The Archos 80 G9 tablet is one of the first tablets from Archos to ship with Google Android 3.2 Honeycomb. On the one hand, that means it comes with the full suite of Google applications including the Android Market, Google Maps, and Gmail app — unlike earlier Archos tablets. On the other hand, the device is new enough that the techniques hackers have been using to gain root access on earlier tablets don’t work.
But Paul O’Brien has figured out a new method for rooting the Archos 80 G9. The process is a little involved, and requires you to install the Android SDK on a computer, connect to your tablet via a USB cable, and run some commands from the computer.
Once that’s done you should be able to access your tablet via a terminal. But so far this technique won’t install SuperUser on your device, which means that you don’t get all the benefits of rooting a device such as the ability to install third party apps that require root privileges. But he’ll have a SuperUser update soon.
Another limitation is that the bootloader and recovery images are signed, which means that there’s currently no way to install custom ROMs on the tablet, so if you buy the $270 Archos 80 G9 it looks like you’re stuck with the version of Android that comes with the device… at least until Archos issues software updates or someone figures out how to unlock the bootloader. The good news is that Archos is usually pretty good about releasing regular firmware updates.
O’Brien has also posted a detailed review of the new tablet at the Modaco forums. Overall he seems pretty impressed with the hardware and software, although he says the plastic case feels cheap.