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Archos Releases Dev Edition Firmware For Tablets 63

Charbax writes "While Archos' current 'Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android' is a 4.8" WVGA tablet that runs Android 1.5 (and perhaps 2.0 soon with the full Google Marketplace Experience), users of last year's 4.8" and 7" Archos Linux tablets have been complaining that Archos' firmware updates to its proprietary, embedded Linux OS were too infrequent, and added too little of the requested functionality. Under pressure from hackers demonstrating jailbreak methods, Archos has just now officially released (PDF) the open-source Special Developer Edition firmware based on Angstrom Linux, generated from a customized, open embedded build for last year's Archos 5 and 7 Internet Media tablets. If many talented developers join the community of Archos hackers to make software for this new Archos SDE firmware, then Android, Angstrom Linux, Maemo Mer, Qt and Ubuntu Linux could be expected to run smoothly on it soon. That could make it the ultimate pocket Linux Internet tablet for Linux hackers. Installing Archos' new SDE firmware permanently disables DRM playback and voids the warranty."
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Archos Releases Dev Edition Firmware For Tablets

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  • Sell the Hardware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @03:38PM (#30263266)
    I'm not sure why they lock down their hardware. I had a 405, and it was awesome ... but would have been way better if they unlocked it and let people write applications. As it was, they only sold a couple of codecs. If they make money of the hardware, and I assume they do, why cripple it? They had the best touch screen tablet on the market a few years ago, but threw it away by crippling it.
  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @03:58PM (#30263376)
    Why don't hardware manufacturers simply release development firmwares from the outset for all of their devices? Hardware manufacturers tend to let their products fizzle out and stagnate, but there are always interested parties waiting to take the device to a new level. Hardware manufacterers would benefit from the ability to produce the same hardware for cheaper while seeing increased demand for the product. This could potentially raise their profits if a hardcore community forms around their device.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @06:23PM (#30264212) Journal
    It likely depends on exactly where the hardware manufacturer actually makes their money.

    If they actually make their money on superior hardware designs, or superior manufacturing efficiency, then they should be all for open software development. They get their software for free, geeks get the crazy features that they want, everybody wins. Unknown manufacturers trying to break in to the market would also likely be enthusiastic. Just being able to print "Runs $POPULAR_OSS_FIRMWARE" on your package is easier than doing proper localization and UI design to suit a new market, particularly if your company has lots of experience as a contract manufacturer; but not so much doing software design or marketing.

    On the other hand, if you earn your money by providing good integration of what would otherwise be commodity hardware and software, you have no real incentive to support third party efforts. You don't have a real disincentive, if your customers are stupid enough to throw away the best parts of your product that isn't your problem; but you have nothing to gain.

    Outfits that distinguish themselves primarily by software quality, or use software to enforce market segmentation/price discrimination strategies would have reason to be actively hostile. If Product A and Product A Professional Premium differ only in software, an OpenWRT port for Product A is going to ruin Product A Professional Premium's day.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:47AM (#30268748) Journal

    The Archos 5 Internet Media Tablet now ships with 250GB hard drive

    The spec sheet looked interesting until I got that far down. A mechanical drive in a handheld in 2009? Crazy. I'd rather have lower capacity and no moving parts.

    Archos has USB 2.0 host for keyboards, mice and external hard drives

    Powered? The Nokia tablets have USB host support too, but it's unpowered. You need to plug them into a hub (or a 9V battery). If it has powered USB then you're draining the device's small battery to power the keyboard and mouse.

Disks travel in packs.