Archos 101 XS review, Ultrabook-killing machine

Posted by – August 25, 2012

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.

  • CyberGusa

    “OK, no point responding in detail when you cannot do simple math, ie aggregating 10-15% growth over 4 years to get 60% growth for a 4-year period”

    Sorry but that’s just spinning the facts, and again all you’re doing is ignoring all the factors that lead to those figures and assuming it’s all the same from then to now when I’ve pointed to multiple things that makes the markets different and why they don’t directly correlate. So no, you’re the one trying to oversimplify and getting the math wrong!

    “Apple just announced that their new A6 ARM CPU in the iPhone 5 actually uses less power than the previous one.”

    Yes, because it’s being based on the newer Cortex A15 but that architecture isn’t going to be replaced for another 2 years!

    ” You keep making these silly claims and then try to distract from how
    wrong you are by changing the subject to a whole bunch of completely
    unrelated issues, that you bring up for no reason, like whether it
    matters whether it’s a PC company that’s now successful in mobile or
    not.”

    Wrong, those are relevant for actual comparison. You’re trying to tie the different markets together for a direct correlation of cause and effect, but everything I’ve stated clearly points out that’s absolutely wrong!

    Obviously, you must be in denial because only in the last year has there even started to be any real overlap between the mobile and PC markets. Previously ARM didn’t have the performance needed to run a desktop OS and even now still needs a successful desktop OS to really penetrate into the PC market.

    “I asked you twice to put up or shut up by predicting how well Windows 8
    would do and both times you completely ignored my request”

    Windows 8 won’t be a failure but it’s uncertain if it will help or hurt ARM because RT is not the same as full Windows 8. This isn’t something that can be accurately predicted until people actually try the device and see if the limitations are too much or not!

    What we’ve discussed is how the markets have actually evolved up to now and everything I’ve stated has been relevant whether you want to admit it or not!

  • Joakim

    Yet more hand-waving with irrelevant asides and just wrong details: the new A6 CPU is not based on ARM Cortex A15, it’s a new Apple design that likely has more in common with Cortex A9 than A15. Of course, your claim has nothing to do with with my original claim, for which the A6 was provided as evidence, that new ARM cores get more powerful and more energy-efficient. And it’s silly to say that mobile only started to really “overlap” the PC market in the last year. Many people were only using their PCs for email and web browsing, so for them a smartphone or tablet have been much better for years, they do what their PC did and are mobile! Nobody cares about “penetrating” the desktop PC market, as I said, that market is dying and it’s likely the desktop won’t be around soon.

    As one of my first links showed, there were 5 times as many smartphones and tablets sold last year as desktops, the desktop is about to be obsoleted. I also noted that the home server market is about to take off one of these days and if Intel were smart they would try to regroup there, but considering they have done nothing to help that market take off yet, they appear too dumb to do so. Not only that, Microsoft and Intel are so scared of Android that Intel is not supporting linux on their new Clover Trail chip, likely at Microsoft’s request, that tells you all you need to know about Wintel right there.

  • CyberGusa

    No hand-waving at all, things like market momentum and other changing economic factors are just facts of how the market works.

    You’re so called 60% was hand-waving. Ignoring that most of it didn’t happen until 2 years after the start of the recovery, which is indicative of people finally becoming confident enough to shop for what they wanted instead of saving for just what they needed.

    Really, you talk as someone who knows practically nothing on how the market works and are trying to draw conclusions from things that aren’t even related and then have the nerve to try to dismiss the actual factors involved because they don’t mess with your already decided conclusions.

    You can believe that the desktop is obsolete, but in truth it’s only the old version of it that is and the reality is the desktop will evolve like any other technology we use over time. It’ll become more invisible but it’s not really going away.

    While laptops as well are going to go through a change but it remains that to do actual work that mobile devices are not enough. Mobile still means compromise and as long as it does it will never replace other product categories.

    You’re understanding of technology is also apparently flawed if you think Clover Trail’s lack of Linux support has much to do with MS. Fact is GNU/Linux isn’t optimized for mobile usage like Android and now Windows 8.

    There’s also over 600 distros of linux, but the main problem is 32nm ATOMs are presently using Imagination PowerVR GPU’s, which have never really supported Linux and barely support their clients/licensees that well either.

    Intel for example only managed to release a barely fully functional 32bit Windows 7 drivers in time for the Cedar Trail release earlier this year. But since then Intel has had to focus on getting the Windows 8 drivers ready in time for launch and so there have been no more Windows 7 driver updates for the PowerVR based GMAs!

    So it really isn’t a conspiracy why Intel isn’t supporting general Linux with Cedar Trail. But they will run Android, as they already do with Medfield, and Windows 8.

  • Joakim

    A couple of last corrections to your characteristic mistakes: Android uses the linux kernel, so if Clover Trail won’t run linux, it won’t run Android. Not sure why you mention Intel not supporting linux on Cedar Trail at the end, presumably you meant Clover Trail there. Frankly, Intel’s move is pointless, as the power state support they use as their weak excuse will be quickly reverse-engineered by the linux folks and Android will run on Clover Trail. Presumably they’re only doing it to scare off OEMs like Acer or Asus from trying any dual-boot setup, because then they will be on their own and Intel will not provide any “support” for Android on Clover Trail. It has nothing to do with your example of PowerVR GPUs, which btw almost all run on linux since Android uses the linux kernel and all of those GPUs run with Android, or with not having time: it’s clearly just a political move, and since it doesn’t really benefit Intel, the clear implication is that Microsoft demanded it, because they’re scared of Android.

  • Joakim

    It looks like Intel has seen the blowback from their decision and are now relenting, they claim they will provide support for linux on Clover Trail later on, and that they have another x86 chip platform aimed at linux/Android that will come out later. Sounds like a lot of PR aimed at quieting criticism of whether x86 is really an open platform anymore when they pull moves like this. Frankly, the very fact that Microsoft would pull a move like this- it has to be them, this exclusion does not help Intel at all- speaks to how desperate they are to avoid straight up comparison to Android on the same hardware, which is pretty damning of how confident they are in Windows 8.

  • CyberGusa

    Sorry but Clover Trail is based on Medfield, which already runs Android. But sharing a Kernel does not make Android the same as desktop Linux distros. For one thing Android isn’t a GNU/Linux distro, the only thing they share is the kernel!

    Second, Google isn’t limited to Open Source like most Linux Distros. They are perfectly fine with having non-Open Source modifications made to Android and are also fully willing to deal with closed driver support.

    Third, it’s “Imagination” providing the driver support for the PowerVR based GMA’s. So blaming Intel ignores who they’re stuck working with right now.

    Really, do you see desktop Linux on a lot of ARM devices? No you don’t and there are reasons for that ranging from lack of Open Source support and hardware fragmentation to the use of Closed drivers from companies that don’t support Linux in general.

    Many Linux distros are maintained and developed by advocates of Open Source, while of the over 600 different distros only a handful even have the resources to make deals with closed driver hardware makers and there’s no guarantee drivers made for one distro will work for them all!

    Really, it takes more than a Kernel to run a OS!

  • Vincent Randal

    What I saw was a tablet with a keyboard. No real software for getting any real work done. Let us know when there’s an Android device that does the all the work a real notebook can do – running Ubuntu VM’s compiling Android OS from AOSP source. This Archos is a toy.

  • David Vincent

    it was an impromptu test, so chill.