Are developers going to be provided with an SDK outside of the normal Android one? I'd like to be able to develop using and accessing some of the Archos specific things, but can't touch them with the normal SDK. If a user has purchased a codec - can't I use that in my program for something?
I did ask this question to my Archos contact as well but have not yet received detailed explanation how the connection between Archos OS and Android OS could be provided to third party Android applications.
If I would try to guess right now, the Android apps do get basic audio and video support based on those codecs that come included for free with Android OS, those are probably hardware accelerated as well, maybe also with a limited resolution even though Archos OS can support much more in terms of multimedia. I saw in some video from the Google I(O that it's Ogg Vorbis, H264, mp3 and a few other codecs but at limited resolutions and bitrates.
I wonder if AppsLib.com will release more guidelines and more specific SDK tools to help third party developers hook into MKV 720p, Youtube HD style HD video streaming from the web, Flac/DivX/Mpeg2 and so many other Archos specifics. For example, someone could make a really powerful Podcatcher application that would support the downloading, streaming and progressive playback of video and audio podcasts in any formats and resolutions. Someone like Amazon could make a HD video-on-demand application, DVR related apps or other.
Since the Archos 5 IT wasn't released as an offical Google Experience device, are there plans to make it one now? You've said "My contact at Archos is telling me that Archos is in talks with Google to get those apps for when Archos releases the Donut update." So I guess I'm asking if "in talks" means. Google has agreed to make it a Google Experience device and we're working it out. Or a, we're talking with them, but no one has agreed on anything yet. Or a final answer (which due to other reports I'd be inclined to believe), google denied us originally and we're trying to get it now.
I'm not totally sure what the exact wording is for the Google apps.
But what I understood is the same that we have been speculating on the forum, that since Android 1.6 brings WVGA, and plenty new devices are coming with WVGA perhaps even higher resolutions, all from Netbooks to new smartphones, that it makes it more likely that Google will provide their apps at those resolutions for more devices. And that should include Archos logically as well.
For sure there has been "conditions" to get those Google apps so far. One could speculate if the condition is a large amount of money. I don't think so, but I don't know for sure. I think the condition has so far been that only 3 devices from HTC and 1 device from Samsung has been released at all with Android 1.5, that all of those have the same specs, they even all run on the same ARM11 processor from Qualcomm (if I am not mistaken). They all only are 480x320 and come with the exact same hardware features apart from a slide-out keyboard on the G1.
So for sure there are "money transactions" going on between HTC, Samsung and Google. Yet those I think are most likely because Google partnered up with those manufacturers early, especially HTC, to bring out the first Android devices and invest huge amounts of engineers time to optimize Android on those first Android devices to not only help HTC but to really launch those first Android devices and show the market that the Android OS is reliable.
Now though, there are like 28 Android devices that will be on the market before Christmas, so only now I think the "Google experience" is going to be experienced on much more different types of hardwares, by many more different manufacturers. I don't think all the manufacturers releasing with 1.6 or 2.0 have had to invest all the same kind of efforts into making this work that HTC and perhaps also Samsung have had to do to be the first Androids on the market.
So "out of the box" support for these will not work regardless, unless a firmware update is provided by archos to enable us to have root (doubtful) or they install the apps themselves (possible).
While I am looking forward to more concrete infos from Archos and perhaps from Google if we can really trust all the Google apps come with the Donut update or not, I really don't believe it is in Google's interest to block the "Google experience" on more devices. It'd be like blocking the Chrome browser on different branches and implementations of Chrome OS, it just doesn't make sense.
Although monetization of Mobile apps and ads in mobile browsers, geolocalized advertising and services, all that has not really been proven for Google yet as generating really significative revenues, since Archos supports the plugin system, then as alsutton talks about, if it comes to that, perhaps Archos should at least be allowed to sell a "Google plugin" or something for $30 or however much Google asks in licencing per device. Although that kind of makes Google look bad for asking for licencing of their apps like that.
I would gladly pay $10 per year or something for ads-free Google services on Android and everywhere else, simply tied to ones Google account, they could charge users over Google checkout.