Archos punts 9-inch Windows 7 tablet PC
Soft keyboard, hard typing
Archos, creator of what the company calls "pocket entertainment products," is taking a step beyond mere entertainment with the launch of its Windows-based Archos 9PCtablet.
This 8.9-inch touch screen tablet PC features an on-screen keyboard, is powered by a 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z515, and will have Windows 7 Starter Edition preloaded.
Not coincidentally, the 9PCtablet's release date is the same as Windows 7's: October 22. At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Archos exec Ron Ferguson gave reporters an advance look-and-feel of the slim, light tablet.
Windows 7, HD video, stereo sound, and Wi-Fi - but no 3G
The fanless 9PCtablet is a full-fledged netbook, but with a display-based keyboard that slips up from the bottom of the display when summoned, minimizing the window above it.
To our hands, typing on the touchscreen keyboard was awkward - although since you can use both hands in a standard typing position it's less awkward than first-time use of, say, the soft keyboard on the ubiquitous iPhone. An Archos rep promised it gets easier over time - we'll wait and see.
And if on-screen typing is too kludgy for your tastes, an external Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad will be an optional accessory.
Ferguson described the 9PCtablet as intended not only for "road warriors", but also for users who "want the flexibility to consume the internet" at home on their couch or in their kitchen - and perhaps to accommodate that latter usage model, the 9PCtablet is available in both black and white.
This $499 "Netbook of the future," as Archos calls it, matches the capabilities of its keyboard-equipped brethren, including 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, 1024-by-600 pixel display, Bluetooth 2.1, USB 2.0, 1GB of DDR2 memory, Realtek ALC269 stereo audio with dual speakers, built-in microphone, optical trackpoint, and an 1.3 megapixel camera for videoconferencing. Unfortunately, there's no SD Card slot or 3G support.
A left-mounted button (circled) slips a soft keyboard onto the display
A VGA port, two additional USB ports, and 10/100BASE-T Ethernet can be added with an optional module. At launch, the 9PCtablet will include a 60GB hard drive, but Ferguson said that a 120GB version is coming "right on its heels."
The 9PCtablet is small and light: 10 by 5.27 by 0.62 inches and a bit over 28 ounces (800 grams). That weight includes the removable battery, which Ferguson claims will provide a "four hours plus" life, even when watching HD video.
As capable as the 9PCtablet may be, it does have its drawbacks. The display, for example, uses resistive technology, not capacitive. As such, it needs to be calibrated for touch accuracy, and is incapable of multi-touch tricks.
Also, although Ferguson said that Archos is contemplating making ebooks available on its Archos Media Club online content-delivery service, the 9PCtablet does not have a portrait mode.
Apple's long-rumored tablet may be garnering all the headlines, but Archos is beating them to the punch by delivering one with worldwide distribution at launch. ®
ok, but can you draw on it??? anyone??
I've been looking around for a tablet or something that uses a stylus (and this does) that you can draw with. I'm sure you can draw, and it sounds like you have to calibrate it, but once calibrated, would this be a good option? After all without multitouch it may be better.
And then from there, would there be some levels of pressure sensitivity? anyone know this? Any other tablet do this?
No to Archos, yes to Touchbook.
This Archos product/features, the price, I just don't get it and as such wouldn't buy one.
Since many have tried out the EEE-PC and such like, the TouchBook seems very much more of what people are looking for in a portable netbook in today's market. I also like the way the company keeps you informed as to what's happening, and very up front about how the product will develop. I predict good things for the TouchBook.
I've been keeping an eye on Always Innovating's TouchBook, its a far more interesting product. There are already TouchBook units out there, albeit limited in numbers at this early stage.
ElReg, seriously, contact Always Innovating and ask them to send a TouchBook to you for a review.
Hell-llooo-ooow! It's a friggin' tablet!
Why would you want a 60 GB hard drive -let alone 120) on one of these? All it needs is enough Flash memory to hold the OS (ooops, Windows, sorry) and a SD slot for the movies, data and stuff. USB as a backup if you want to hook it up to a beefy external drive once a year. This is supposed to be mobile device, i.e. "on the go" use. This 60GB hard drive is resistant to shocks, right? It wont shatter if I drop the damn thing. Or will it?
Better focus on the core features for a tablet, such as, let's see, a friggin' portrait mode, maybe? Or good battery life? Or ruggedness? (no HDD, protected screen). Or the ability to add any communication protocol I darnfeel I need? (Right, not anything can be soldered on the MoBo. Dunno,protected dongle ports maybe?)
Also, just to be an annoying twat, I'll point out that Windows 7 will be the first serious attempt at touchscreen support from MS. What could possibly be wrong... lemme check Microsoft track records for first implementation of anything... oh right, I'm gonna wait for version 3, ta very much.
The only good thing about this thing against other, more tablet-focused products (like the TouchBook) is a known and trusted manufacturer. To this regard, I have a humble request: would it be possible to get a review of the TouchBook (http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/home/index.htm) to know what it's really worth? It sports several very good features in my opinion, such as keeping the price low by limited storage and communication protocols, but with a SD slot and internal USB ports for maximal modularity (think dongles). Portrait mode, too. And a switch between netbook and tablet modes when pluging or unpluging the keyboard (really touchscreen-oriented, no "we just softized the keyboard" nonsense as exposed here). The fact that the external keyboard doubles the battery life instead of sucking power is nice too. Not tho mention that in some cases I'd be very glad to have a clamshell design to protect the screen, instead of having a separated external keyboard with sharp angles randomly pressed against the touchscreen in my backpack. Appart from any technical consideration, the promo videos by "Gregoire, Fonderr of Ahlouayz Innovating" are pure comedy gold IMHO. Although I'm not sure was the initial purpose. ;-) Crazy French.
@ Mark York 3 about UKP 250
I think what Steven Raith had in mind was the TouchBook from AlwaysInnovating, not the Archos featured in the article. The TouchBook is _supposed_ to ship to Canada at this price (well, USD 399) so no need to bother your son. Although to be honest it seems that there is a shortage in supply, so dog knows when you'd get one. Also, the software is supposed to be an advanced beta version (roughtly equivalent to MS "release" grade in my book, but still a concern). I'd still "pre"-order one instantly If I had a built-in "patience" module. Since I haven't, I'll just use my EEE900 until the waiting line shortens -or until I can read a review of the thing on a reliable tech-oriented website, hint hint hint).
Hurry up Reg hacks, these $400* in my pocket are getting uncomfortably hot! Anyone alive -and listening- at Reg Central? C'mon, a convertible ARM netbook-tablet at this price and no review? Is everyone dead in there? (cue icon)
*or $300 for the tablet alone -but who are you kidding?
@Dimensio re. portrait mode
I tried irotate (and have tried others), they work in that they rotate the screen image through 90 degrees.
However, they don't rotate the trackpad action through 90 degrees so you can't use the trackpad unless you do some serious mental gymnastics. Even the EEE-PC with it's built in display driver portrait mode does not 'flip' the trackpad to match the sceen. So you are stuck with using a keyboard that is effectively twisted through 90 degrees. It hurts my eyes and brain.