We have had to wait a month and a half since the release for the full Google Experience to start being available and working on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android. Google had not certified the Archos on Android 1.5 for a WVGA 800x480 Google Experience, so the hope is that this certification will be signed by Google when Archos updates the installed Android version to 2.0 at some point in the next weeks.
For now, someone in the forum has posted instructions for how to install the full Google Experience on the Archos using the ADB developer debugging tools: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27934, and JKK has posted a tutorial for how to install it on Windows: http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2009/11/archos-5-it-now-with-android-market-and.html
Archos is the first provider of a Youtube HD set-top-box solution by the Archos 5 Internet Tablet simply being the worlds first Android product supporting the playback of H264 High Profile at 1280x720 and 2mbit/s that is the format, resolution and bitrate that Youtube encodes all their HD videos in. More and more videos are uploaded to Youtube in HD quality (including this video that I embed in this post) and all those videos playback awesomely on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet since the 1.2.11 firmware version by just clicking on the embedded videos play button or browsing through all the Youtube videos at http://m.youtube.com
As Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said at the Royal Television Society Convention, the coming of new cheap set-top-box products that can play Internet video will be the biggest enabler of the IPTV revolution towards Video-On-Demand, with Youtube already delivering more than 1 Billion views per day, with cheap set-top-boxes with direct Youtube support on people's HDTVs, Youtube would reach even many more views per day and there will be a greater demand for higher quality Youtube videos at up to HD quality. Archos delivers this solution with the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, the first cheap embedded support for Youtube HD on a HDTV.
Waiting for Flash 10.1 support in Android is not even required for Youtube HD, HQ and Normal qualities to work. Flash 10.1 support will come on Archos as soon as Adobe releases Flash 10.1 for Android.
If Archos can support full MKV 720p H264 high profile support with full bitrates in optimized firmware updates, then the Archos 5 Internet Tablet starting at $249 MSRP for the 8GB version is effectively about to become a pocket-sized replacement for Blu-ray. With better features than Blu-ray since Youtube HD support basically is like HD quality video-on-demand.
A few things that I think Archos, Google and third party Android software developers should do to provide a perfect Youtube HD experience:
- Someone should create a YoutubeHD.apk application that should launch Youtube HD/HQ/Normal quality videos automatically in playlists and based on the Youtube user's Youtube account to list recommendations, subscriptions, add searches and tags, display overlay ratings and comments, even provide live overlay chat for videos and for Youtube channels. It could be called Google Watch, be the same as Google Listen, but for Video. Even provide clever podcatching storage and caching of videos and not only go onto Youtube but use any other video sources of the web.
- Archos should provide the user with a choice to limit the quality to HQ or Normal if the user does not want to stream HD quality for some reason, for example perhaps the bandwidth that is available is not enough for that user to have a smooth Youtube HD experience.
- http://m.youtube.com needs to be improved, I want to sort searches by date for example.
- Archos should provide overlay text input facility such as commenting and chatting around the videos and channels. The social features around videos can be really powerful to increase the value proposition of IPTV set-top-box video-on-demand.
- Archos should release a $150 screen-less set-top-box with Android, with only 8GB built-in storage, but possibility to connect any EXT3 formatted USB hard drive or a local NAS to expand storage for DVR functions and for Video downloads also using BitTorrent and RSS. What is cool that you can see in this video of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, is that this is a proof that Archos certainly has the hardware and software know-how to make this happen. Once the easy-to-use Youtube HD set-top-box arrives with BitTorrent, RSS and USB hard drives storage support, for below $100 to $150, I think Video-on-demand and the real IPTV revolution will finally really happen.
You can discuss this video here http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27221
Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android provides the worlds first 800x480 4.8" Android experience on an ARM Cortex A8 processor. It loads websites super fast and smooth. It plays all video codecs from DivX, WMV, Mpeg2 and H264 even MKV video files at up to 1280x720 resolution. There are thousands of compatible Android applications (now or later..) and more to test and to report on every day in the http://forum.archosfans.com as developers are optimizing their applications for Archos 800x480 resolution screen.
Why it's the best: (better than ipod touch, zune HD and other Android smartphones)
- The screen is 2x larger at 4.8" vs. 3.5"
- The screen resolution is 2.5x higher at 800x480 vs. 480x320
- The processor is 3-4 times faster with ARM Cortex A8 vs. ARM11 (the new ipod touch released last month does have ARM Cortex A8 as well though)
- It plays back every video codecs, including DivX, XviD, WMV, Mpeg2, VOB, H264, MP4, MOV, MKV up to 1280x720 and audio codecs Mp3, Flac, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AC3 and WMA. Even RMVB might be supported (I have not tested RMVB yet)
- This device can stream Youtube HD and any other HD video format directly from the web over WiFi-N. It's basically also a 180gr $200 (street price for 8GB version) full Blu-ray replacement. On the 500GB version (soon $400 street price), you can basically walk around with 120 Blu-ray quality movies in your pocket to connect and play on any HDTV using the HDMI Mini Dock.
- Archos comes with up to 500GB built-in storage for the hard drive based models.
- MicroSD card slot on the Flash based models.
- HDMI output through the HDMI Mini Dock (price not known yet) or the DVR Station ($130 or lower)
- USB and Bluetooth keyboards and mice are supported
- WiFi-N provides more bandwidth and broader coverage for connecting to WiFi Internet
- 3G Bluetooth tethering through a mobile phone for Internet when you are outside of reach of WiFi hotspots
- Video-recording and scheduling with electronic program guide like a Tivo (with the optional DVR Station $130 or below)
- Real GPS built-in for Archos provided Android GPS application or for any other Android based GPS and location based applications
- FM receiver and transmitter built-in
- Samba and UPNP file sharing for streaming of HD movies and TV shows on your local network (I have not tested this feature yet, I am waiting for my Fonera 2.0n to arrive hopefully next week)
- 1280x720 Android Desktop experience when outputting the screen to a HDTV using HDMI. This is the worlds first 1280x720 Android experience. Apps could be optimized for this in the coming months, for example I am expecting to see the full high resolution compatible and optimized Google Chrome available for ARM Cortex A8 based Android devices in the coming few months.
- All that, and it still fits in a pocket, it does not cost more than the ipod touch or zune HD, it is much cheaper than the currently available HTC and Samsung Android phones (at least when bought unlocked) and it is only 1.5x heavier than the ipod touch.
The Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android is, I think, the most significant alternative to Apple's and Microsoft's portable multimedia consumer electronics products on the market for real tech geeks. In my opinion, Archos already has released the industry's best ipod touch and zune HD killer with what we have now. Even though I do look forward to them improving a few things in firmware updates to come in the next weeks and months.
What Archos can improve in the next firmware updates:
- They should fix the audio-synch issue with H264 720p HD video files such as MKV HD and Youtube HD playback. I am confident Archos can fix this in on of the soon to come firmware updates. Mostly the audio-synch issue I am experiencing is only very slightly noticable and the TV episodes as still very watchable and look fantastic using HDMI output from Archos 5 Internet Tablet to my 42" HDTV.
- They should try to support more than 3500kbit/s MKV high profile h264 720p so that MKV 720p 4GB+ movies will play smoothly and that MKV 720p TV episodes will not sometimes drop some frames (usually for 1-3 seconds) on the high peak bitrate scenes (see my tests of MKV high profile h264 720p playback in this forum thread http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26603)
- Hopefully Archos can add support for the DTS audio codec, which is often used in 4GB+ MKV 720p movies.
- USB Webcams or Headmounted camera for live video broadcasting applications like Ustream and Qik.
- USB 3G Dongles would be really useful even though carrying and connecting the USB 3G dongle to a Mini Dock, HDMI Mini Dock or Battery Dock is not the most compact of setups.
- Archos has promised Android 1.6, Android 2.0 and Flash 10.1 support in updates. It'd be nice to see all these officially add support for all the Google apps such as Gmail client, Google Maps, Google Contacts, Google Listen and the Google Marketplace for apps, considering it should be possible for Google to just filter the apps for Archos's specific screen resolution and also filter out apps that require the Camcorder and the electronic compass, unless Archos does provide a Dock or USB webcam and headmounted camera add-on support that ads support for those features.
- It will be interesting to see if Archos specific hardware advantages will be taken advantage of by third party Android application developers. For example, it will be interesting to see if third party developers will be able to provide some apps that support HD video streaming, peer-to-peer downloading and streaming, video games emulation up to N64 and Dreamcast, advanced 3D games such as Quake3, and many other such really advanced things.
- It is going to be interesting to see also up to what extent Archos, Google and third party developers can take advantage of the 1280x720 output when using the HDMI output to a HDTV. I would like to be able to use my Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android as a full Desktop/Laptop replacement. That is, if the ARM Cortex A8 platform inside of it and with all the hardware acceleration can be powerful enough to provide me with the complete performance that I need for full screen, full keyboard and mouse computing.
If they can quickly improve the firmware with these improvements and added features, I believe the Archos Android Tablet could become the absolute must have product for all geeks.
Discuss this video:
You can discuss this video review in the forum http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26754
In my next videos:
In my next videos that I will post here during the next few days, I plan to show you 3G Bluetooth tethering, Youtube HD playback (which now works in todays new Firmware update 1.2.03), some awesome Android apps that work, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse fun, remote desktop, local and remote file sharing and streaming and many more awesome features.
The next hardware:
For the next Archos Phone range due to be released or shown at CES in January 2010, I wish for Archos to integrate a Pixel Qi 3Qi Capacitative touchscreen (watch my video from Computex http://techvideoblog.com/computex/pixel-qi-screen-demo-live-from-taipei/), a 720p camcorder and an electronic compass together with the 3G HSDPA sim card modem. Archos is getting to be very close to absolute perfection in mobile computing.
Full disclosure: I am the biggest Archos fanboy in the world. I run the worlds biggest Archos fans community here at http://archosfans.com and at http://forum.archosfans.com and have done so for the past 5 years. Archos did send me this new Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android 4 days ago for free and have told me that I could keep it since I also need it to support the thousands of Archos users in my online community.
I broadcast a 3 hour live video coverage on the 11th of June from the Archos event in Paris. Henri Crohas the CEO of Archos's Keynote with guests on stage such as Alain Madelain President of the World Fund on Digital Solidarity for the Archos 9classmate launch, Presidents of Intel France and Microsoft France as well launching the new line of Archos Intel/Microsoft products, you can see here the 3 hour long video that we broadcast live from Paris today filmed using an Archos 10's built-in Webcam using ustream.tv. You can scroll this video forward to 57 minute to see the English speaking live video coverage from the Archos showcase of all the new products, including interviews of Archos representatives, discussions among the Archos bloggers and more:
There is also a second part of this broadcast, where we continue to go up close with the products:
HD hands-on videos are being uploaded right now. If my Hotel's internet upload is fast enough, you will have the videos posted early tomorrow morning. Otherwise I will upload them during the next couple of days.
Archos Android products will be shown later, in September, by the 15th of September 2009, Archos will have the Android event with one or more Android products shown. Sorry, I thought that Archos was going to show the Android products at this event.
Thanks to BenMars for borrowing his Archos 10 laptop to enable us to do this live video streaming from the event today!
Archos had representatives from Intel and Microsoft on stage, so Archos could not use this event to also show their fully in-house developed Archos Android product or line of products. Sadly. We will have to wait a bit more to see more of that. But Archos CEO Henri Crohas started his Keynote speaking about the Android line of products and giving us some details, basically saying that it's going to be awesome.
Archos explained a bit of how it is working now in terms of R&D and development work. Archos still has their core engineering team working on the Android device/devices to be unveiled on or before September the 15th at another event. All the while, Archos is able to release Intel and Microsoft based products and position themselves very well on the market, in partnership with engineers and manufacturers in China, in partnership with Intel and Microsoft as well.
You can hear more from the Archos CEO Henri Crohas about Android in the keynote that we broadcast live using ustream.tv at around the 15-25th minute: http://archosfans.com/2009/06/11/archos-event-video-recorded/
Here I filmed a highlight of Henri Crohas's talk about Android in upcoming Archos device/devices:
CrOvax and Ulrich from http://frandroid.com are Android fans at the Archos event in Paris, reporting about their reaction to the fact that Archos is not zet showing the Android device/devices publicly but only a bit talking about them at this point, and annoncing only officially about the Archos Android September event that will be coming up.
Review of the Archos 5 TV Snap-On accessory that let's you watch and record DVB-T (freeview) signals city-wide and country-wide for most European countries which already have good DVB-T coverage. It comes with a dual diversity antenna system that allows you to get the best reception for a mobile DVB-T receiver, it picks in real-time the best available signal while you walk around or move your device around when at the football match, at work, in school, on the bus, on the train, anywhere especially in densely populated areas which have good DVB-T coverage.
You can discuss this video at http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=23754