April 20, 2014

Preliminary Thoughts on the Archos 5 Tablet

Archos-5-Internet-Tablet-to-get-AndroidHere are some stream-of-consciousness thoughts on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet that arrived today at CommonsWare‘s secret mountain lair.

Pros:

  • It looks slick.
  • The 800MHz CPU makes this device rather snappy for many operations. Flipping between settings activities and launching the Browser app, for example, are lightning-quick.
  • The screen, visually, is very nice. This is a great size for Web browsing, for example.

Cons:

  • Touchscreen is inaccurate, even after two calibration rounds. It does not register touches all of the time, which makes scrolling through lists a serious chore. For example, when reviewing the installed applications, I wound up accidentally clicking on applications several times when I was simply trying to get it to scroll the list.
  • The hacked status bar, offering soft keys for back, menu, and home instead of physical keys, is a bit clumsy to me, though it may be just because I am not used to it.
  • The Amazon listing for this product claims it comes with a bunch of apps pre-installed. It does not. It comes with Twidroid and ThinkFree Office (the latter installed in firmware), and that’s it for third-party apps.
  • As expected, it does not come with any of the Google apps for Android, as this product was (apparently) made using the Android open source project alone. However, confusingly, it does not seem to come with any sort of client for their own app market. Hence, other than by browsing to Web sites to download APKs, getting apps on this device will be a serious chore. And, since there does not appear to be a camera, Barcode Scanner and kin are out. A user’s first step would need to be to install an independent market client (AndAppStore, SlideME, etc.).
  • Translations to English are rough in spots.
  • Yet another incompatible USB cable. My guess is that mini-USB was too thick for this device, but it is annoying to have another cable to keep track of.

For what it’s worth, I obtained this device for experimenting with WVGA Android applications, to help advise developers on how to deal with larger screen sizes. I am not necessarily intending on using this device as an ordinary consumer would.

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