The Archos 5 Internet Tablet runs Google Android, has a 5 inch, 800 x 480 pixel display and an 800MHz ARM-based processor. Out of the box it can handle a wide range of audio and video formats, and with a little work, you can even install the Google Android Market on it. But the Archos 5 is stuck with Android 1.6 for now, and it’s not clear of Archos will ever update the software to let you run newer versions of the operating system since the company is now pushing a new line of “generation 8” tablets running Android 2.2.

I wouldn’t be surprised if hackers figure out a way to upgrade the OS on their own… but it looks like the Archos 5 isn’t just limited to Android. Tomasz Sterna has uploaded a video showing an Archos 5 Internet Tablet running MeeGo Linux. More specifically, it’s running the smartphone version of MeeGo which, as we’ve seen before, runs particularly well on tablet computers.

You can check out the video after the break. Right now, Sterna describes it as a “basic adaptation” of MeeGo, and it looks like not everything works — but I wouldn’t expect some functions, like say, the phone dialer to work on the Archos 5 since it doesn’t have phone capabilities.

It’s a bit early to say whether MeeGo or other open source operating systems will be able to keep older tablets like the Archos 5 useful long after the expiration dates of their original software. But it’s certainly nice to see that users might have the option of swapping operating systems, much the way that installing a light weight Linux distribution can bring new life to an older PC designed to run Windows 95.

via MeeGo Experts

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2 replies on “Could MeeGo Linux breathe new life into older tablets?”

  1. I would love to try MeeGo on my (currently Android) M001. I know that Debian runs on it, but in its current state is less usable then the Slatedroid I have on it now.

  2. This post demonstrates just how shallow your understanding is about very basic computing concepts like software and operating systems.

    Perhaps as a best guess you surmised, “it looks like the Archos 5 isn’t just limited to Android”. In fact, Archos and the Community have supported the porting of the canonical hand held Linux distribution, Angstrom, to this very device for quite some time already. People have also installed Debian as well. Your statement was dead before it left your lips, and after it left your lips it left us all wondering where exactly you think these limitations come from. Hardware?

    I’m shocked that you think that there would be some fundamental hardware limitation that would prevent a proper operating system from being installed on the Archos 5. To my knowledge, the only company that does that kind of hardware sabotage is Apple, who regularly cripples devices to ensure that they can’t be used in ways that don’t support Apple’s business model. That’s fine for Apple but dumb for anybody to actually reward Apple for by buying such devices.

    In fact, any quality operating system like a proper distribution of Linux (which MeeGo and Angstrom are but Android is not) or Windows can basically be made to run and be perpetually updated and upgraded on any target hardware platform for which there is an initial compatibility. This is the point of software. Just like it’s a lot easier to create a copy of a JPEG file on your computer than it is to clone a physical photograph in your living room, it’s a lot easier to update software than it is to update hardware. Software products like Windows XP have been around for almost 10 years. Not just installed, but continually updated and upgraded. That makes 10 year old computers still viable today as well as allowing current computers to run the same quality product. In contrast, just over three years ago Apple was finalizing their “conversion” over to Intel hardware from PPC, tossing everybody’s hardware investments into the garbage. Moreover, a tablet from a few months ago that came with Android 1.6 installed will be inexplicably stuck there forever unless enough people somehow work around all of the inherent flaws of Android, and the best case scenario is that after freeing the tablet those developers will simply re-shackle the device to another soon-to-be-obsolete version of operating system. It’s not a solution. It’s a postponement. This isn’t a surprise. Microsoft sells software. They were more than happen to sell and support Windows XP for 10 years. That’s a huge return on investment when the expected life cycle of software is about 18-24 months. They made 8 years of extra profit. In contrast, Apple uses software to sell hardware, which is why they broke everybody’s old computers a few years ago and made us upgrade our hardware instead of giving us upgrades to their software. Similarly, Android is Google’s gift to device makers. If Google makes it easy and cheap for device makers to release complete products by just having to focus on the hardware and then use free Android, then the device makers have a shorter development cycle, and Google wins because the devices coerce the consumer into using and/or relying on Google services, which is how they make their money. Google has no incentive to make Android compatible with old devices, that hurts its ODM partners on which it relies. ODMs have no incentive to make Android compatible with old devices because they’re trying to sell new ones. So, everybody wins with Android except for the consumer.

    MeeGo involves a different type of ethic. It’s a real Linux distribution, which means what’s it’s on your computer you’ll be able to stay as modern and current as long as you want. That’s great for consumers, and since consumers are idiots, it probably won’t succeed.

    There is likely not a device which runs Android that can’t run MeeGo, considering that the current generation of ARM hardware was designed at a time when Android didn’t really exist as a commercial product and distributions of Linux like Open Embedded and Debian were the target platforms.

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