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Thursday, 17 September 2009 04:02

Archos launches Android 'Internet tablet'

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Pioneering portable media company Archos has introduced the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, a handheld device with a touchscreen offering Internet access, video viewing, and music playing. The Tablet is one of the few non-phone devices to run on Google's Android operating system.

The unit comes in two formats. Both are 5.6 inches (143mm) by 3.1 inches (79mm) in size; a flash-based version with 8 to 32 GB of memory is 0.4 inches (10.4mm) thick, while a hard disk-based version with 160 to 500 GB is about twice that. By comparison, the iPod Touch is 4.3 x 2.4 x 0.33 inches (109 x 61 x 8.4mm).

The Tablet sports a 4.8-inch, 800-x-480-pixel screen. (The Touch has a 3.5-inch screen that displays 480 x 320 pixels.)

It runs on a Texas Instruments OMAP (Open Multimedia Application Platform) 3440 processor, based on the ARM Cortex A8. It features 802.11n WiFi as well as Bluetooth and can use the latter to tether to a mobile phone.

For video playback, the Archos claims 720p resolution and supports a wide range of video formats, including H.264 HD and protected WMV files. For audio, the device handles WMA, WAV, AAC, Flac, Ogg Vorbis, and of course MP3 formats. It can also display JPEG, BMP, PNG, and GIF images.

But the company is particularly proud of its Internet functions and Android applications. Besides a browser and an e-mail client, the unit comes with Twidroid for Twitter, eBuddy IM for multiple-service instant messaging, and Moov for searching Google, Facebook, Yelp, Wikipedia, and others.

It also includes ThinkFree Mobile for viewing Microsoft Office documents in 97-2007 formats, as well as PDF. The company promises that an update later this year will permit document creation.

Besides an FM receiver and transmitter, the device can also access Web TV and Radio, as well as the French streaming music service Deezer.

And finally, the unit is also a GPS receiver and can display aerial photos of your location to go with your route.

The Archos 5 starts at US$250 for the 8GB flash model and goes up to $430 for the 500GB hard-disk model.

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