Android has become many things to many people, but high-powered media devices haven't latched on to the OS just yet. Much of it has to do with the Android's immaturity: from what we hear, it doesn't even support hardware graphics acceleration, much less embrace multimedia and games. Archos has punched through that barrier by porting over its existing media-happy application layer from Linux to make good use of the 800MHz OMAP3440 processor they've stuffed inside the brand new (much leaked) Archos 5 Internet Tablet. The tablet runs a 4.8-inch 800 x 480 screen, and can pump out 720p video (including WMV and H.264) over HDMI. Because it's Archos' own special sauce, the device also supports protected WMV and protected WMA (hooray PlaysForSure), a rarity for Linux. With the optional DVR Station the device can do VGA TV recording, though you'll probably want to spring for one of the beefy HDD models, which offer capacity up to 500GB, but double the girth of the basic 0.4-inch thick flash player. There's also 802.11n WiFi, a bit of a rarity in portable devices like this, and quite a treat for 2.4GHz-addled city dwellers.
But that's all pretty regular Archos-ey stuff. The newness for Archos comes in the form of Android, which has been fairly seamlessly melded with the Archos layer -- which hovers over the vanilla Android install when needed. The OS scales up pretty nicely to 800 x 480, which is a relief because the touchscreen keyboard is a bit of a chore with the 5's resistive touchscreen. Since it's not a Google-blessed device, you'll have to score a copy of Gmail on your own time, but the regular Market is available if you want to risk going around the 5-optimized AppsLib store. Several third party apps are included out of the gate, including ThinkFree Mobile, which should be updated to allow for document editing in the near future. When plugged into a dock and paired with an optional mini-QWERTY keypad (or any regular Bluetooth keyboard and mouse) the 5 becomes a rather nice way to surf the internet on your TV. It's missing in-browser Flash, but there should be an update to rectify that soon. Out of the house the tablet offers a high-end GPS experience, including hugemongous birds eye photo maps of major cities, and can tether with a 3G phone over Bluetooth for a bit of data. So, Archos 5 might not be Android's killer device, mainly because it isn't a phone and doesn't make for pleasurable mobile data entry or consumption. Still, it's doing stuff with media that the relatively sluggish crop of Android handsets have failed at so far, and hopefully will spur the community to greater heights. The player is available as of today, with prices ranging from $250 to $440, not to mention accessories galore. Check out videos of the tablet in action after the break. %Gallery-72936% %Gallery-72937%
Show full PR text
ARCHOS BRINGS THE ANDROID PLATFORM TO A LARGE-SCREEN INTERNET TABLET WITH THE NEW ARCHOS 5
ARCHOS Introduces the Ultimate Internet Tablet with Android Applications, Bluetooth, GPS and High Definition Video in One Handheld Device
DENVER, CO – September 15, 2009 – ARCHOS, Inc., a top innovator in the portable media market, announced today the new ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet that combines the best of ARCHOS, featuring high-definition content, TV recording and built-in GPS, with the best of the Android platform for Internet browsing and nearly unlimited customization with applications .
The ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet features a sleek and slim design, 5-inch high-resolution touch-screen, ultra-fast speeds of a PC, full fledge Internet browser, 3D GPS navigation, integrated applications that rival Mobile Internet Devices, and far more capacity and flexibility. Up to 500GB of capacity ensures the ARCHOS 5 keeps up with the growth of consumer content, offering the ability to store Android applications along with hundreds of full-length HD movies, songs, photos and more.
"With the steady growth of mobile Internet adoption, easier ways to access the Internet and digital media, and an increasing need for device customization, ARCHOS brings it all together by integrating GPS, HD and the Android platform," said Henri Crohas, ARCHOS chief executive officer. "Android offers to the consumer unlimited ways to customize the tablet with thousands of apps, all easily available on the device or through the AppsLib Store."
New AppsLib Store for Large-Screen Android Applications
ARCHOS introduces the AppsLib Store for unlimited access to free and paid applications developed specifically for the larger 5-inch touch screen display of the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet. Consumers can simply access Android applications from the AppsLib Store through the ARCHOS 5 device and download in one-click, with the application resizing to fit the larger screen in portrait or landscape view.
In addition to accessing applications through the AppsLib Store, the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet will include several pre-installed Android apps, including the popular eBuddy instant messaging app, Twidroid for sending and receiving tweets, Craigsphone for posting or accessing classified ads, Thinksfree for viewing Microsoft® Office™ files, Quickpedia and much more.
Fastest Wireless Connection
With WiFi n network capabilities, the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet is connected where and when consumers want and with broadband-like connection speeds. Without WiFi access, consumers can use the 3.5G connection of their mobile phone and connect through the Bluetooth™ to the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet, without requiring an additional subscription.
The brilliant 5-inch screen of the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet, combined with the new superscalar microprocessor ARM® CortexTM A8 from Texas Instrument, allows consumers to surf the Web on a high-resolution 800x480 touch screen, as if they were surfing on their PC. Unlike the small 2- and 3-inch screens of most Smartphones and media players, the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet makes surfing the Web, watching movies, sending email, Twittering or updating Facebook pages easy and comfortable.
Integrated GPS Features 3D Maps and Adventure Mode Compass
The ARCHOS 5 features an embedded GPS application that can be used in the car, around town or even in "adventure mode" for off road travels. With voice assistance, Points of Interest, multiple-route calculations, maps from TeleAtlas® with 3D landmarks, and a unique 3D photo realistic feature for in-city navigation edited by BLOM, the ARCHOS 5 ensures one less device in the pocket and keeps consumers moving. With multiple view angles, four zoom levels and digital compass, the ARCHOS 5 keeps users on track whether in city or back-country.
ARCHOS offers a seven day free trial of the GPS features to test the power and performance before subscribing.
Entertainment Your Way with the Highest Quality Content
The ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet offers a host of content options, including:
16GB to 500GB Capacities: Provides enough storage to hold up to 710 full-length, HD quality movies, 3.2 million photos or 190,000 songs.
HD capabilities: Consumers don't need to make compromises concerning their videos. The ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet can handle the widest range of video formats even at HD 720p resolution (H.264 HD, MPEG-4 HD, and WMV HD).
Web TV and Radio: Users can stream thousands of Web TV channels and more than 10,000 radio stations directly to the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet.
TV Recording: With the optional DVR station accessory, ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablets offer a fast and easy way to record live TV and play back favorite HD movies directly on the Tablet or TV.
ARCHOS Media Club: The easiest way to access content on the go, the Media Club features the latest movies, TV shows, music and games from a host of providers.
Personalize with Plug-Ins and Accessories
Furthering the company's strategy to offer multiple customization options, the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet offers a host of optional plug-in and accessories from the ARCHOS store or Web site:
HD Cinema plug-In: Play WMV HD movies in 720p resolution as well as movies in MPEG-2/VOB format with AC3 sound.
Accessories: DVR Station, Battery dock, HDMI Mini-Dock, GPS In-Car Holder, , and more can be used to record TV, charge the device, transfer photos from a digital camera, record videos on the go, etc.
Pricing and Availability
The ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet will be available from retailers, Amazon and the ARCHOS Website beginning September 16, 2009, at prices ranging from $249.99 to $439.99.
Order information and customer support details are available on the ARCHOS Web site at www.archos.com.
ARCHOS introduced the hard-drive-based MP3 player with the Jukebox 6000 in 2000, and since that time has revolutionized consumer electronics devices. The company introduced the portable video player in 2003 and was the first to bring TV recording, wireless and touch screens to the portable media player. The ARCHOS Internet Media Tablet and PCtablet offer consumers uncompromised access to the Internet, movies, photos, video, music and television anytime, anywhere. ARCHOS has offices in the United States, Europe and Asia, and is quoted on Compartment C of Euronext Paris, ISIN Code FR0000182479. More information is available online at archos.com