Samsung have the lead in the alternatives to the ipad but some other interesting tablets are going to make an appearance.
The Notion Ink Adam is finally on preorder and has been a long time in coming. Notion Ink is a startup from India and it will be interesting to see how the Adam goes particularly with the Pixel Qi screen.
The Toshiba and RIM tablets also show promise.
In the meantime tablets are thin on the ground unless you have the cash for an ipad or Galaxy tab (although the Galaxy tab should be cheaper now that a non-3g option is available) or are after a cheap chinese device that are prolific on trademe and dealextreme.com
Archos are a French company generally known for their media players. They have had an Android tablet in the Archos 7 for a while now and are now on to their second generation of Android tablets. They have five in their line up and these are known as the gen 8 archos tablets. The two that are attracting the most interest are the Archos 70 and Archos 101.
The Archos 70 is a 7" tablet and is most notable for the option of a 250 gb hard drive. The Archos 101 is a 10" tablet and comes in 8 gb and 16 gb flavours.
All the gen 8 tablets run Android Froyo which took a while to come to the gen 8's after Archos initially said they would ship with Froyo. It came as a firmware update in early December.
I ordered an Archos 101 in mid December from http://www.amazon.com and landed it in New Zealand for $530 NZD. Availablity has been up and down as there has been high demand. After scouring the internet it appears that http://www.globalcommunication.co.nz are the distributors for New Zealand however, there is no mention on their website or on http://www.cvscomputing.co.nz of availability so yet again with most of these things New Zealand is a late comer to the party.
There is plenty of information on the net about the Archos products. It is mainly available at http://forum.archosfans.com.
I have found the Archos 101 a great device for sitting on the coffee table. It is a lot lighter than the ipad and is very easy to hold for long periods of time. It has been getting a thrashing since the big Christmas day opening (Angry birds is the game of choice). Angry Birds looks spectacular on the Archos 101. It was almost worth the purchase just for the Angry Birds experience!
One of the other reasons I purchased it is to hold my manuals for work on (around 3000 pages of PDF documents). I haven't really sat down for some serious reading but with ezpdf it looks it will fit the bill nicely.
My pros and cons:
- Very thin and light!
- Runs froyo
- Good battery life (it is hard to see what kind of battery life it will have long term but gets two days with very heavy use)
- Capacitive display
- Micro SD slot and USB ports for expandability
- Screen angles could be better. The optimum screen viewing angle is great when in landscape mode but slightly off centre when in portrait mode.
- Only 256 MB RAM which could affect future Android firmware upgrades.
- Won't tether to my android phone in wifi adhoc mode.
The big unknown for the Archos 101 is that with only 256 MB of RAM whether Android Honeycomb (tablet optimised) will come to the Archos Gen 8 tablets.
As 2011 progresses tablet prices should come down and it should become clear which manufacturers have the tablet goods but if you have some cash now and are looking for a tablet that does not cost the moon the Archos 101 is a good choice (providing you can find a stockist). It really is a shame that distributors are not more proactive in bringing some of these products to New Zealand. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is an example of such a product.
If you are after a tablet and can wait then 2011 will bring a load of choice!
Comment by Peter Wilson, on 6-Apr-2011 07:50
We have a Vodafone Vodem USB stick for broadband that we use with our laptop at home. Will this vodem stick work with the Archos 101?
Comment by DavidDavid, on 3-Jun-2011 15:55
would you mind giving us a rundown of how the Archos 101 performed as a pdf reader with ezpdf, i'm considering getting one for similar use