The lines are definitely being blurred between mobile internet devices (MID), portable media players (PMP), and netbooks and every other configuration out there, so how do we decide what to spend our hard earned money on?Â The line of questioning is much like buying a PC: what size do I need, how often will I use it, what kind of battery life, how much do I have to spend, what are my main content needs?
Fortunately for us this is a very good time to be in the market for one of these devices.Â Other than the obligatory smart phones available there is the iPod Touch and Zune HD that are ready for prime time for viewing HD video, listening to music, and surfing the web all at the comfort of a less than 5-inch device (without a carrier contract).Â And now Archos is throwing their Android hat into the ring.Â While Android has been unproven so far in HD viewing it has shown its metal in 3rd party applications and its Webkit browser,Â I have no doubt the the video will be on par or better than its competitors.
Android could be the savior of the Archos 5.Â It has been available for over a year and has often been criticized for a slow interface, fragmented updates, and a poorly built Linux OS in general.Â But with Android’s production run for the 11 months, this device has the potential to go mainstream given the right marketing and support.Â Since Android is open source isÂ has a community not to mention Google behind it for funding and development so there should be no shortage of new applications to take advantage of the form factor, GPS,Â and media capabilities.
This could be much like the iPhone/iPod dilemma.Â Do I want the capabilities of an iPhone and the App Store without a contract?Â (I had an iPod Touch for a while using Skype as a voice client and it was a decent performer to use as an extra line).Â If yes, then the iPod Touch is the perfect device, etc.Â So if the current phones and even the ones coming to multiple carriers aren’t your fancy than this unit may be a good fit.
This device should be announced before the end of September, but in order for the Archos 5 to be purchased over an Android phone or a competing PMP it has to meet the following requirements to be seriously considered:
- Seamless Flash integration in the browser
- 720p HD video playable in various formats
- OS stability with frequent OTA updates
- Reasonable battery life since it will most likely will not be swappable
- Capacitive touch screen (we don’t need no stinkin’ stylus!)