Archos had been making media players for years, and the in the past few years they've gained Internet access for web browsing and email. But the proprietary Linux OS meant that you couldn't add much software beyond what Archos offered and charged for. That's changed with their latest generation tablets and the Archos 5 runs Android OS 1.6 Donut. That means it does most everything a high end Android smartphone does except making calls.
The Archos 5 Internet Tablet has a 5" resistive touch screen (4.8" to be exact) and it runs on an 800MHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU with a companion 430MHz DSP chip. There are versions with flash-based storage and hard disk models and we have the 160 gig hard disk model that lists for $399.
While Archos PMPs and tablets have been quite thin, the Archos 5 Android model is a chunky monkey and it won't fit in anything less than a roomy pocket. But you do get that large display, really strong video playback performance that beats the HTC HD2 and even the iPhone 3GS in some cases. The web browser is the stock Android webkit web browser with no Flash support and for some reason, Archos yanked Google's YouTube player (we have a feeling they're working on a Flash plugin of their own and will probably charge for it).
So if you're looking for a strong PMP with a large, sharp screen and room to grow with Android and it's large selection of apps, you could do a lot worse than the Archos.
Our full review will be out in a few days along with our final verdict.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview