While Microsoft is busy releasing the Zune HD today, Archos also pushed out its Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet on Amazon.com. It might not be the redemption of a formerly flailing brand, though it is possibly a bit more interesting that the Zune HD. While the Zune HD is being pushed as a major iPod competitor, the Archos 5 is being pushed as an Internet tablet that also has a wide range of media capabilities.
The Archos 5 is an interesting device in that it packs GPS and 3.5G HSDPA support into what could be used predominantly as a media player of Internet tablet. It runs on Android, though it can only use a small number of Android apps – that list does include popular apps such as Twidroid, Craigsphone, and eBuddy. What really shines on the Archos 5, however, is the sheer number of codecs supported. Unless you have a media file that’s wrapped in DRM from Apple, Microsoft, or other places that at one point used DRM, chances are it will work on the Archos 5. It can play back H.264 HD, MPEG-4 HD, MPEG-47, Flac, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, MP3, and numerous others. With the DVR Station the Archos 5 can record your favorite shows, output HD video to your HDTV, or even stream content to your PC.
The Archos 5, with all its features, despite being a bit larger than the Zune HD and iPod touch looks to outdo both devices easily. It can handle many more codecs, and is not restricted to proprietary software of any kind. It comes with either flash memory or hard-drive based options ranging from 8 GB to 500 GB (with the flash versions supporting microSD cards for expanded storage). Heck, it even has a stand built in for when you want to set it down and watch the video. With a price starting at $249.99, it could hopefully be the media player of choice for some. It’s a great example of just what Android can do, and looks to be a great device.