One of my biggest problems with tablets running Google’s Android operating system is that they don’t ship with the ability to do one of the most basic things any Android smartphone can do: Download third party apps from the Android Market. Sure, Archos, Camangi, and other tablet makers load up their tablets with useful apps and sometimes even give you access to third party app stores. But none have anywhere near the more than 50,000 apps available from the Android Market.
But there is a way to install a hacked version of the Android Market on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet. Not every app will work out of the box if you use the Market4Archos hack, because the tablet simply doesn’t have all of the same hardware found on most Android smartphones. But the hack certainly turns the Archos 5 from a glorified audio and video player into a truly useful device capable of running thousands of apps.
One glaring omission was paid apps. Up until recently, if you installed the Android Market on the Archos 5, you could download free apps from the Market, but not apps that you have to pay for. Then last week Archos released a new version of the firmware for the Archos 5 Internet tablet. And users started to report that when they upgraded to firmware version 1.7.99 paid applications started to appear in the Android Market.
As Jenn at Pocketables points out, the crazy thing here is that even some smartphones can’t download paid apps from the Android Market unless they’re connected to a 3G mobile wireless network. if you take the SIM card out of a Google Nexus One, for instance, you lose access to paid applications from the Android Market.
Now if only the Archos 5 had better build quality and a faster processor…