ARCHOS Tablet Debuts With Solid Media Playback, So-So Web Browsing

ARCHOS_5_Internet_Tablet_FrontAs expected, ARCHOS has debuted their Android-powered tablet (PDF) today. Joanna Sterns from Gizmodo was on hand at the product launch and offers up insights. The device appears to excel at multimedia, which is no surprise — the device has deep roots in the portable media player space. The Texas Instruments ARM Cortex A8 appears up to the task for 720p video playback and the device can be docked for external displays.

Android should bring an optimized web experience, but based on Joanna’s impressions, it currently leaves something to be desired. She says the ARCHOS  5 Internet Tablet is opening mobile versions, not full versions, of websites. I’m sure that’s something that can be easily addressed via a setting or a software update, so I wouldn’t call it a deal-breaker just yet. As far as Flash support, that’s lacking too — ARCHOS is waiting for Adobe Flash 10, so the new device uses Flash Lite for now.

Full specifications are now on the ARCHOS site: 4.8-inch, 800×480 display, choices of SSD (8GB to 32GB) or hard drive storage (160GB to 500GB), 802.11n, Bluetooth, FM transmitter and receiver, and battery life of 7 hours for video playback or 22 hours for music enjoyment. You’ll save 100 grams of weight with the SSD versions, but even the hard drive units are light at 286 grams. Steve Paine at UMPC Portal is hearing that European pricing for the 8GB SSD model 229 Euros. He also heard that an ARCHOS Tablet with phone features should appear at CES 2010. I’m already booked for the show, so I can’t wait to see if ARCHOS is entering the phone business. For now, there’s no phone, but there are thousands of apps in the Android Market to keep you busy.

The new Internet Tablet isn’t just about fun and games though. I just heard from the folks at ThinkFree and they tell me that their ThinkFree Mobile Android document viewer is fully supported on the new ARCHOS 5. Although I’d rather watch some 720p vids on the go, it’s always nice to know that I’m one button press away from viewing the latest spreadsheet of my fantasy football players performance.