I have been secretly testing this for the last week (together with cajl of http://jbmm.fr and Thocan of http://archoslounge.net), it works pretty much awesome. Few optimizations and few bug fixes still to be done before Archos can release this cool firmware update.
Some users over at the German android-hilfe.de forums are reporting that they have been able to walk down and buy the Archos 101 Internet Tablet at the major German retailer Saturn in Frankfurt Germany. Here are some of the pictures that have been posted:
1. The Display is very good. Its reflecting yes but the Quality is very good. The contrast is good and realy bright.
2. Touch is fantastic. Its a very big difference between resistive and capazitive. Everything instantly reacts and you hit the smallest buttons precizely.
3. The Android is very well fitted to the operating control of the Archos. Everything seams thought-out, the Navigation is very easy to manage.
4. Wlan does work instantly very well. After you enter the SSID, the passwort and IPs the Network was avaible in secounds
5. UPnP (the most important kriteria for me) does work instantly. I opened Media-Player, did select Storage, then external Storage/UPnP and then the Archos did display my Storage and offer Streams (Music, Video and Pictures). One click at my music title and it did play instantly. Very well done. Thats what I have dreamt of!
6. Sound is good! No noise, whatsoever. With headphones realy great.
7. All of the manufactoring is faultless. The body unit is very high quality and stable. It is very lightwight!
8. The Archos Market does work instantly. No Register or anything needed.
The Archos 101 Internet Tablet can be pre-ordered at Amazon Germany for 299€ and it should be available at Amazon US soon for $299. I don’t know exactly how soon the Archos 101 Internet Tablet will be broadly available through all the worldwide resellers, but given these first sales happening with Saturn in Germany, it shouldn’t be long at all before all the worldwide resellers get it in stock, keep an eye on the forum for when it starts to become available: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewforum.php?f=63
* Video: fix some videos hanging during playback or seek
* Video: improve fluidity of HD playback
* Video: improve subtitles detection
* Photo: fix some JPEG decoder crashes
* UPnP: increase timeout to allow server discovery
* Power: long press on power button (5s) initiates shutdown
* Touchpad mode: improved usability on TVout
* Touchscreen: avoid possible loss of touchscreen after boot/calibration/suspend on A70/A101
* Airplane mode: disable Wi-Fi
* USB host: speedup device availability by avoiding file system check at mount
* Plugins: propose installation at USB disconnect and correctly report plugin status in settings
* Internalization: Polish translations
Here’s LordKaT‘s 38 minute unboxing video of the Archos 32 Internet Tablet, he goes through a bunch of the things that can be tested when first unboxing it, turning it on and testing out some of the features.
Steve Jobs is saying that 7 inch Android Tablets can’t be popular. I think they can. This Archos 70 Internet Tablet fits in most Jacket Pockets and thus is the largest screen size that can be carried around without using a bag. Also, this one is half the price/size/weight of the iPad, it comes with HDMI output, full video/audio codecs support, USB host and a built-in Webcam for video-chat all which iPad lacks. This tablet at 300gr and 201x114x10mm may be the lightest and most compact 7″ Android on ARM Cortex A8 45nm tablet yet, but I think with optimizations and designs that use less bezel, the weight and size could further be optimized to make this kind of screen size form factor even more jacket pocketable. Basically, Android tablets will provide choice for consumers, from small pocketable ones to larger ones that may mostly stay at home.
This video was filmed at 4mbit/s 720p mode using the Archos 43 Internet Tablet’s HD camcorder on firmware 1.0.70. It can record in 8mbit/s which might look a bit better than this. I have a theory, I need Archos to confirm. I think the HD cam and the webcam on 32, 43 and 70 are currently with the Android 2.1 “pre-release” OS version encoded and decoded in software not by hardware acceleration. My gues camera quality will improve when the Android 2.2 firmware is ready and should include hardware acceleration for the cameras, including better compression quality, better framerate and better audio sync.
Testing some cool features, Dolphin Browser HD multi-tabs, video-chatting, RDP, Angry Birds and Burning Tires, I just did a 37 minute VOIP call using SIP on Fring and using my $8/month 1GB/month SIM card in my Huawei Mifi and it works pretty much perfectly. For some reason audio in Skype and in Fring video-chat is still buggy, but I am sure Archos will fix this in a firmware update imminently. Also see Part 1 of my video review of this product.