ARM is the processor technology used by Archos for more than 10 years to create all its portable multimedia products. There are more than 4 billion ARM processors shipped in consumer electronics and enterprise products each year. Archos has always worked very closely with leader in ARM processor technologies Texas Instruments, to always implement the newest and latest embedded processing technologies many months if not years ahead of competitors.
With the release of the awesome Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android, Archos has in fact released a product so far in advance of everyone else, even Google has not yet provided all the tools for a full 800×480 medium density Google Android OS experience on a 4.8″ WiFi and Bluetooth Tablet form factor. Google is though delivering this next level of Android experience with the Android 1.6 and 2.0 upgrades, which are also starting to be used by all the third party Android applications developers, who are doing the changes sometimes necessary to optimize the experience of their Android applications to work well on larger screen sizes and higher resolutions. We can expect Archos to release 1.6 and 2.0 updates in the next days, weeks and months.
Until then, ARM is providing the ARM Solution Center for Android, which I believe will be used by Archos and Texas Instruments for achieving some of following features (those are my speculations):
- Optimize Android features and user interfaces for use on the HDTV
- Optimize 1280×720 keyboard/mouse interfaces for Android even before Google does it officially
- Integrating the full Multimedia powers of Archos and Texas Instruments into a special optimized version of Android which I believe could eventually permit Archos to free up RAM memory and stabilize the firmware further. Even to enable Android firmware updates on previous Archos generations Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet (released in 2008), Archos 605 WiFi (released in 2007), Archos 604 WiFi (released in 2006) and even Archos PMA400 (released in 2005).
- Extract the full Chrome browser for ARM from Chrome OS and use it in Android powered hardware in Archos 5 IT with its HDMI 1280×720 output as well as Laptop/Netbook/Smartbook form factors.
- Provide easy to implement tools for using Android on Picture frames, sub-$100 mp3 players like the Archos 3 Vision form factor, using Android in Archos 4 Vision and Archos 7 Vision.
- Encourage the development of Applications for non-phone devices, for larger screen devices with higher resolutions and features different from the usual suspects HTC, Samsung and company making 3.5″ 480×320 Android smartphones. For example, we need apps for HD video-on-demand, for keyboard/mouse input on a HDTV, for remote control input on a HDTV.
Eventually, with the work of the ARM Solution Center for Android in parralel with the advancements of the Open Handset Alliance and Google, Archos could release a whole range of Android products with prices from $50 to $500, with screen sizes from 3″ to 15″, with form factors from Tablets to Laptops and set-topboxes. Look forward to a lot of awesome firmware upgrades and new Android products coming out of this work.
You can discuss this news and speculation in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27803