Android-powered Archos tablet out-specs Zune, iPod Touch

September 16, 2009 9:31 AM EDT

Say what you will about the Android OS being behind Apple's OSX touch OS, there are some things you can measure definitively and those are hardware specs. 

Archos released its new Android-based mini-tablet information today and wow is it impressive.  To put it in comparison with the Zune/iPod screens for instance, it has almost three times the pixel area (800x480 vs. 320x480 for iPod and 272x480 for the Zune).  The screen is also over an inch larger.  

The device comes in the typical 8, 16, and 32GB sizes but it also has huge laptop hard drive versions which store up to 500GB of data.  That even puts the new 160GB iPod classic to shame.  The HDD option, however, doubles the thickness and adds 100 grams of weight. (143,2x78,8x10,4 mm - 182g• ARCHOS 5 Internet Tablet Hard Drive series: 143,2x78,8x20 mm - 286g)

Archos has also has built in a GPS, something neither the iPod nor the Zune carry.  This will give it a significant advantage with mapping applications sold through the Android store.  They advertise a 3D mapping feature.

The device, though not on its built in screen, will support HD video up to 720P in H.264, WMV or Mpeg-4 formats.

Something that would never fly with Steve Jobs, a micro SD card slot, is also available on the Archos.  This allows lots of cheap memory to be thrown in.  You could quickly double the storage size of the 8GB model with $40 and a trip to Fry's.  The SDHC compatible slot accepts up to 32GB card sizes which puts total Flash capacity at 64GB max.

Also not high on Mr. Jobs' list:  Adobe Flash support. Flash 10 support is expected with Android 2.0 in Q1 2010.

There are many apps included in the package including Webbrowser, Email, Contacts, DroidIn™, Ebuddy™IM, Twidroid™, Deezer™, Dailymotion™, QuickPedia, ThinkFree Mobile, Moov, CraigsPhone, Pages jaunes™ (only for France), High Paying Jobs (only for US & Canada), Alarm clock, Calculator.  Archos also has a built-in TV 640x480 DVR that you can take with you on the road.

The device also has an FM receiver and transmitter which not only allows you to listen to FM radio, you can also broadcast it on your car's stereo.

All in all this device seems like a very worth Zune/iPod competitor, especially with Google's Android now behind it.  While I don't expect the iPod to crumble to its knees (software is much better, marketing and name recognition are too strong), I think it now has some worthy competition - especially for those of us who salivate over specs.