Phil Geldard of Archos shows and talks about the release of the Archos Gamepad on the US market, scheduled to happen in February 2013 at the price of $169 MSRP. Archos has been trying to ramp up mass manufacturing to be able to deliver to supply the huge demand worldwide that there is for this really cool product. I know I’ll be playing all my favorite N64 games on this device http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08ofzaL8750 in the months to come, as well as any really cool new Android games that I may find.
This is the coolest Android tablet for gaming, Archos releases it imminently in Europe for 149€, US availability to be confirmed. Here I’m demonstrating some of the latest advanced Android games called Dead Trigger, Rip Tide and a couple other.
Archos updates the firmware (in the next few days) on their latest high-end $299/299€ Archos 101 XS Tablet to 4.1 Jelly Bean, fully using hardware acceleration, integrating Google’s Project Butter, now with Google Now support, Archos also has upgraded some of the web-based meta-data functionalities in their Video Player application, it automatically detects videos that need meta data, posters and fan arts loaded in so that you can have a more interesting way to browse through your movies and tv shows library. This video also features the $49 Keyboard Coverboard Dock and the new $149/149€ dual-25W stereo Archos Speaker Dock.
The Nintendo games are the best in the world. That is why I’m most excited about playing those on the Archos Gamepad and it’s awesome that most games seem smooth. Although I think the N64 game emulation on Android is still a work in progress. Here I show a bit of Super Mario 64, Wave Race, Wipeout 64, Diddy Kong Racing and also showing that Archos’s button mapping works fine for Angry Birds.
Playing videogames is the top activity that consumers do on tablets. So Archos is releasing this awesome thin, light and very well prices $149 Archos Gamepad. It’s got a 1024×600 capacitive touch screen but more importantly for gaming, it’s got game controller buttons on each side of the screen. This device runs on the Rockchip RK3066 dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with the quad-core Mali-400MP4 GPU. Thus gameplay support is quite decent, especially considering the $149 retail price of this device. Archos software engineers implement a very innovative mapping software layer solution on top of Android, to map the hardware controls to touch-screen input. Thus a large portion of existing touch-screen optimized games are thus very well playable like this. As a transition until all Android games become fully optimized for normal gamepad input. Not only as portable Android gameplayers come with buttons, but for the Android home consoles, HDMI sticks, Set-top-boxes, Google TV and more, all suggesting that Android is about to become by far the biggest video games platform in the world. In this video, I showcase one N64 emulator that I could find on the Google Play Store, though N64 and Dreamcast emulation is still a work in progress, as many more consumers start getting access to these types of Android gaming devices, hopefully it’ll encourage more game developers to improve emulators and new games support on the platform. There isn’t specifically need for game developers to specifically target the RK3066 and this device, since as I understand a lot of the hardware acceleration happens through standards based Open GL ES 2.0, but for sure as more gamers and developers start using these devices, the optimization level of gaming can reach perfection, or at least a very satisfactory and impressive level at that price.
Archos is launching two more sizes for their Generation 10 Android Tablet series, including the $199 Archos 80 XS and the $299 Archos 97 XS, each with the optional $49 Archos Coverboard Keyboard Dock. I’ve been using my Archos 101 XS every day during these past 45 days, replacing my broken $1000 Intel Ultrabook for all of my on-the-go productivity and 10.1″ Tablet usage. It’s much thinner and lighter than an Intel laptop, the thin and light keyboard dock ads productivity to the already very awesome OMAP4470 tablet. The same priced $299 Archos 97 XS runs on the same OMAP4470 and the $199 Archos 80 XS runs on the Rockchip RK3066 processor to achieve thus a Nexus7-like price point with its own awesome thin and light magnetic Keyboard dock.
In this video, I show web browsing speed on this OMAP4470 ARM Powered Laptop/Tablet convertible. This ARM Powered Laptop loads web pages faster than the Ultrabook, both over the same WiFi home network! I load web pages like Engadget.com, Gizmodo.com and TheVerge.com faster on the $400 Archos 101 XS than on the $1000 Toshiba z830 Ultrabook! And the firmware isn’t even Jelly Bean yet! It’ll get the Jelly Bean firmware by the time Archos starts selling this device next month in Europe or the month after that in the USA! Everyone knows Jelly Bean and Linaro speeds up Android even more!
This Archos 101 XS likely provides one of the industry’s fastest performance for productivity on Android, it’s the first OMAP4470 device announced and demonstrated that I know of. Productivity is in Chrome on Android and a few other productivity apps that can be the Office suite (included for free for word/excell/powerpoint stuff) and that can also be Remote Desktop for enterprise professionals who want productivity that way using Teradici and Citrix on Android stuff. I would like Archos to integrate Ubuntu on Android also, I hope they call Canonical to get that included with the Jelly Bean firmware. Thus you’d click on the Ubuntu icon to switch to Ubuntu in a second, do whatever you want in Ubuntu including run any Ubuntu application, and then have the same icon on Ubuntu to switch back to full Android in a second too.
While we’re waiting and looking forward to even faster ARM Cortex-A15 with Mali-T604, that likely doesn’t reach consumer devices until next year though. Right now, the latest and best class of ARM Cortex-A9 processors, with OMAP4470, with 32nm Exynos 4412, with 28nm Qualcomm S4 Pro Quad-core, with HiSilicon K3V2, i.MX6 Quad, we’re getting some excellent memory bandwidth performance on ARM allowing for fast enough full 720p/800p even 1080p web browsing speeds on Tablet, Laptop screens and on any external monitors as a Desktop/Set-top-box with full fast enough performance for productivity!
The time we’ve been waiting for is here! The ARM Powered Laptop is faster than an Intel Atom Netbook! It’s even faster than an Intel Core i5 Ultrabook!!!
While at $299 and an unlimited amount of cash (think: French/EU Francois Hollande national IT investment project) for mass production, I think Archos can single handedly be able to sell more Android Laptops like this one than all the Intel/Microsoft Ultrabooks/Netbooks and new Windows 8 convertibles put together. At $399 introductory Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, Archos can still get in there and sell as many as Archos can afford to manufacture, selling easily at 50% cheaper than the iPad3 with keyboard ($598), at 63% cheaper than the Asus Transformer Prime/Infinity with keyboard ($648), this is the thinnest, lightest 10.1″ ARM Powered Laptop/Tablet convertible yet. And it has features other tablet makers don’t have such as full hardware accelerated video and audio codecs support, MicroSD/HDMI and USB Host, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct, 1080p@60fps/3D@1080p@30fps and multimedia streaming features such as Samba/Upnp and DLNA.
I think it’s great value and I’m looking forward to try to use this as my main 10.1″ tablet/laptop instead of my ultrabook for the next few weeks and months. Let me know in the comments what specific features you’d like me to test on this device in my next video of it.