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Archos 5 Internet Tablet

My ever evolving, likely never fully up-to-date, and often quirky notes about my Archos 5 Internet Tablet.

Archos 5 Internet Tablet (aka A5A, Archos5IT, A5IT or Archos Gen 7)

A5A Sites: Archos | ArchosFans: Wiki/Docs - Forum | openAOS
Apps: Google Market | AppBrain | AndroidZoon | AndroidZoom | Android FAQs
AndroidSites: HelloAndroid | AndroidAndMe | AndroidForums

My ever evolving, likely never fully up-to-date, and often quirky notes about my Archos 5 Internet Tablet (A5A) device (read this review of the Archos 5 with Andoid which is a solid reflection of what I've found). The device is great even if you don't mind messing around as a hobbyist some. If you want an "it just works" experience, then try the brand with that slogan, but for a little effort, you'll get a lot more out of this handheld computer and internet tablet.

I opted for the 500GB model even if it was a little heavier, thicker, and used more battery juice. I primarily got this device to have my entire music collection on it (3000+ albums, mostly in lossless format) as I'm a DJ at a local community radio station as well as a general music aficionado. I tired of only having a few albums on my 4GB 1st Gen iPod nano (received as a present from my Mac-loving sister). It has been a good device for music, but limited overall, and after looking at the iPod classic 106GB and reviews of it compared to this device and the iRiver and Cowan and Zune and CreativeZen Vision:M and other such devices, this was THE way to go IMHO. Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase so far. I also don't use iTunes, but instead use MediaMonkey for my music library (the Pro version converts on the fly for those of you that need that). And this is NOT a phone, so there are a lot of phone-related apps that I just don't need to deal with. And it doesn't have a camera, so barcode scanners and led flashlights need not apply either (although there is a flashlight capability in the battery widget).

Latest Firmware: 2.0.38, running Android 1.6 (here's to hoping that we'll get the promised 2.2+ froyo release)

Free Apps: Make sure to register the device to get the free applications like the Radio (requires headphones) and other plugins.

Memory Management - there is only 138MB of space available to load/install applications, some of which is already used by the basic apps - you can't load them anywhere else, although I Archos will release a firmware based on Froyo (2.2) or higher, with this feature, but it's not available for the A5A yet. I cleared it's cache in the menu and it got smaller (there is a cache cleaner out there, may need more investigation). You will need an application manager to backup/install larger applications like 3D games and such that aren't used very often. Otherwise you'll run into memory limitations and you'll get messages to free up application memory, even if the device has several Gig of memory left on the unit (for music, videos, and other data). AppMonster was the one I was pointed to, and I like it). It remains problematic because I hate having to juggle apps on the device (and their settings which don't get saved).

Downloading Applications: the A5A comes with AppsLib, but it's limited (but they are tested to work). However, there are many other apps There are other ways to download other apps from the Google Market. The first is using the Google Market Hack for Archos, but it also loads all of the Google Applications (which you may or may not use, but can also be removed). AppBrain apparently has all (most?) of the market apps, too, but to load it, you have to have the Google Market on there (but you can load it to load AppBrain and then remove the Google Market app). There are other app markets, too:

Task Killers - there are several free and paid ones, but the one most mentioned is Advanced Task Killer ATK (there are several, this is the one by ...). However, with XXX MB of RAM and a maximum of 130MB of applications to hold, do you need a TK? Some say not. I've run into installed app issues, not memory issues - at least not yet. But, I'll keep it in mind. One article about why task killers are unnecessary. I'm playing with Memory Boost but don't use the task killer much. The included System Monitor app does pretty much the same thing. Not sure I need it though.

  • Web Browsers: Skyfire is what I'm using (supports Flash, not inline, but the others don't, and likely not on this 1.x device). Dolphin seems to be loved by android users. Opera Mini and Mobile (nearly 22 MB??!!??, bloatware removed), Firefox is coming....
  • Backups? Titanium Backup, but requires rooting
  • Home++ - several Home replacement apps available, although some have moved on to Android 2.x, leaving 1.6 users like the A5A behind. Sweeter Home (2 Beta). I need to play with these more.
  • Wifi Analyzer - helps you decide which direction to face and which wap to use (and if you need to change the channel on your WAP).
  • Memory Booster (others include Battery Booster, JuiceDefender)
  • RockPlayer Universal - video player, ad supported, ffmpeg based (does that mean it'll do MPEG-2 w/o the plugin?), haven't tried yet
  • FeedR - RSS feeder
  • Places Directory, Yelp (others) - food and services locator
  • eBuddy - instant messenging all-in-one client. There is also Trillian (paid) and others.
  • Wikipedia - droidpedia, Wapedia, and Quickpedia. I didn't like the Quickpedia interface, but may try it again.
  • ES File Explorer (another popular one is Astro File Manager)
  • Game Emulators - NESoid Lite, among others.
  • Contacts/Tasks/Notes - using Outlook, can sync with Exchange for Andriod. Some say Evernote, but I've not been a fan of cloud computing and trusting my trusted data to places like this. Is the data encrypted? Is the login encrypted? Note Everything "does it all" (forget Voice Recorder); with it, you can make a Textnote, Paintnote, Voicenote, Photonote, Checklist, Durable Checklist, Gallerynote or a note from Google docs.
  • Google Listen (Laporte calls it best netcast app on the planet)
  • Talk To Me...voice recognition that translates your voice into other languages and speaks them back as well as showing the text translation.
  • Movies (not all theaters hooked in for purchase), so may need both it and Fandango.
  • Local News, Weather and More - get your local tv station's news, weather, traffic, etc. Look for the main app and choose your state and city or look for the app for your local tv station. If your tv station provides good content, this can be a great app.
  • iRT Calendar - calendar replacement app. Gives a month view that actually shows some text on the day blocks, a "go to" day function, event icons, ability to duplicate events (!), more to come with Pro version out soon.
  • OI Safe - secure storage for passwords, file categories, uncomplicated interface, encoded master password. Must have
  • eReaders - Aldiko seem to be the best overall with Aldiko being the Android fave, although it stores all books in sdcard/eBooks (which is ok with me actually), and there are ways to try all of them. Tried but didn't like FBreader, Laputa (does good job with book covers0.
  • eBooks: of course there are apps for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Kobo's Kobo. For books, use: InkMesh (search engine); ManyBooks: RSS/ODRP; eBookSearch; Internet Archive; FeedBooks: ODRP; Gutenberg: Mobile/ODRP; and MobileRead (about mobile readers and eBooks). Some players will do text-to-speech for audio books on the road.
  • Weather - Weather Channel app is good. WeatherBug app is good but seems to drain the battery (with widgets, without, ok; still working on this). I like the display format of Weather Channel, but the info of Weather Bug. Go figure.
My Geek Apps
  • AndFTP - FTP client (supports secure FTP)
  • SwiFTP - FTP server over wifi or 3g
    • Terminal

Other Links:

Other Notes:
At one point when the device froze while connected via USB. There is a way to bring up a boot screen while holding the Volume - (minus) button and turning the unit on.

Still no Flash on browsers. The Adobe Flash Player is 2.x. However, I can use the YouTube app and there is a flash player capability on the Media player; just load Flash Video (FLV) into the Flash folder (I found a note that said to copy them one at a time if you have problems copying multiple - not sure why).

I find it extremely funny (odd? strange?) that to play your music collection on your home based computer, you have to use Windows Media Player to do so. This is a linux-based device, and it REQUIRES Windows software and makes no accommodation for other OSes like Linux (native) or MacOS (based on openBSD). Likely there are alternatives. Also, best I could find was that the only way to sync ratings was through WMP. Still searching for a solution (MediaMonkey stores them in tags of some sort).

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Comments are solely the opionion of the author and not to be construed as the opinion of anyone else.



(c) 2006-2007 - Mark Boyden
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