Will the A9 take a bite out of the iPad?
Science fiction authors have written about a small ubiquitous electronic gadget that will replace the cluster of personal electronic devices most of us find as indispensable to daily life as happy hour.
The recent advent of the tablet computer or slate pc brings us closer to this future reality.
These new computers are somewhere between a smart phone and laptop in size and weight. And they offer a range of features, some closer to a smart phone and some to a laptop.
Two of the frontrunners are the Apple iPad and the Archos 9.
With its more PC-like features, the Archos 9 could be poised to take a bite out of Apple’s tablet computer.
The two rival devices are comparable in several ways. The price differential is only $50, $499.99 for iPad and $549.99 for the Archos.
The weight is about the same – 1.75 lbs. for the Archos vs. 1.5 lbs. for the iPad – as is the screen resolution, with both offering HD video capability.
In regard to capacity, the A9 does have significantly more – 60 GB compared to the iPad’s 16 GB. But the trend toward cloud computing, with its online delivery of common business applications, makes this benefit somewhat less compelling.
What does make the Archos worth the extra $50 is an OS that allows you to multi-task. And, with the A9 you can run applications you might already own – such as Microsoft Office – with a slightly trimmed down version of Windows 7. The iPad runs a version of the same iOS as the iPhone, so it doesn’t support these features.
Consequently, with the Apple product, you can only run one application at a time, and you are limited to iPad-specific applications, not the ones you know and love.
Making the A9 an even sweeter deal is its full Flash capabilities. Want to watch Hulu, view the latest viral video on YouTube, or just kick back and play a few games? Then, you will want to put the Archos 9 in your shopping cart, for native Flash fun.
And if you use videoconferencing for your business, or just want to show grandma how cool you look in the nose ring she sent for your birthday, you will be happy to know that the Archos PC tablet also sports a webcam.
The battery life on an iPad tablet PC is longer than that of the Archos 9. However, the Archos battery is replaceable, and it compares very favorably to a laptop battery.
Users with vision problems might note that the 9.7-inch display on the iPad is a little larger than the display on the Archos, which is 8.9 inches.
The final tally is 4-2-2 in favor of the Archos 9. When you compare Apples to Archos, the Archos 9 tablet PC and its fuller array of features simply outshine its Apple cousin, which is really a glorified iPhone – but without the phone.