Web-surfing takes another step towards convergence with portable media players today. The Opera folks announced today that Opera 9 will become freely available to owners of the ARCHOS 5, 5g and 7 line of devices when they arrive. The ARCHOS 5 (shown) is due out this month, while the 5g and 7 models are expected to follow in October and December, respectively. ARCHOS is actually calling these ARM-based devices Internet Media Tablets since they not only play audio and video content locally stored on the hard drives, but because they also offer wireless connectivity through WiFi and 3G, depending on the model. Here’s a quick run-down of the ARCHOS 5:
- 800×480, 4.8-inch touchscreen
- 60-, 120-, or 250-GB hard drive
- Integrated 802.11 b/g
- Audio support: MP3, WMA, protected WMA, with optional software plug-in: AAC, AAC+
- Video support: MPEG-4, WMV, protected WMV, with optional software plug-in: 720p MPEG-4, 720p WMV, MPEG-2, H.264
The ARCHOS 5g adds wireless broadband to the ARCHOS 5, while the ARCHOS 7 boosts the screen size to 7-inches, increases the hard drive options to 160- and 320-GB and adds a small kick-stand to prop the unit up.
Having used Opera on my older Samsung Q1 ultra-mobile PCs with the same 800×480 resolution, I’d expect the web experience to be enjoyable on the ARCHOS line. It’s a shame that they didn’t opt for a 1024×600 display on the 7-inch unit though as that would have reduced some horizontal scrolling. Then again, Opera offers that nice "Fit to Width" option, which is a huge help for smaller-screened devices.