On the wireless front you get 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and although there is no cellular connectivity, you can tether the 101 to your cell phone using Bluetooth or USB. Another useful addition is the forward facing VGA web cam. Here, Archos has given with one hand and taken with the other because there is no rear facing camera. Accompanying the web cam you will also find a built-in microphone and a couple of half-decent speakers.
Android Market on show
The one vital difference between the 101 and the 43 is the use of a capacitive rather than resistive screen, a feature shared with the smaller but otherwise similar 7in Archos 701. This makes the device far easier to use when typing, browsing the web or gaming, and brings multi-touch to the UI.
The 101's screen is not oleophobic, so fingerprints can be an issue. At 120 pixels-per-inch (ppi) it can't quite match the iPad's 132ppi dot density, let alone the Galaxy Tab's 169ppi. Those factors aside, the tablet’s glossy, netbook-norm 1024 x 600 screen is still pleasingly crisp and colourful, and should satisfy most needs. The effective viewing angle is pretty robust too.
Slim, but not exactly pocket-sized
Running the whole show is a 1GHz ARM Cortez A8 CPU and Android 2.2 'Froyo', a combination that keeps both the UI and operating system chugging along at a reasonable, if not quite an iPad-pace, rate. You can have your 101 with either 8 or 16GB of built-in storage, but either way you only have 256MB free for the system and application storage.
Next page: New gear resolution
Archos has given with one hand and taken with the other
"...because there is no rear facing camera."
To be fair here... Who would want to ever use a thing this big as a camera? don't we all have phones that do the camera thing already..
Im guessing you could say that its not a phone either.. but same as above...
The CDD needs it
Archos runs afoul of Google's compatible device document (CDD). In 2.2, there are a lot of things a device MUST implement to be compliant with the CDD - GPS, compass, 3.2mp camera etc. By not including these things, the 101 fails the CDD and therefore doesn't ship with the Marketplace app. That's why it has appslib instead.
Who can blame Archos for jetissoning these features anyway? This thing is meant to be a media player not a giant phone but the price they pay is no official support by marketplace and that must impact on sales.
Android 2.3 apparently loosens the CDD up a bit, so perhaps if a firmware update appeared that used 2.3, the device would actually be compatible. I hope that the CDD for Android 3.0 is also more realistic of what tablets should and should not implement. A tablet primarily used for PMP or ereading should not have to be burdened with a bunch of crap which adds to the price of the hardware. I don't suppose the 101 will ever be an Android 3.0 compliant device, but perhaps its successor will be.
The real thing I see from the Archos 101 is the obvious fact that tablets do not have to be anywhere as expensive as the iPad to be functional. There were so many tablets announced at CES 2011 that there are going to be some very affordable and attractive devices coming this year. I hope Apple is going to discount the iPad (when iPad 2 turns up) otherwise it will get steamrollered otherwise by cheaper competitors.
"...the only tablet now on sale that I would actually spend my own hard-earned on."
Yep, for the first time since these new-gen tablet things started coming out I'm actually quite tempted to tot up my pennies and purchase. I think I may just hang about to see how Honeycomb looks (and costs) before I actually take the plunge, though.
Not even tempted by the iPad. Have played with colleagues' pads and, while slick, they're awful shallow...
3.0 *requires* dual-core?
When did 3.0 change from being "adds support for dual-core devices, but will still run on single-core devices" to "requires dual-core, don't even think about trying to run it on a single-core or we'll point at you and laugh at your stupidity when your device throws an error screen halfway through the boot process"?
iTunes is one of those Marmite apps...
...you either love it or hate it. As one of those people who fall into the latter category, I think the problems iTunes has are threefold
Firstly, and for absolutely no reason that anyone has yet managed to figure out, on some PCs iTunes runs like a dog. Who isn't feeling too well. Attempting to drag a sled loaded down with several tons of lead. Up a steep slope. Into a headwind. Meanwhile, on other, apparently identical-spec PCs (and even on PCs who's spec is so utterly crap it's a miracle they can even boot up Windows let alone any apps as well) it runs like a dog. Who wins every race it's entered into. By a country mile. Even into a headwind...
Secondly, iTunes is one of the least Windows-like app the average Windows user is ever likely to encounter. Apple have made the square root of zero effort to Windowsify the way iTunes looks, feels, behaves and, perhaps most importantly, expects the user to behave. When discussing the pros and cons of iTunes elsewhere, a common trend seems to be that Mac users generally like it partly because it doesn't seem to suffer the same random performance issues noted above for the Windows version, but mostly because it looks and feels like the other apps they're used to. On the other hand, Windows users generally don't like it, partly because of the aforementioned performance issues, but equally because it can be a right pain in the arse to use unless you're willing to forget pretty much everything you've learned about how apps work.
Thirdly, with every release, the minimum amount of crud required for a successful iTunes installation continues to grow, and grow, and grow. And then expand just a little bit more after you think it's finished and couldn't possibly get any larger. If all I want to do is dump MP3s onto my iPod and update its firmware once in a while, why in blue blazes do I need to have all this extra crap installed either as a requirement or as a "even though you don't really need to install this, we'll just tick the box by default so you end up installing it anyway unless you remember to untick it" annoyance? Bonjour? Sod off.