Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Archos 5 Internet Tablet makes an honest PMP out of Android

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/15/archos-5-internet-tablet-makes-an-honest-pmp-out-of-android/

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.

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Archos 5 Internet Tablet makes an honest PMP out of Android originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 15 Sep 2009 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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