't find a Wi-Fi network, you can always use your mobile - just check your contract for data modem charges before you start downloading.

You also get built-in GPS, complete with custom mapping. However, you only get a seven day trial of the sat-nav functionality, after which you'll have to purchase it. There was no word on how much this will cost though.

Having got my hands on an early sample of the Internet Tablet at the launch, I can confirm that it's a very nicely designed and built device. It has a quality feel to it, and it definitely looks like a cutting edge piece of kit. In use it seemed pretty speedy - definitely faster than my iPhone 3G that's for sure - although it did take a while to render all the cover art when looking at the music library.

As usual with Archos, there will be a host of accessories for the Internet Tablet including a snap-on TV tuner and a dock for hooking it up to your main TV. Once docked the device can output video at a 1,280 x 720 HD standard, while also recording TV shows via any set-top box tuners you may have.

The Archos 5 Internet Table will ship in both solid state and hard disk formats. The solid state versions will come in 8GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, costing £199.99, £274.99 and £369.99 respectively. All devices also have an SDHC slot for expanding the capacity. The hard disk versions start at 160GB and go up to a staggering 500GB! I'm awaiting confirmed pricing for the HDD versions.

Both versions of the Internet Tablet measure 143.2mm wide and 78.8mm high, while the solid state versions are 10.4mm thick, with the HDD versions more substantial at 20mm thick. The weight of the flash memory based models is 182g, while the HDD versions are, unsurprisingly heavier at 286g.

Finally, Archos also officially announced that it will be producing an Android based, touch-screen phone in the near future. The device looks set to compete directly with the iPhone and other Android handsets, packing a 1GHz ARM Cortex CPU and a 4.3in screen. That's about all the detail that Archos was willing to reveal, other than the fact that the device will be called the Archos Phone Tablet.

Link: Archos

Go to comments

DrDread

September 16, 2009, 4:48 pm

Wow!!


One question *significant factor in purchase*: Capacitive or resistive touchscreen?

Riyad

September 16, 2009, 6:12 pm

I'm pretty sure it's still resistive, but I don't want to make any definitive judgements on what it's like to use, since I only spent a short time with an early sample. I'll be trying to get my paws on a production review sample soon though.

Adam Foreman

September 16, 2009, 8:49 pm

They forget to mention that there will be 250Gb and 500Gb models as well. Although they are not on the website currently.

Gordon394

September 16, 2009, 8:53 pm

@Adam Foreman - capital 'B' ;)

Michael Shopping

September 16, 2009, 9:49 pm

> PCWord review (09/16) states that the 160Gb HD model is $430 (still have to pay add'l for software add-ons to play AAC). > ARCHOS site lists USB as a connection & includes USB cable in box. I hope that this means that their proprietary port has been replaced with USB port. > ARCHOS site states that GPS is via TeleAtlas, but no U.S. map listed on TeleAtlas website. > ARCHOS site does not list specs for GPS, but states that it is now usable in "pedestrian GPS mode" but, without any spec listing the GPS chipset, this might be just a GPS Android feature with no chip being installed. Would like to know what the real facts are on this.


As always, THANKS for such a great site. I use it constantly.


Michael (USA)

Riyad

September 17, 2009, 12:48 am

@Adam Foreman - Did I forget the 500GB version?





"The hard disk versions start at 160GB and go up to a staggering 500GB!"





I think not :)





I couldn't remember what the intermediate capacity was though, so thanks for filling in the 250GB gap.

Sorin

September 17, 2009, 1:50 am

There's no accelerometer which makes it less suitable for games.


Prices are already listed on the site.


https://store.archos.com/a5.ht...

Digital Fury

September 17, 2009, 2:36 pm

I have owned several Archos devices, including currently a 60Gb Archos 5, and it will probably be my last. Once Archos starts to release new devices, the old ones are abandoned. The 5 based on my experience and what I have seen in various Archos-related forums has several outstanding issues, very annoying limitations that could be fixed easily, and "quick wins" could be implemented for next to nothing, yet we have not seen a firmware for months and none apparently is foreseen.





Furthermore after using two generations of iPhone, there's no way I'm going to buy something with a resistive screen again, it's obviously that capacitive screens are much better.

Charbax

September 18, 2009, 5:09 am

There is an accelerometer. GPS is free for any other Android application, and its real GPS not A-GPS. 160GB version has MSRP $329 but you will probably find it below $300 as well as 8GB should be available below $250 and 16GB Flash version below $300 towards $270 as well.

Adam Foreman

September 18, 2009, 5:48 pm

@Riyad, when I said "They" I meant ARCHOS on their website. I downloaded the brochure from their website and it stated only the poultry 32GB version, which like who's gonna buy that! and the 160GB version, which incidentally I already own a A605 Wi-Fi 160GB already. That made me delve a little deeper into checking the brochure and it mentioned the additional 250GB and 500Gb models. Not sure if I'd stretch to the 500GB, but I was contemplating the 250GB.





To be honest, I was about to buy the older Linux based ARCHOS 5, thankfully TR released the news about the ANDROID based ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet, which I whole heartedly thank TR for letting me know ASAP. Its saved me some money and annoyance in buying the previous older model.

Adam Foreman

September 18, 2009, 7:52 pm

One of the other GREAT things in this version has to offer is that is has MKV Hi-Def video support. At least one company has seen the light!

mikfrak

September 22, 2009, 1:57 am

The biggest problem with this device is the name on the front of the box. Archos products have virtually disappeared from the high street with good reason. Archos is an almost wilfully eccentric company that has failed to build up a viable worldwide business model and seems determined to rush what should be prototypes onto the market every six months. These devices often lack vital pieces of software that could turn them from cool curiosities into genuinely useful products (such as codecs, TV guides, or downloadable content). Design can be slapdash too, with chargers that blow up every time someone in the next room switches on a microwave. I have owned three Archos players, but my next multimedia device will be an Apple. It has its shortcomings, but Apple knows how to build a business, not just products.

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