This week, Microsoft finally launches the long-awaited Facebook app for the Zune HD, but it's wrought with bugs and naturally, the MP3 Insiders have a few things to say about that. Also, Donald mulls over the depressing fact that people are downloading less music from both P2P and legitimate music stores, while Jasmine attempts to offer solace in the form of speculation that music has always been around and will continue to be. Finally, we take a look at a disappointing new Archos product and a cool new remote accessory for the iPod and iPhone, and compare both to the excellence that is Sonos.
Do you like the idea of a coffee table tablet PC, but can't imagine shelling out $500 for an iPad? If so, perhaps you'd be interested in paying half as much for half the functionality at half the speed.
The Home Tablets are both based off Google's Android operating system, but skinned and augmented by Archos in a similar fashion as the Archos 5 Internet Tablet released near the end of last year.
The smaller of the two new tablets is the Archos 7, which sports a design similar to the Archos 5, but uses a larger 7-inch touch screen. Internally, the Archos 7 takes a big step back from the Archos 5, running its system on a basic 600MHz ARM 9 processor. You can connect over Wi-Fi to check e-mail and browse the Web, but Archos 5 features such as Bluetooth and GPS are a no-go.
The Archos 7 also includes a microSD memory slot, which is a good thing considering the device will only come in 2GB and 8GB capacities. Multimedia playback is mentioned in the press release (including Flash video), but no… Read more
With apologies to Sega's classic "Genesis does what Nintendon't" ad campaign, there are many tablet and touch-screen PCs that do things the upcoming Apple iPad simply can't. While Apple's tablet runs a version of the company's iPhone operating system, most of these tablets run different flavors of Windows, and (at least in theory) are capable of performing any task a standard laptop can.
The benefits of having a full computer operating system are many, from running your choice of Web browsers, such as Firefox or Chrome, to streaming Flash video from Hulu and … Read more
Update: CNET's full review of the Archos 5 is now available.
I've had my hands on the Archos 5 Android internet tablet for more than seven days now, and to be honest, I'm still not sure what to make of it. What's hanging up the review isn't the price (which starts at $249), or capacity (up to 500GB), or the impressive selection of features; it's the devices spotty performance. So far, some stuff just doesn't work as advertised.
If this were Apple or Microsoft, these performance glitches would probably have me spitting venom right now, but Archos is a relatively small company. Chalk it up to looking out for the little guy, but I'm going to give Archos the benefit of the doubt that many of the issues I'm experiencing will be fixed quickly with firmware updates and swept under the rug. In fact, a firmware update earlier this week (v1.1.01) already addressed a problem I had accessing content from microSD cards. In a perfect world, products wouldn't leave the warehouse half-baked--but every company is guilty of it to some degree.
My contact at Archos says there will be another firmware update available next week. Assuming this next round will iron out the kinks, I'm going to hold off on a formal review until then. Of course, I'm also advising that potential buyers wait until our rated review is up before investing in an Archos 5. Considering that Amazon recently froze sales of the 160GB model of the Archos 5, I think it's safe to assume that I'm not the only one having some issues.
Now, true to the title of this piece, my time with the Archos 5 has had its share of bright spots too. Most notably, its video player is one of the best I've used on any device. Unlike previous versions of Archos PVPs, the Archos 5 ships with all the critical video codecs installed, instead of requiring users to purchase codec plug-ins individually. My HD video podcasts, XviD torrents, AVIs, and WMVs all play flawlessly. Videos look great on it too, with the 4.8-inch 800x480-pixel resolution LCD that gives a rich and razor-sharp picture that holds up well, even in daylight. By extension, photos also look great on the Archos 5--although thumbnail previews and transitions aren't nearly as fast and fluid as on the iPod Touch.
If you ask me, the Archos 5's video player alone is worth the price of the whole device, assuming that digital video is really your cup of tea. Unfortunately, as a company, I think Archos is a little tired of being cast as a portable video player manufacturer. Looking at the packaging for the Archos 5, you'd hardly know the device played videos at all. According to the box, this is an "Internet tablet," a term Archos has whittled down from the "Internet media tablet" we saw last year. The choice of phrasing seems particularly odd considering that the device's media features are stronger than ever. I assume Archos wants people to understand in no uncertain terms that they are in the tablet business, in spite of seven years spent manufacturing media players. … Read more
Donald and Jasmine discuss potential issues with the Android-based Archos 5...namely, why does the sucker keep crashing on everyone? Also, a look at the freshly posted reviews for the Monster Turbine Pro and JayBird Tiger Eyes earphones, as well as the old-school appealing Altec Lansing inMotion Classic. Finally, big ups to SanDisk for its straightforward approach to an audio issue with the Clip.
After a streak of Wi-Fi portable media players this season, including the Sony X-Series Walkman, iPod Touch, and Zune HD, the Android-based Archos 5 Internet tablet is probably the last major portable media player we'll see before the year's end. It would make for a cute read if I said they've saved the best for last, but after a few days with the Archos 5, I'm still not exactly sure where it ranks among its peers.
Jasmine's back, and she and Donald tackle the Android-based Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet that just landed in the office--with plenty of unboxing goodness. Also, a new Cowon player is teased in Asia, and Jasmine rants uncontrollably about the sweet new Japan-only Walkmans that she's dying to get her hands on. Finally, no MP3 Insider would be complete without a sojourn into iPod Touch/Zune HD territory, which is exactly where the updated CNET Prizefight comes into play.
Microsoft shows "Pink" (sort of), MMS disaster, er, feature about to launch on iPhone, Wii gets price cut, Archos new Win7 tablet looks great (too bad nobody will notice), and MIT has a synthetic eyeball on the way that amazes us. Oh yeah...and about that cuddle party...Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1070
Microsoft’s “Pink” project emerges, sort of http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10360516-56.html
AppleInsider claims to have details on new iMacs http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/09/24/apple_ready_and_waiting_with_redesigned_imac_line.html
2009 … Read more
A lot of people are betting that 2010 will be the year of the tablet computer.
Of course, we've heard such predictions about tablets before. This time, the reasoning goes, is different, because the devices will have more sophisticated touch screens and consumers are more used to virtual keyboards. Most importantly, Apple just might be jumping into the fray.
Tablets, you may recall, are either laptops with a screen that twists and folds flat and uses a stylus or fingertip for input, or something more like an oversize iPod Touch that's used for tasks like checking e-mail, getting on the Web, and watching videos.
True, market researchers at DisplaySearch predict sales for all touch-screen devices will be growing from $3.5 billion this year to more than $6 billion by 2012. But if 2010 is going be the year of the tablet--meaning regular folks start buying these en masse--someone has to get it right.
So far, we're still waiting.
Toshiba, Archos, Fujitsu, and Lenovo have touch-screen tablets coming our way in the next few months, none of which should revolutionize our already established expectations of tablet PCs.… Read more