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Archive for November, 2009

Google Marketplace and Google Apps works on Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android

Posted by Charbax on 28th November 2009

We have had to wait a month and a half since the release for the full Google Experience to start being available and working on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android. Google had not certified the Archos on Android 1.5 for a WVGA 800×480 Google Experience, so the hope is that this certification will be signed by Google when Archos updates the installed Android version to 2.0 at some point in the next weeks.

For now, someone in the forum has posted instructions for how to install the full Google Experience on the Archos using the ADB developer debugging tools: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27934, and JKK has posted a tutorial for how to install it on Windows: http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2009/11/archos-5-it-now-with-android-market-and.html

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

Archos 5 and 7 IMT hacking (last year’s generation) now officially enabled

Posted by Charbax on 27th November 2009

Archos 5 Special Developer Edition Firmware with Angrstrom Linux

Thanks to Archos hacker archilles building up a nice amount of pressure over the last couple of months with the “guy fawkes hack” in our forums, and thanks to our many many requests over the past few years, Archos has decided to officially release a new Special Developer Edition Firmware based on Angstrom Linux generated from a customized open embedded build. See the PDF file: http://www.archos.com/corporate/press/press_releases/INFORMATION_DEVELOPERS.pdf

This firmware does void your warranty when installed, even if you later revert back to the normal firmware, so install it with precaution and check in the forums and in the wiki first for the latest status of this open source project before installing especially if you are a newbie.

Consider also, that Archos cannot support the full hardware acceleration of Multimedia playback in this Special Edition Firmware. At least that wouldn’t work yet in this initial proof of concept firmware released by Archos, so it is to be seen if there are open source and free tools that may or may not enable the DSP acceleration to playback up to 720p Mpeg4 Simple Profile, D1 H264, Mpeg2, Mp3, AAC, Flac, Ogg, WMV, WMA, WMV and more of the codecs that Archos for now only supports in the normal firmware.

My guess is that you may look forward to being able to run Android, Ubuntu, Qtopia, and Maemo Linux, even Chrome OS eventually, other than the Angstrom Linux of this proof of concept Hackers firmware.

You can discuss this in the Hackers forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewforum.php?f=34

When clicking to download this Angstrom Linux firmware at http://www.archos.com/support/support_tech/updates.html you will be prompted by this message:

By pressing I agree, I hereby acknowledge that:
1. By installing the Special Developer Edition firmware on a device, it will forever loose the capability of playing DRM (digital right management) protected content even if I restore it later to a legacy ARCHOS firmware.
2. Installing the Special Developer Edition firmware is considered by ARCHOS as a voiding of the warranty and ARCHOS declines all liability or responsibility for any issues resulting from installing this Special Developer Edition firmware.
3. The Special Developer Edition firmware is provided under the entire responsibility of whomever installs it and this firmware is not supported by ARCHOS.
4. ARCHOS strongly advises that only experts in the domain of embedded software development may install and use this Special Developer Edition firmware.
5. This software is delivered “as is.” Archos does not assume any responsibility or liability regarding this Special Developer Edition firmware.
6. The Special Developer Edition firmware is an open source software and falls under the legal conditions of the Angstöm distribution (please see the editor of the Angström distribution for legal responsibilities http://www.angstrom-distribution.org/).
7. ARCHOS does not assume any responsibility or liability regarding the use of the device sold under its brand.
8. ARCHOS does not assume any responsibility or liability regarding any intellectual and industrial property rights such as, but not limited to, patents, trademarks, copyrights, mask works, or trade secrets.

Forum user EINSTEIN_ has posted a small rundown on the changes at http://archos.g3nius.org/index.php?title=What_does_the_Special_Developer_Edition_firmware_means_to_you%3F

If you want to see the Archos 5IMT hardware in action, you can watch my 5-part video review of the Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet that I released last year: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

On Amazon.com you can buy the Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet (250GB) for $199 and the Archos 7 Internet Media Tablet (160GB) for $209:

Found via archoslounge.net.

Posted in Firmwares, Hacking, News | View Comments

Firmware 1.4.09 released

Posted by Charbax on 27th November 2009

You can download it from here: http://update.archos.com/7/archos5/archos5_r1.4.09/firmware_archos5.aos

You can discuss it in the forum here: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27921

From the Firmware changelog:

Archos 5 Internet Tablet

Firmware changes

Version 1.4.08 – November 26th, 2009

Video: improve H264-HD playback
Video: improve audio-video synchronisation for certain MKV files
Video: added support for TS files from Freebox
Video: fix seeking for MOV/MP4/M4V files generated by Handbrake
Video: improve MKV subtitle support
Video: allow switching between TXT and DVD subs in MKV files
Video: allow to chose between internal and external subtitles for the same video file
Video: add support for VORBIS in MKV
Video: don’t skip audio due to non-supported audio track in case there is another one supported in the file
Web Radio: fix favorites being shared between several users
TV out: fix freeze occurring sometimes when removing the device from DVR Station while Video Recorder is running
TV out: display is now switched back to LCD in case of a crash of Android
TV Snap-on: after exiting the TV application it was impossible to use Archos multmedia applications
Home Screen: some third party widgets took more cells than expected (Widgets must be removed and added again)
Home Screen: Search, Music and Picture Frame widget frames were not well displayed on analog TV
Contacts: fix application crash on long click on contact or on emails addresses
Contacts: In case no third-party application is associated with the “address” field, open google maps using the web browser
Accelerometer: Some third-party applications were not working properly (Accelerometer must be calibrated again, see Device Settings > Sound & display)
System: better accessory detection
System: improve display speed in Archos Multimedia applications
System: fix multimedia center unavailable when setting Archos Multimedia Library manual update
System: fix some issues occurring after opening a Multimedia application while the Archos multimedia update was on-going in background
System: now display a warning message when USB and TV Snap-on are connected at same time
System: don’t keep device awake forever when a firmware update is detected while user is away.
System: ADB USB identifier was incorrect
System: device was consuming too much power from USB in ADB and USBnet modes

Version 1.4.09 – November 27th, 2009

Fix Archos Media Center applications sometimes quit unexpectedly in portrait mode

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Archos works with the ARM Solution Center for Android

Posted by Charbax on 22nd November 2009

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

Posted in News, Rumors | View Comments

Google Maps works on Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android

Posted by Charbax on 22nd November 2009

With the latest firmware 1.3.07, the official Google Android application Google Maps is now working very smoothly and nicely. This could be a clue towards the full Google Experience with Gmail, Listen, Contacts, Google Earth, Google Talk, Google Voice (with Gizmo VOIP) and even Youtube adapted to take advantage of Archos specific superior Android Tablet hardware. And most importantly of course, full Google Marketplace support so we can more easily get access to all 10 thousand Android applications, filtered for full hardware compatibility.

Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Google Maps

Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android and Google Maps Walking Directions

Google Street View works as well:

Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android and Google Streetview

Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android and Google Street View

To have a perfect Google Maps with Navigation experience on Archos, since we don’t all have our 3G Bluetooth tethering for wireless data access working all the time, it would be really great to have some ways to download into cache storage the maps for a whole city in advance and thus have access to offline version of Google Maps with Navigation. That is something we can expect to be available with Android 2.0 and the Google Maps with Navigation software that has been demoed to have offline maps caching features available to it. Pre-loading basic maps would probably not require much more than a few tens of megabytes per city, while high resolution satellite imagery could require hundreds of megabytes per city, and 3D satellite imagery could require even more.

Source for this info and you can download Google Maps and Google Street View apk files at: http://www.archoslounge.net/Google-Maps-enfin-sur-l-Archos-5IT,9176.html

You can discuss Google Maps on Archos 5 IT in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?p=180172#p180172

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New Firmware 1.3.07 released

Posted by Charbax on 17th November 2009

Archos has released a new major firmware update for the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android, available at http://www.archos.com/support/support_tech/updates.html

See the changelog:

Firmware changes

Version 1.3.07 – November 17th, 2009

Multimedia Libraries: allow to disable Archos and/or Android libraries automatic updates after USB disconnection (Settings > Device Storage > Multimedia libraries)
Multimedia Libraries: allow to limit Android library indexing to Music/Video/Photos instead of the whole storage
New ThinkFree Mobile 1.1: word finder, charts rendering, zip extraction, larger document handling, etc.
Mail: allow to send various file types (pdf, ppt, doc, xls, zip, apk, etc.) from ThinkFree Mobile
Video: thumbnails were not created for HD videos
Video: improve MP4 files support
Video: improve codec support for MKV files
Video: improve VOB subtitles support and display
Video: sometimes HD videos could not be read, had to reboot to fix the issue
Video: some videos were playing back with a wrong resolution
Video/Music: some MP3 and MPG streams did not play
Video/Music: improve error reporting for unsupported audio/video formats
Music: do not stop FM Transmission when going back to the Music Browser to change track
Photo: zooming of images with a 180 degrees rotation was not correct
Thumbnails: fix some cases of corruption of thumbnails image
Web Browser: fix YouTube fullscreen playback
Web Browser: allow to zoom-in/out with Page-down/up on the Remote Control
Media Club: back button now takes server redirections into account
Network Browser: The current folder name was lost when returning to Network Browser at player exit
Network Browser: Added an animated hourglass while searching for the first UPNP server
GUI: add localized keyboards for Russian, Bulgarian and Greek in Android
GUI: improve Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish translations
TV: touchpad mode didn’t allow to reach the whole screen area in 720p mode
TV: HDMI audio output was proposed when video output was analog
System: lower power consumption in suspend mode
System: display was frozen when inserting an SDcard after Arclibrary update
System: prevent Bluetooth (ACRVP) and IR Remote Control key press to wake-up the screen
System: prevent USB mode to be changed during USB connection
System: add localized firmware update messages

You can discuss this firmware update in the forum at http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27647

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Leather Case by Sensory Candy review

Posted by Charbax on 16th November 2009

You can buy this at http://sensorycandy.com/archos5androidtablet.html with the 15% discount code: archosfansA5A

It’s probably the best value leather case for the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android at the moment. It has all the openings one would want (though Mini/Battery/HDMI Docks won’t fit), it feels good and looks good.

You can discuss this leather case in the forum at http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27604

Posted in Exclusives, Reviews, Videos | View Comments

Archos CEO: “Marketplace within weeks”

Posted by Charbax on 11th November 2009

Wow, this is cool. JBMM.fr and ArchosLounge.net have made a really cool interview with Archos CEO Henri Crohas which they are publishing as 7 episodes with a new episode published each day. Today’s episode has truly fascinating infos on our upcoming Google Marketplace firmware upgrade, Archos relations with Google, on upcoming cheaper Archos Android products, on the feasibility of Archos Smartbooks, Ubuntu netbooks and more.

Consider, this interview was made on October 22nd at the Archos headquarters in Paris by JBMM.fr and ArchosLounge.net, since then they took the time to transcribe the audio recordings of the interview, so the “within weeks” of the Google Marketplace and Google Apps availability might mean “within days” at this point.

As per simple logic, Google probably skipped providing support for 800×480 and 1280×720 screens on Android 1.5 Cupcake version of the OS which is the one Archos is currently using. Though with the Android 1.6 and 2.0 updates, which Archos has confirmed to be working on, Google officially provides support for Archos 800×480 medium density touch screen resolution, so logically, Google will then be able to provide Archos with a full access to a customized version of Google Android Marketplace and the Google Android Apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Google Listen, Google Contacts, Google Latitude and Google Maps Navigation.

Archos CEO Henri Crohas also announced that Archos is soon to release a broader ranger of Android products to democratize the use of Android, starting this January or February with different screen sizes, at 100-200 dollar in 2010 and in 2011 below 100 dollars!

What is important in Android, is that the opening of the platform is open to all applications. Today, we don’t yet have the Marketplace, but we nevertheless hope to have it and, anyway, we will continue to develop our AppsLib because all Android products will not necessarily have the Marketplace. Now we will go further than today’s market positioning, where we are now competing with the iPod Touch in the same price range (roughly between 250 and 350 euros).

Why is this a big revolution? I think we can make the Android products at $100 to $200 in 2010. In January / February, we will introduce new products that are not 5 inches, but will be differentiated products and sold at less than 200 euros. And I think in 2011 we get to reach below the 100 euros price with such products. This means Android will invade an entire class of new markets such as photo frames, PMPs with larger screens, even clock radios … Android will therefore enable us to deploy a much broader range.

You can find a collarobative effort in correcting the Google Translation of this interview at: http://wiki.archosfans.com/index.php?title=Better_Translation_of_Archos_CEO_interview_Episode_3_of_JBMM.fr_and_ArchosLounge.net

You can discuss this interview at http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27462

Original interview Episode 3 in French: http://www.jbmm.fr/2009/11/11/episode-3-l%e2%80%99archos-5it-rupture-ou-simple-transition/

Translated to English: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http://www.jbmm.fr/2009/11/11/episode-3-l%25E2%2580%2599archos-5it-rupture-ou-simple-transition/

Posted in Interviews, Rumors | View Comments

Unboxing and first impressions on Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android by jkkmobile.com

Posted by Charbax on 8th November 2009

jkk got his Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android (32GB) in last week and he posted nearly 40 minutes of unboxing and first impressions videos. jkk is a world famous expert video-blogger in MIDs, UMPCs, Netbooks, Nokias and other Finnish things:

jkk posted this unboxing video at http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2009/10/unboxing-archos-5-internet-tablet.html with also some pictures comparing it to other products.

jkk posted that first impressions video at http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2009/10/archos-5-internet-tablet-first.html

You can discuss these two videos in http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27363

Posted in Reviews, Videos | View Comments

Appslib vs andappstore

Posted by Charbax on 6th November 2009

Archos has released an official response to which it calls unfounded and slanderous allegations by (in my opinion) long-time forum troll “alsutton” (constant Archos basher in the forums since September), who on the forum alleged that Archos had redistributed Funky Android’s confidential informations regarding the workings of the Applications Library application AppsLib.com versus the andappstore.com.

Information about Appslib
ARCHOS is a French corporation founded in 1988. Since then, ARCHOS has constantly been on the
cutting edge of technology, introducing this year ARCHOS’ new Internet Tablet. The ARCHOS 5
Internet Tablet is based on the Android platform and is helping the Android developer community to
create improved applications by exploiting the features found only in the ARCHOS device.
ARCHOS is a fairly small company considering the competition, but it has managed to compete and
play an important role in its sector by securing and working with a large network of partners around the
globe and maintaining high quality relationships with each of them.
During the conception and pre-production phases of the ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet, various groups
within ARCHOS contacted several potential partners for various projects. One project was the creation
of ARCHOS’ own application store, called Appslib. Funky Android was contacted as one of the
potential non-exclusive partners on this project.
ARCHOS and Funky Android signed a Non-Disclosure-Agreement (NDA), thus enabling both parties
to safely exchange documentations. Discussions started in June 2009. Funky Android and ARCHOS
at that point engaged in discussions to come up with an Android application based on the ARCHOS
back-end database structure. Despite ARCHOS’ best efforts, discussions stalled in August 2009 at
which point Archos and Funky Android had not come to an agreement. Discussions were formally
stopped on September 2, 2009. In the meantime, negotiations were initiated with an extremely
adaptable and productive company that started to work on ARCHOS’ request for proposal based on
the ARCHOS database model. A contract was ultimately signed with this company.

On September 15, ARCHOS publicly released its Appslib application. Since this time, ARCHOS has
been the target of false allegations by Funky Android claiming NDA breach and Intellectual Property
“theft” of an architectural model. ARCHOS created the conceptual design of both the client and the
database. The AppsLib is an extremely market-standard way of presenting applications and parsing a
database. Such a model is widely used in the industry.

Funky Android claims that such a structure is covered by their intellectual property rights, while failing
to prove such a claim. Indeed, the Appslib architecture is using public file formats, an industry
standard platform and a widely shared database structure. None of this is protected under any
Intellectual Property rights that ARCHOS is aware of.

Furthermore, there has been no breach of the NDA. Everything that was created by and for ARCHOS
during the negotiations was based on ARCHOS’ database structure and ARCHOS’ created
parameters. ARCHOS has always been committed to keeping its NDA undertakings and works in
good faith to maintain them.

The unfounded and slanderous allegations by Funky Android not only affect ARCHOS’ reputation, but
they are also harmful to ARCHOS’ partners and to the applications development community.
ARCHOS has thus been forced to seek legal advice and has instructed its legal counsel to pursue, if
necessary, all forms of recourse before the French courts in order to protect its interests, reputation
and image, and consequently those of its partners.

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