I get the sense that a lot of you here are not the average consumers Archos targeted. You seem more adventurous, and like to test limits. So, I suspect, you are going to find your 7HTs will slow down and/or crash, if you haven't already had this happen.
Well, I've been there on the early flaky firmwares of the Archos 5IT. I've learned enough with the 5IT that I have very stable experiences with it now. With the 7HT I'm using the same principles and techniques I learned with the 5IT and having very very few slow downs and crashes. Here I'll share some of those principles and techniques. But first:Why the Slow Downs and Crashes
(If you just have to skip all this, scroll down to the Stability Strategies
section)1. Android History
Android is a very young OS, a baby less than 2 years old. Google modified a mature OS, Linux, to create Android with intention of running it on cell phones with small screens. Because Android is Open Source, unlike the iPhone, Windows Mobile, or the RIM OS, it became popular with developers and cell phone companies very quickly.
Our 7HTs run Android version 1.5, Cupcake. Versions 1.6 (the 5IT's OS), 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2 are available, too. According to reports I read last week Cupcake is still the most widely used Android Version. This year for the first time Android holds the second place in devices sold, RIM (Blackberrys) is first and iPhone is third. The Google Market (what Google calls the Android Market) which is Googles official Repository (or Store) now has over 50.000 Apps, half of what Apples Apps Store has. But Google got to 50.000 in a lot less time than Apple.
Because Android is such a nice Open Source OS, Tablet, Netbook, and Laptop manufacturers have started using it on their products. Archos was one of the first Tablet companies to offer an Android Tablet - the Archo 5 Internet Tablet. But Google didn't design Android for Tablet computers. The 5IT was very very flaky when Archos released it (think Windows Vista).
There were issues Archos had to overcome to run Android on their 5 inch Tablet and eventually the 7HT:1. Screen Size
- Android was not designed to run on an 800x480 screen and a number of Android Apps failed on the 5IT for that reason.2. Phone
- Android expected to see phone hardware and the Archos tablet did not have it.3. Hardware Buttons
- Google wanted hardware buttons for functions like: Home, Back, and Menu. Archos Tables do not have those and they use some of the screen to provide software implementations of those buttons.4. Storage
- Cell phones have very little physical space. (Good luck on finding a cell phone with a 5 inch screen.) The Android Operating System uses Internal Memory (not the same thing as what Archos calls Internal Memory) for managing the OS. MicroSD cards provided the only storage for cell phone users to save photos, videos, music and such.
Archos had plenty space in their Tablets so they created them with Hard Drives, HD, versions and with Solid State Drives, SSD, versions for User Storage. Then they added a microSDHC slot for the SSD versions. This addition kinda confused things because Android developers assumed SD Card was the only place the user had, and they shoud write to, for storing files.5. Memory Management
- Android assumes it's on a cell phone which is almost always on. So Android Apps almost never close. It also assumes the primary use of the cell phones is making phone calls. Running Android Apps is secondary and subordinate to phone calls, so Android can stop all the Apps to handle phone calls. Google didn't expect Android users to be running a bunch of Apps and not making phone calls. So they didn't spend much effort on managing the memory of a bunch of running Apps.
Along comes Archos with their 5 inch Tablet and no phone. Archos was desperate for money so the Archos Execs locked their Devs in sound proof rooms and release the 5IT way too early. Back in Oct 2009 folks like me who bought them are installing and running Apps like crazy on the 5IT. Then we experienced the joy of the 5ITs bogging down, freezing and crashing. Really bad reviews. A lot of returned 5ITs.
A bunch of us hung in there, and with the help of the ArchosFans Support Forum, with some Archos Staff participating, we've gotten plenty of Firmware upgrades from Archos, great techniques from our discussions and the tools to manage memory from some cool Android Apps..
Eventually, those, like me, who hung in are getting very stable, satisfying experience from our 5ITs. I was so involved in those discussions that some members of the 5IT Forum asked me to write a 5IT Stability page for our Wiki. New owners of 5ITs are still directed to that Wiki page.
That's it for the history. I feel it was important to share it with you so you'd get a feeling for where we've been and why we're here.2. Today - The 7HT
The rumors spread that Archos was going to make a 7IT with more features than the 5IT. Finally came the announcement of the 7HT and most of us on the 5IT forum, including me, were very disappointed. I even bought a 9 inch tablet which promised features like the 7IT. It didn't work out. More and more I focused on the features Archos advertised. I watched the prerelease videos by Charbax and others.
I pre-ordered on 22 Apr. All I wanted from the 7HT was an eBook Reader, a Photo Album a web surfer, and a Movie Viewer. And that's what I got out of the box - it does everything I wanted. This is the first computer I've owned which I consider like an appliance. I didn't have to tweek it out of the box, but I knew how to from my 5IT experience.
So, more and more, I ventured into the 7HT Forum, and I start working on the 7HT portion of our Wiki using the 5IT pages Buster developed as models. My 7HT arrived on Monday 24 May one day early. I see a whole bunch of new names show up on our AF Forum excited about the 7HT, and folks playing with the 7HT in ways Archos with their 8 page User Guide never really prepared us for.
Playing with my new 7HT I realize if folks venture off the path where Archos directed them, then they are going to have the same stability problems we encountered with the 5IT. If you've read this far, here, finally - Adventurous Pioneers, are some strategies for improving your experience with the 7HT.Stability Strategies
Here I assume you've just opened the box. If you've moved on skip to where you come in but you might want to come back here later.1. The Box is Open
- If your read English, read page 3 of the User Guide before you plug your 7HT to power.2. Turn on Selection Sound
- Connect - your 7HT to a power source
- Stop - using the Installation Wizard immediately after Calibration
- Set - your 7HT aside to fully charge. The screen will dim in a minute or so. After about an hour to an hour and a half, (for me) the Red Led will turn Yellow and you can ...
- Complete - the Installation Wizard.
- Do not run any Apps
- Download - and copy the .img Firmware to update to your 7HT following the Archos instructions. This update replaces EVERYTHING on your 7HT so there's no point in running any Apps before you do this.
- Your done - with 1. The Box is Open
Tablet devices are computers which receive most of their input through the screen. When busy, like other computers, Tablets stack their input in a queue for processing later when they're not busy. As a new user you don't know how long it takes the 7HT to process your command.
The 7HT, like the 5IT, provides a way to tell you when it's too busy to process your command. You can set a Selection Sound to occur whenever you tap the screen to request the 7HT to do something for you. If you don't hear that sound your 7HT is busy and further tapping won't help and can even make things worse.
Here's how to turn on the Selection Sound:
1. Tap - the Menu Button (square button at the far right of the bar at the top of the screen)
2. Wait - for the White Menu Bar to appear at the bottom of the screen
3. Tap - the Settings item at the far right of the Menu
4. Wait - for the Setting screen to appear
5. Tap - the second item - Sound & display
6. Wait - for the Sound & Display screen
7. Tap - the third item - Selection sound
8. Notice - the Green Check mark indicating the item is selected.
9. Your done - tap the Home icon at the far left of the Status bar at the top of the screen.
Now every time you tap the screen to make a selection you'll hear a sound. If you do not hear the sound STOP and WAIT for the 7HT to catch up with you then you will hear the sound.3. Install the ATMF App and Widget
ATMF is short for Advanced Task Manager Free. This App lets you end any App, or all Apps, running on your 7HT except Apps you put into an Exclude List. It also includes a Widget called "Advanced Task Manager Free" in the Widget list and "Press to end" under its icon on a Home Screen.
When your 7HT slows down you can tap the "Press to end" widget icon and ATMF will end all running Apps except those on your Exclude List. Then it displays a message telling you how many applications it ended. I have this widget in all my Home Screens. I tap this widget A LOT.
1. Download ATMF - Go to the Task Managers section of our Wiki's Applications page, click: Here. Download it to your PC. The file name is: Advanced Task Manager Free 1.6.1.apk4. Set up your Exclude List
2. Attach your 7HT to your PC - So you can copy the ATMF file to your 7HT
3. Copy - the file, Advanced Task Manager Free 1.6.1.apk, to your 7HT root (not in any folder)
4. Detach the 7HT from your PC - Go sit down and relax
5. Open the Files App - Wait for the Files screen
6. Select "Internal Memory" - Wait for the Internal Memory screen
7. Scroll Until - you find the file: Advanced Task Manager Free 1.6.1.apk
8. Select the File - Wait until the install screen appears
9. Select Install - Wait until the install is done
10. Select Home - Tap the Home icon in the top left of the Status Bar
Initially there is at least one App which you want to place on the ATMF Exclude list: A Wizard
. This App is the "Archos Wizard" and experience on the 5IT has shown that bad things can happen if you don't exclude it. Here's how to place it on the ATMF Exclude List:
1. Open the Apps Menu - Tap the "Apps Tab" on the right of your Home Screen and wait for the Apps menu to appear
2. Open the ATMF App - The ATF App should be the first app on the top row of the Apps Menu screen. It has a blue gear icon and is labeled "Advanced Task Manager Free": TAP IT
3. Wait - for the ATMF screen. It will have 5 Tabs
4. Notice - the far left tab labeled Apps
5. Find - the Wizard App. It should be at or near the top. Scroll to find it if reuired
6. Press - and hold over the word "Wizard" until the Actions Menu appears
7. Look - Down the list until you see the Exclude item: TAP IT
8. Notice - When the ATMF screen returns a RED X icon replaced the grayed out check icon
9. Your done - here. Tap the Home icon in the status bar to return to the Home Screen.
5. Install the "Press to end" Widget
This is the last step. Once you do this you can end all running Apps any time you can tap the Press to end
widget. I do this:
- Immediately after my 7HT powers on
- Before I Suspend my 7HT
- When I'm finished, for now, using any App including Settings and Files.
- Anytime I feel I might have forgotten to do it earlier
- Whenever my 7HT is going slower than I think it should, which isn't very often.
If you've followed the directions in step 4 for the Exclude List you should be looking at a Home Screen and you'll see the Blue Gear icon for ATMF to the right of the Home icon in the Status Bar. From there here's how to install "Press to end":
1. Press - and hold an icon-free area in the middle of the Home Screen.
2. Wait - until the Add to Home screen menu appears, then lift your finger or stylus
3. Notice - the second item is Widgets - TAP IT
4. Wait - until the Choose widget menu appears
5. Notice - at or near the top is Advanced Task Manager Free: TAP IT
6. Wait - until the Home Screen appears
7. Notice - A Blue Gear icon labeled "Press to end" rests on your Home Screen
8. Notice - ATMF application icon which should still be in the left of the Status Bar at the top
9. Tap - the "Press to end" icon
10. Wait - until you see the ATMF message telling how many applications it ended
11. Notice - the Blue Gear icon in the Status Bar is gone. ATMF is just another App which "Press to end" ended. You don't need to to have it running all the time. Only when you want to add or remove an App from the Exclude List. Or when you want to end just one or a few Apps.
12. Sit - back and congratulate yourself - you're done! You can now now manage your running Tasks to provide you more stable, hence, enjoyable 7HT experiences.
After discussion dies down for this topic I'll put most of it's content in our Wiki page: Archos 7HT Stability
Please point out typos and confusing text. This has been a lot of typing and I'm done for now.