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Archive for October, 2009

Archos 9 pctablet – the future of netbooks

Posted by Charbax on 28th October 2009

Here is Archos official presentation video of the new Archos 9 pctablet that is being now released for around $499 or 449€ with Windows 7 on board:

You can discuss this video in http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=26998

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Archos 5 Internet Tablet is faster and better than the iPod Touch and Viliv S5

Posted by Charbax on 26th October 2009

UMPCportal.com and Pocketables.net just published articles detailing and explaining how the Archos 5 Internet Tablet is the fastest and the best Internet Tablet on the market.

Steve Chippy of UMPCportal is saying that it is “as fast” as the Intel Atom based Viliv S5 when the Flash is disabled in Viliv’s Firefox browser. Yet consider that for $249 the Archos 5 Internet Tablet (8GB) with 7 hours battery in WiFi browsing mode and 182gr is at least as fast as a $549 Viliv S5 with less battery time and weighing 395gr.

Archos performs as the fastest on 8 websites out of 10 in the test by Pocketables in terms of web browsing speed. You have to consider that Archos displays 2.5x more pixels than on the iPod Touch, so basically the Archos can display 2.5x more information, pixels and charachters on the screen at faster or about the same speed as the third generation Ipod Touch.

According to Phandroid.com, Best Buy is now moving forward with significant marketing in favour of Archos 5 Internet Tablet when compared to the Ipod Touch:

I would add a few corrections to Best Buy’s comparison:

- TV output on the Archos is actually up to 1280×720 using the HDMI output on the HDMI Mini Dock or DVR Station.

- HD 720p Content support is not only H264 High Profile for Archos, it is also for DivX, XviD and WMV. While the iPod Touch does not support any HD content not even of H264 Baseline profile.

- The GPS map licence on Archos is only if you want to use the suggested Ndrive Android GPS in-car navigation software. But you can use any other Android GPS software that is available on the market, including free applications where GPS map licences are free or ad-supported.

You can discuss this in this thread http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26938

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Video Review: Browser and MKV 720p playback on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android

Posted by Charbax on 22nd October 2009

Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android provides the worlds first 800×480 4.8″ Android experience on an ARM Cortex A8 processor. It loads websites super fast and smooth. It plays all video codecs from DivX, WMV, Mpeg2 and H264 even MKV video files at up to 1280×720 resolution. There are thousands of compatible Android applications (now or later..) and more to test and to report on every day in the http://forum.archosfans.com as developers are optimizing their applications for Archos 800×480 resolution screen.

Why it’s the best: (better than ipod touch, zune HD and other Android smartphones)

- The screen is 2x larger at 4.8″ vs. 3.5″
- The screen resolution is 2.5x higher at 800×480 vs. 480×320
- The processor is 3-4 times faster with ARM Cortex A8 vs. ARM11 (the new ipod touch released last month does have ARM Cortex A8 as well though)
- It plays back every video codecs, including DivX, XviD, WMV, Mpeg2, VOB, H264, MP4, MOV, MKV up to 1280×720 and audio codecs Mp3, Flac, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AC3 and WMA. Even RMVB might be supported (I have not tested RMVB yet)
- This device can stream Youtube HD and any other HD video format directly from the web over WiFi-N. It’s basically also a 180gr $200 (street price for 8GB version) full Blu-ray replacement. On the 500GB version (soon $400 street price), you can basically walk around with 120 Blu-ray quality movies in your pocket to connect and play on any HDTV using the HDMI Mini Dock.
- Archos comes with up to 500GB built-in storage for the hard drive based models.
- MicroSD card slot on the Flash based models.
- HDMI output through the HDMI Mini Dock (price not known yet) or the DVR Station ($130 or lower)
- USB and Bluetooth keyboards and mice are supported
- WiFi-N provides more bandwidth and broader coverage for connecting to WiFi Internet
- 3G Bluetooth tethering through a mobile phone for Internet when you are outside of reach of WiFi hotspots
- Video-recording and scheduling with electronic program guide like a Tivo (with the optional DVR Station $130 or below)
- Real GPS built-in for Archos provided Android GPS application or for any other Android based GPS and location based applications
- FM receiver and transmitter built-in
- Samba and UPNP file sharing for streaming of HD movies and TV shows on your local network (I have not tested this feature yet, I am waiting for my Fonera 2.0n to arrive hopefully next week)
- 1280×720 Android Desktop experience when outputting the screen to a HDTV using HDMI. This is the worlds first 1280×720 Android experience. Apps could be optimized for this in the coming months, for example I am expecting to see the full high resolution compatible and optimized Google Chrome available for ARM Cortex A8 based Android devices in the coming few months.
- All that, and it still fits in a pocket, it does not cost more than the ipod touch or zune HD, it is much cheaper than the currently available HTC and Samsung Android phones (at least when bought unlocked) and it is only 1.5x heavier than the ipod touch.

The Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android is, I think, the most significant alternative to Apple’s and Microsoft’s portable multimedia consumer electronics products on the market for real tech geeks. In my opinion, Archos already has released the industry’s best ipod touch and zune HD killer with what we have now. Even though I do look forward to them improving a few things in firmware updates to come in the next weeks and months.

What Archos can improve in the next firmware updates:

- They should fix the audio-synch issue with H264 720p HD video files such as MKV HD and Youtube HD playback. I am confident Archos can fix this in on of the soon to come firmware updates. Mostly the audio-synch issue I am experiencing is only very slightly noticable and the TV episodes as still very watchable and look fantastic using HDMI output from Archos 5 Internet Tablet to my 42″ HDTV.
- They should try to support more than 3500kbit/s MKV high profile h264 720p so that MKV 720p 4GB+ movies will play smoothly and that MKV 720p TV episodes will not sometimes drop some frames (usually for 1-3 seconds) on the high peak bitrate scenes (see my tests of MKV high profile h264 720p playback in this forum thread http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26603)
- Hopefully Archos can add support for the DTS audio codec, which is often used in 4GB+ MKV 720p movies.
- USB Webcams or Headmounted camera for live video broadcasting applications like Ustream and Qik.
- USB 3G Dongles would be really useful even though carrying and connecting the USB 3G dongle to a Mini Dock, HDMI Mini Dock or Battery Dock is not the most compact of setups.
- Archos has promised Android 1.6, Android 2.0 and Flash 10.1 support in updates. It’d be nice to see all these officially add support for all the Google apps such as Gmail client, Google Maps, Google Contacts, Google Listen and the Google Marketplace for apps, considering it should be possible for Google to just filter the apps for Archos’s specific screen resolution and also filter out apps that require the Camcorder and the electronic compass, unless Archos does provide a Dock or USB webcam and headmounted camera add-on support that ads support for those features.
- It will be interesting to see if Archos specific hardware advantages will be taken advantage of by third party Android application developers. For example, it will be interesting to see if third party developers will be able to provide some apps that support HD video streaming, peer-to-peer downloading and streaming, video games emulation up to N64 and Dreamcast, advanced 3D games such as Quake3, and many other such really advanced things.
- It is going to be interesting to see also up to what extent Archos, Google and third party developers can take advantage of the 1280×720 output when using the HDMI output to a HDTV. I would like to be able to use my Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android as a full Desktop/Laptop replacement. That is, if the ARM Cortex A8 platform inside of it and with all the hardware acceleration can be powerful enough to provide me with the complete performance that I need for full screen, full keyboard and mouse computing.

If they can quickly improve the firmware with these improvements and added features, I believe the Archos Android Tablet could become the absolute must have product for all geeks.

Discuss this video:

You can discuss this video review in the forum http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26754

In my next videos:

In my next videos that I will post here during the next few days, I plan to show you 3G Bluetooth tethering, Youtube HD playback (which now works in todays new Firmware update 1.2.03), some awesome Android apps that work, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse fun, remote desktop, local and remote file sharing and streaming and many more awesome features.

Some pictures:

I posted some high resolution pictures of it comparing it to things you might know the size of (click on the images to see them in full size on Google Picasa):
Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin

The next hardware:

For the next Archos Phone range due to be released or shown at CES in January 2010, I wish for Archos to integrate a Pixel Qi 3Qi Capacitative touchscreen (watch my video from Computex http://techvideoblog.com/computex/pixel-qi-screen-demo-live-from-taipei/), a 720p camcorder and an electronic compass together with the 3G HSDPA sim card modem. Archos is getting to be very close to absolute perfection in mobile computing.

Full disclosure:

Full disclosure: I am the biggest Archos fanboy in the world. I run the worlds biggest Archos fans community here at http://archosfans.com and at http://forum.archosfans.com and have done so for the past 5 years. Archos did send me this new Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android 4 days ago for free and have told me that I could keep it since I also need it to support the thousands of Archos users in my online community.

Posted in Exclusives, Firmwares, Reviews, Videos | View Comments

Firmware updates for Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android and Archos 5IMT as well

Posted by Charbax on 21st October 2009

You can discuss the Archos 5 Internet Tablet firmware 1.2.03 at http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26718

Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android

Version 1.2.03 – October 21st, 2009

Android applications: all Archos default Android applications are installed during firmware update process after reboot if not present on the disk
Web browser: fix some random crashes
Youtube: solve some video playback issues
TV output: setup wizard shows a picture of the connectors and cable
TV output: fix AC3 sound being stereo only on SPDIF/HDMI
TV output: provide higher HDMI output volume
Android sound recorder: recording is now performed at 44.1kHz

Last year’s Archos 5 and 7 Internet Media Tablets also just received this new firmware 1.7.02 update which you can also discuss at http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=26717

Archos 5 and Archos 7

Version 1.7.02 – October 21st, 2009

New:

Video: VOB subtitles are now supported

Video: Now recognize subtitle filenames with the language added between the movie name and the extension

Bug fixes:

Video Subtitles: Player was hanging when there was an empty .SSA file

Video: Some MP4 files containing MP3 audio didn’t play well

Video: Some MPEG-4 files didn’t play well

Video: Some FLV files didn’t play well

Video: Animated thumbnails didn’t loop correctly

Music: Artist name containing “/” were not displayed correctly in the tab of the Music Browser

Music: Device could reboot when cleaning the Playlist while in shuffle mode

Music: Device could freeze when toggling from FM radio to Music Player in queue mode

TV: There was some OSD display glitches while playing some video files in 720p mode

Web: Allow to play local video files from the Web Browser

Home Shortcuts: some shortcuts had truncated names

Home Shortcuts: There was issues in the shortcut manager when more than 50 shorcuts had been created

System: There was some issue with the download manager when the hard drive was full

Virtual keyboard: There was issues when writing an e-mail with a non-latin language selected

GUI: Update Arabic, Bulgarian, Hebrew, Italian and Spanish translations

GUI: Bulgarian virtual keyboard had a duplicated letter and one missing

Posted in Firmwares | View Comments

At night in Denmark

Posted by Charbax on 17th October 2009

At night, in the streets of Copenhagen, I’m using my new Archos 5 Internet Tablet for the first time. Not testing much in this video, just showing you a bit of how it looks and talking about it.

I will post some detailed videos showing the actual features, performance, test results and more during the next few days. So check back!

Here are some of my early impressions with this Android device:

720p MKV High Profile TV episodes “scene releases” seem to work smoothly. Though if you fast forward there currently is a bug that then plays the video slightly out of synch. My contact at Archos tells me there are things they can improve with MKV playback in firmware updates.

I will test more 720p MKV H264 High Profile “scene release” movies during the next few days and I will report in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewforum.php?f=47

I like the Android browser a lot, I really like how you can go in standby while browsing, resume your player and you are right back in the browser and immediately still connected to WiFi. On the previous Archos 5 IMT, you would have to slowly reconnect to WiFi and re-browse to the page. This is a huge improvement. I like awesomly how you can multitask, jump from the Browser to something else and back so easily. Browse in 4 tabs perhaps more all seems super smooth, perhaps thanks to this ARM Cortex A8 processor being so powerful for this webkit browser.

The Youtube.apk seems to work fine, though it’s not full screen yet (does not cover the top Home/Menu/Back task bar) and also, it would be really awesome if someone made a special Archos version of Youtube.apk which could load HD and HQ versions by default in full screen and instantly if the user chooses those qualities as default in the settings. If someone made a YoutubeHD.apk optimized for Archos, if playing back Youtube HD and HQ from the Youtube API is possible, then that could be a real killer application for this device. Add a few community features, Youtube video recommendations, log-in to load ones personal Youtube recommendations, subscriptions, playlists and more would be really awesome.

I have had it only for a few hours, and been busy with a few other things since then. I will spend much more time tomorrow to try to do some useful and advanced tests that I will post in new videos and in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?p=171270#p171270

Posted in Exclusives, Firmwares, Reviews, Suggestions | View Comments

My source at Archos provides more information on the new stable Firmware

Posted by Charbax on 15th October 2009

According to forum reports (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), the new firmware update 1.1.01 that Archos released this past monday (changelog) fixes a lot of the bugs that were present in the early firmwares. Those early firmware bugs probably also caused that temporary freeze of orders on Amazon has been reported by some blogs since my guess is early users complained to Amazon about the bugs, but those should now be mostly fixed.

I asked one of my sources at Archos a bunch of questions about the new firmware and overall the status of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android, questions that most of us Archos Fans have been discussing in the http://forum.archosfans.com This source of mine at Archos has started to reply to some of these questions, so hereby I quote snippets of those responses on the status with this latest firmware:

H.264 & MKV Container:
- The new fimware 1.1.01 allows the user to read the H264HD & MKV container in a better quality because this firmware optimizes the playback of both formats.
- The End-User has to be registered to get the free plug-in H264
- Concerning the MKV files playback problem : most of MKV files contain H.264 or HD264HD format combined with AC3 sound (in 90% of cases). This explains why these files (MKV) cannot be played with audio tracks even after the online registration (which offers you the free pack plug-in). In fact, the consumer has to purchase the HD cinema plug-in to read these files.

I will be testing MKV 720p High Profile H264 playback in the next few days and report if I can get most of my “scene releases” to work. Such as those 4.7GB 720p Movies and 720p TV shows that people can find on the Internet.

There has been some tests in the forum, though not many using the new firmware that improves on H264HD playback, and not many specifically testing “scene releases” of High Profile 720p contents.

Also, I will report soon back about how good the Youtube HD playback performs! If it can stream most Youtube HD contents smoothly on an HDTV, this will be fantastic and the first time this has been achieved on a consumer electronics device!

WiFi:
- The new firmware 1.1.01 optimizes the connection and stability while improving WiFi scanning and Bluetooth stability

Early reports in the forum are confirming that WiFi-N connections are stable now. I will be testing to see which options there are for WiFi switch on/off widgets to put on the Android desktop for quick WiFi connection management. I will see if FON Maps, FON connector and other automatic WiFi hotspot connection Android apps are working to provide a super quick and automatic way to connect to the Internet.

I will also test WiFi-N transfer speeds and range.

Tethering:
- This function is working with most of 3G phones & smartphones like Samsung, LG, Nokia. The iPhone, the Android Phones, Blackberry phones & Windows phones have not included the thethering function. The non compatibility with iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows phones is therefore not a problem from ARCHOS but from the manufacturer itself.

In the forum http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26482, we are trying to come up with lists of specific phones models that are tested to provide compatible bluetooth tethering support.

I’m looking forward to test if there is support for some really cheap Bluetooth tethering phones (such as some cheap Motorola, Nokia, LG and Samsung ones) to act as the 3G modem to use on the Archos, using Data-centric HSDPA sim cards only, with no need to actually use that phone for Voice and SMS. My plan is to use my Archos as a VOIP and IM terminal instead of having a normal mobile phone. And I would like to use those Data SIM cards that cost around $20 per month without contract, just pre-paid each month, and that provide up to 10GB or 20GB of bandwidth. At least here in Denmark and in some other European countries, such Data-only HSDPA sim cards are available. It will be interesting to test if those block VOIP packets or if VOIP works fine (once more VOIP apps are available for Android).

I believe any better Bluetooth Tethering support on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android will have to come from Google to provide such more features in future Android updates. For example, hopefully that Android 2.0 could support these other types of “priprietary” Bluetooth tethering from such devices as the Windows Mobile 6 devices, Iphones, Androids and Blackberries. Discuss Bluetooth Tethering in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26482

Flash:
- The ARCHOS 5 supports Flash Lite through the ARCHOS AVOS (Games à Flash…)
- The ARCHOS 5 can play videos from website such as Youtube (via their mobile website) or Dailymotion via the pre installed applications
- The ARCHOS 5 does not support flash animations (web ads for instance)

Previously, Archos has confirmed that Flash 10.1 support will be added to this device once Adobe releases it. According to this video, the Flash 10.1 player for Android should be available within the next few months: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pee3nT4bPw4

Archos has previously supported Flash 9 Lite in the Opera browser of the last 2 generations of devices. Though the Webkit based browser in Android does not support Flash 9 Lite for now. So Archos is I think probably waiting for the official Flash 10.1 release, before adding support for it, probably not before Android 2.0. Also, if rumors of Firefox Fennec, Opera and the full Google Chrome browsers developped using the Android Native SDK are true, then Archos could support Flash in those as well.

Donut – New android firmware :
- Donut (Android 1.6) should be available for the ARCHOS 5 before end of 2009. For your information, there is currently no device that is running Donut at the moment. All manufacturers are developping and adapting their devices to do so.

In a previous video, Archos representative Steve Martin said that the Android 1.6 update would be available for the Archos later in October, though my source at Archos tells me that Android 1.6 firmware might be about 5 weeks away from today. Though before the end of 2009 is probably the more conservative estimate.

Regarding the support for the Google applications on Archos, what I have been asking in the android-discuss newsgroup is to ask if anyone else had seen any pre-release of the Google Android apps such as the Gmail client, Contacts, Google Maps, Google Listen, Google Voice, Latitude, Talk and other of these Google Android apps. But nobody has yet answered if they have seen anything.

Hopefully since Android 1.6 adds support for WVGA 800×480 screens, now Google will soon release all the Google apps to use on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet and other of the many Android devices with Android 1.6 that are coming out.

My contact at Archos is telling me that Archos is in talks with Google to get those apps for when Archos releases the Donut update. My guess is that Google will release the “Google Experience” across more Android devices including Archos in the coming weeks while Android 1.6 is being spread around and while more Android devices are being announced and released by dozens more manufacturers.

I also expect that the Google Marketplace app will eventually work on the Archos since Google has announced that they now provide resolution, manufacturer and carrier specific filtering for the Google Marketplace.

- APK problem :
On some ARCHOS 5 with Flash Memory the pre-installed applications are not on the desktop of the device. To reinstall the Third-Party Android applications : download the file on http://www.archos.com/support/support_tech/updates.html?country=fr&lang=fr (choose ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet), and copy it to the root of your ARCHOS 5. Unplug your ARCHOS device, and double click on the file you just copied. Launch the Installation Wizard (from Menu>Settings>About my Product>Repair and Format tools). The wizard will automatically launch at the next reboot of your ARCHOS 5 internet tablet. Follow the steps of the Wizard.

That .apk problem is a small one previously resolved quickly in the forum. One can just download AppsLib from here to get the Archos applications library back up.

According to reports on http://www.archoslounge.net/AppsLib-ca-se-remplit-vite,9068.html , there are now more than 1087 Android applications available in the Archos http://appslib.com applications library.

gunnar-medial has posted a “HOWTO: ADB support on Ubuntu Linux (on-device debugging!)” since this latest Archos 5 Internet Tablet firmware update (1.1.01) enables ADB (Android Debug Bridge). This is a major step forward in efficient development of apps for this tablet device! http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26483

You can discuss this post and suggest other questions to ask in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26490

The Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android (500GB) has been shipping for a couple of days from Amazon.com for $489

The 32GB has been shipping for about 2 weeks from Amazon.com for $369

Posted in Exclusives, Firmwares, Rumors | View Comments

Firmware update 1.1.01 fixes bugs!

Posted by Charbax on 12th October 2009

Early reports in the forum http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?p=170183#p170183 are describing this new firmware update as possibly fixing many of the early bugs in earlier firmware versions for the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android:

Firmware Version 1.1.01

* Bluetooth: provide better auto-reconnect support for A2DP headsets
* Multimedia: faster MKV parser implementation and smoother H264 playback
* Cell phone tethering for data access: tethering is supported under Archos Media Center and Android is now made aware of tether network connectivity
* Sound recorder: add capability to record in PCM under android
* TV output support: desktop icons are now resized to avoid overlapping on PAL/NTSC output
* USB connection: a ftp and samba server are running on the device when mounting usbnet connection, device behaves now like a network file server
* Android debug bridge: ADB is now enabled with user shell privilege
* Recording: sound saturation issue has been fixed
* Archos media center launcher widget: provide a faster shortcuts display
* Hardware support: improved GPS and Wi-Fi driver

You can download the firmware here http://update.archos.com/7/archos5/archos5_r1.1.01/firmware_archos5.aos

Jaffar of Archos Staff reports in the forum how it is recommended to clean install this firmware: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?p=170361#p170361

You can discuss this firmware update here in this thread http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26375

Posted in Firmwares | View Comments

Awesome video showing Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, and remote desktop software

Posted by Charbax on 10th October 2009

Steffest posted a cool video demonstrating the iGo Stowaway foldable Bluetooth keyboard and mouse used to control the Archos while using a pretty cool looking remote desktop application to control a full Windows pc remotely over the Internet running Photoshop and any other Windows application that you can run on your desktop or laptop remotely.

You can discuss this video at http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26346

Thanks to http://www.jbmm.fr/2009/10/10/avoir-la-vision-de-son-pc-sur-son-archos-5-it/

Posted in Reviews, Videos | View Comments

CNET TV First Look video

Posted by Charbax on 8th October 2009

Posted in Reviews, Videos | View Comments

The best e-book reader in the world

Posted by Charbax on 6th October 2009

Steve Chippy from UMPCportal.com has just posted an awesome video showing the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android in e-book mode using the Aldiko and FBreader softwares available in the AppsLib.com library of Android applications:

I think this makes this Archos probably the best LCD based e-reader device in the world just as well. Imagine if Pixel Qi were already making 4.8″ sized 3Qi screens, that would enable Archos to actually switch off the backlight to in fact provide a pocketable all-in-one device to also replace any E-ink device.

You can discuss this video in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26240

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