Tag Archive | "archos 7 home tablet"

Openness and Stability — the Self-Administered Mobile Ecosystem

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I love Android. Actually, on any given day of the week, I am probably in love with various mobile Operating Systems. Every once in a while, I even do a desperate Google-Bing deep-dive in an attempt to find a viable WindowsCE device. On those different days, I am likely to be most in love with the mobile OS that is aggravating me the least. Due to this dynamic, it gets a little unfair for the most popular OS in my current kits, because it gets more chances to irritate me due to the increased exposure.

Android comes with a decent set of cons for every pro that it carries. I love the suppleness of the software design, which allows developers to bend it to their will and deploy many different flavors of operability. The Android Market features many different riffs on common themes for apps, which allows you to find one that is tailored to your particular tastes. I think this effect is less prevalent in the Apple App Store, where I feel like once one developer figures out the hook that gets everyone on-board with their app, then we just see derivations of that common design. As a consequence, I run significantly fewer apps on my iOS devices than I do on my Android devices.

However, Android could be perceived as suffering from more instability due to the very openness that makes it so powerful and attractive. Instability in core apps that any Android user would be dependent upon has occurred. Add the multiple sources of apps that so many of us access, vice the one-stop source that the vast majority of iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Blackberry OS users go to, and the risk of instability increases. Users and the media go on-and-on about how Flash gives Android an advantage over iOS, yet it is one of the first things I disable on any desktop OS or mobile device. Besides the security vulnerabilities, I absolutely despise the performance hit that occurs whenever I go to a site that automatically  runs a heavy flash video that I have zero interest in seeing.

But then… maybe I am not the best Android user, because I am arguably a horrible system administrator. If things start to go bad, I do not have a lot of time to troubleshoot. My regular job, writing for the various tech sites, the dog, grad school…when something does not work, I am likely to just punt.

I have had to reset my Motorola Xoom to its factory defaults and start over for the first time this week, after about 3 months of use. Unfortunately, this is not the first Android device I have felt compelled to take this approach with. I have been using Android extensively for about 15 months. I have gone through about 7 devices so far. With each, there always seems to come the point where I install the one app too many. Or some setting that I configure injects a level of instability that just never recovers to an acceptable state, despite power cycling and soft resets. This happened numerous times on my Motorola Droid. I have felt compelled to wipe my Dell Streak 7 twice. I will admit that the original Archos 7 Home Tablet was a questionable product and perhaps I should not count its instability in my Android reset totals. Still, I had to perform a do-over several times in the brief time that I ran that device.

You may have been following my series on using the Acer Iconia A500 for business purposes. One thing that I am doing vastly different in that use-case is that I have installed a very specific set of apps, and I do not intend to add anymore. I also do not run any widgets on my homescreens, other than the Calendar Widget. It is vitaly important that I retain a robust level of stability on that device. When my business device goes down, I am severely hamstrung. That need for stability is in fact one of the reasons I went with a new Android device for this go-round, rather than try and use one that I was already running. Which brings me to why I cannot solely blame Android for my problems.

The truth is, I know what I need to do to stop some of this instability. I know that I need to stop deploying widgets across every homescreen as soon as I set up a device (see Ben’s article from last year on his feelings on widget-oriented OS’). I know that I need to establish a set of baseline apps, install them, run that configuration for a few weeks, and then add apps a few at a time. But I cannot help myself. On Android, I exhibit the same app junkie behavior that I chastise so many iOS users for. In that vein, I am a digital hypocrite. And for that reason, I sometimes wind up paying the price in running my little Android farm.

The good news is that a wipe and reset of an Android device is not has destructive as, say, doing the same on a Windows desktop system. In fact, in certain ways it is even fun. And backing up and syncing your apps to your Google ID makes restoring any Android device a snap. So, while self-administering devices that have a skosh less stability than some others incurs an additional burden, it is not yet at the level that I am considering reducing my Android entrenchment. Maybe one day; but not today.

How about everyone else out there? Do you find the need to do a total restore on your devices to reinvigorate them, or have you been happy from day one?

Today Only: Archos 7 Home Tablet (refurbished) for $79.99

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News flash! Woot.com is throwing out the Archos 7 tablet out for an amazing $79.99.

Ok, the truth is that you’re not buying the best of breed tablet – this is a refurbished 7 inch (800×480 resolution) WiFi enabled tablet that comes with an old Android 1.6  operating system . The screen is resistive meaning that the touch screen is not going to be responsive to finger action so you will end up pecking with your fingertips instead.

It also runs an old 600Mhz Rockchip processor which is very slow when compared with the current tablets running Tegra2 1Ghz but if using the Archos mostly for audio, video,  eBook reading (ie, not a lot of finger to screen interaction), and basic web browsing  sans Adobe Flash, then this device will suit you.

Also note that also doesn’t give you the fancy accelerometer (meaning no auto-rotation of the screen), in-built GPS, Bluetooth connectivity or any video output capabilities that most of us take for granted on the most expensive Android tablets these days.

The Archos 7 does comes with some good features though – it has a mini USB2.0 interface which allows the tablet to be presented as a mass storage device to the PC for convenient file transfer and also has a kickstand which allows it to be propped up for easy screen viewing. Video playback is around 7 hours.

It comes with 8GB storage and give you the option of expanding more memory via the micro SDHC slot.

I reckon this is a great economical entry tablet for those of you that are looking to dip your feet into the Android tablet waters or looking for a good mobile multimedia entertainment companion.

As usual, remember that Woot.com is a deal a day, so if you’re interested, best to hurry down to their website today before the deal is gone, or before they sell out of stock!

Dell, Archos, BT, Sharp, Smart Devices and Huawei in Internet Device News-Rush!

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Not one, not two and not even three items of internet device news to update you on today. I’ve got no less than five news items here!

Lets start with Dell who’s leader, Mr. Dell, has provided an update on the Mini 5. According to reports, he’s let it be know that the Dell Mini 5 is coming to Telefonica O2 in June and to AT&T in the summer. The source article from EWeek is littered with incorrect information but the important info is that it is very close. Telefonica O2 operate in Spain (where they are launching the Android-powered Compaq Airlife 100 and have a big presence in Germany and UK amongst other countries where they have proven to be quite the progressive carrier in terms of advanced internet devices. Low data prices and multi-SIM options should really help the Dell Mini 5 to get off the ground. I’m expecting a 500 Euro SIM-free price but as yet, we have no real pricing indication.

While the Dell looks to provide the complete Google and voice experience, that’s not the case with the Archos 7 Home Tablet that has just been reviewed by Engadget’s Joanna Stern. At under 200 Euro it’s not quite targeted at the same usage model too. I’m encouraged to hear Joanna talk about a useful form factor but it seems to have been wasted somewhat because there’s no auto, or even manual rotation into portrait mode. Battery life looks good but as we’d expect with an ARM9-powered device, performance is not stunning. Here’s an educated guess – you’ll be waiting three times as long for a web page to load compared to the iPad. Casual mobile web browsing, Google Reader and eBooks, video payback, photo viewing, podcast-catching and maybe even a little bit of casual gaming will be possible though and if you can add a portable keyboard, it would make a perfect emergency or travel device. Engadget Review

Lets turn to a device that might be a little more difficult to get hold of now. It’s the very interesting Sharp IS01 clamshell-style, 5 inch Android device. Like the Archos 7 above, it doesn’t have the Google Marketplace so Sharp are trying to seed some applications through their own SDK and a preview version of the device. The final version of the IS01 was due later in the year.

Pocketables have news today that not only is the SDK version ready but the final product will ship much sooner than expected. As soon as next month. While the device is targeted at the Japanese KDDI network, it is possible that some unlocked versions get through as imports and if that happens it will be great to be able to try a high-powered clamshell design using Android.

huawei-smakit-s7-live-13 A device that has completely slipped us by here at Carrypad is something I’m imagining the Archos Gen 8 devices (due summer 2010) will look like. Clearly focused on home media and having a very interesting docking station, 3G and what looks like a capacitive screen, the Huawei Smakit s7 could be competition for the Dell Looking Glass. I’m assuming that Huawei are looking for customers for this though so it’s unlikely that we’ll see it soon but we’ll keep it high on the list as we cruise Computex in June.

BT have announced that they are getting into the home tablet game. The UK-based company broke the news at their strategy day. Apparently the device will be able to take calls, sms’ and will show weather and perform other functions. It will be smaller than the iPad and bigger than an iPhone. To us, it sounds like BT might have lined up to take the Intel Moorestown-powered Open Peek OpenTablet. Watch and wait.

OpenTablet7_593x428

Finally today, I want to highlight that the SmartQ V7, a slightly more powerful version of the Smart Q7 I reviewed,  is about to be launched in Android 2.1 form. Android has been running on the device via firmware updates for a while now but a new Android 2.1 release is due soon. The device, an ARM11-based tablet with a 7 inch resistive touchscreen, should be available in the next few weeks from Eletroworld priced at $230. Expect a similar experience to the Archos 7 Home Tablet although there’s potential for some nice hacks from the busy Smart Q7 community. We should be getting one for review soon after they become available.

That’s it for now. Hope it gives you something to think about at the weekend. Let us know if you have any thoughts on the above.

Archos 7 Home Tablet. First Reviews

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archos7 My apologies to anyone who got excited when we posted our last article about Archos 7 Home Tablet availability. It turned out to be, as we suspected, a trick by an online retailer. (Mental note: Never link to these chancers again!)

In a U.S. press release last week (PDF), Archos announced that the Tablet will be available mid-May.

The ARCHOS 7 home tablet will be available in June at $199.99 SRP through selected
retailers. Exclusive pre-orders are available at Amazon.com, with product shipping mid May.

Review devices have obviously gone out. Engadget have one for testing and UK newspaper The Independent has its mini review up already.

I’m getting the impression that the Archos 7 Home Tablet is going to be a bubble-wrapped tablet hanging on hooks at point of sale. Android 1.5 (really?) is on board and apparently there’s no plan to upgrade the OS. Built-in USB 2.0 helps for attaching accessories and apparently the stereo speakers are good enough for in-crowd use. Touchscreen quality sounds just like the Archos 5 – resistive.

When it comes to the touch screen browsing don’t expect an iPad-like experience. There is no multi-touch support and the onscreen input often felt slow and unresponsive. There is also no support for Flash.

At 149 Euro for the 2GB model, if it provides a acceptable HQ video experience along with ereading, basic web browsing and audio, it’s good value and could make the perfect online Google Reader device but please don’t expect a swift web experience, rich video experience and anything like an iPad UI experience.

Via Ndevil , TouchMeMobile and Slashgear.

Archos 7 Home Tablet Now Available for Pre-Order from Amazon for $199

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atht The modestly priced Archos 7 Home Tablet [product page] is now available for pre-order from Amazon for $199. It is the 8GB version, but there will purportedly be a 2GB version as well. Archos has stated that the tablet will ship by end of April.

The Archos 7 Home Tablet (let’s call it the Archos 7 HT) is a WiFi only device (no cellular data) as you’ll recall, so the “Home inch designation is rather fitting. Archos says that you’ll be able to play video on the Archos 7 HT for up to 7 hours on the 800×480 display. Audio playback is good for 44 hours, according to Archos. If you are looking to grab yourself a capable digital companion without dropping a huge chunk of change, the Archos 7 HT may be just the right value at $199. Have a look below at a nice hands on of the device from jkkmobile:

[Engadget] via [Pocketables]

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