After weeks of speculation and a few leaks here and there, Archos finally released their new Android-based Internet Tablet. The new Archos 5 Internet Tablet comes in a full range of flash-based and hard drive-based configurations, starting at 8GB ($249.99) and going all the way to a 500GB ($439.99) version. In between these models are 16GB, 32GB, and 160GB units. The smaller capacities utilize flash memory, while the larger capacities use a more traditional hard drive, making the device slightly thicker overall.
While the Archos 5 may look very similar to some of their previous models, there are some major differences, such as the use of a customized Android layer that replaces their usual Linux-based operating system. Also new to the Android tablet is built-in GPS, along with Bluetooth, 802.11n, and an FM transmitter and FM receiver. The choice of N-wireless is definitely a surprise, since most similar handhelds use G-wireless, but it is a very welcome feature for video streaming. One other nice feature for those who prefer the flash-based version is the inclusion of a microSD slot, which is SDHC compatible and allows for further expansion.
The 4.8" 800×480 touchscreen is standard Archos fare, as is the optional DVR Station with HDMI output. Also, HD (720p) playback is no problem when hooked up to a large TV with the DVR Station. The Cortex A8-based OMAP3440 running at 800mhz keeps the new Android OS (apps included) humming along smoothly. There is even the ability to use a keyboard and/or mouse with the DVR Station, basically turning this thing into a small HTPC.
One other new feature for the Archos 5 is the ability to tether via a Bluetooth phone, allowing for on-the-go data connectivity. The suggested battery runtime claimed by Archos is 22 hours of music and 7 hours of video, which of course can vary based on what radios are being used in the device. For web browsing, the browser will eventually be compatible with Flash 10, which will really set this device apart from the rest of the pack.
Overall, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet looks very compelling, and here is a great move on the part of Archos. There was no good reason to keep using their custom OS when they could take advantage of the growing Android market and the third-party apps that it will bring to their platform.
Stay tuned for more info on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet in the near future because some of the models can already be preordered from Amazon and somehow I see one of them eventually making its way to Jenn, being the huge Archos fan that she is.