I think more people would appreciate the Archos if they'd done what you've done and read forums like this one and were prepared for the device being unstable in various ways (but less so week to week as the firmware evolves). When one sets one's expectations realistically, it makes all the difference in one's experience.
And to be fair, many of them were early adapters bought this little gizmo in October before anyone knew Archos was really rushing the device out a bit too soon to hit the crucial Christmas market. And many of them who wanted to use the this little gizmo in the ways it was designed to be used got a pretty legitimately unpleasant surprise in the buggy initial firmware and the device-bricking (albeit temporarily) initial updates! There were no warnings on forums for them to read yet because they were the ones who had to trudge out and write them, rather than watch a mvie or listen to music on their new gizmo!
So, even if the A5A would have been perfect for them otherwise, there's no second chance for a first impression. And that's too bad, but that's the way the story goes sometimes. Some people can get past some things, but we all have our showstoppers. This was that for a few people.
So let's move past those people for the moment, to the ones that could soldier on, and to the lucky ones who bought a few firmwares in past the worst of the bugs..
In this group, there are some people with expectations for this little gizmo to do things they want to do, but it can't do. So you get 'This device is broken not because it's broken broken but because it doesn't work the way my old device did!
', or '...because it doesn't work the way I'd like it to!
'), I'd still say that a lot of people that don't like the A5A are perfectly reasonable, they just wound up with the wrong device for them.
In the same way, imagine three neighbours who had 3 expensive vehicles as their daily drivers, One has a luxury cruiser, one has a street-legal racer and the third has an off-road monster. And if they all had to switch vehicles for the week, the cruiser guy and the Off-roader would find the racer cramped, uncomfortable, overcomplicated and overpowered and impractical. The racer and the off-roader would find the cruiser too soft, unresponsive and impractical for anything other than daily driving. And the racer and the cruiser would find the off-roader sits way too high, has too high a centre of gravity making for harrowing turns at speed and too big to park anywhere!
And the truth is, they're all fine vehicles, best of breed at what they do. The trick is to make sure the right driver winds up with the right vehicle.
The A5A isn't the right device for everybody. Once you get past the genuine bugs, you can read that all over the forums. Some want it as a iPod Touch, a PSP, a touchscreen netbook, a TomTom, a Droid, A TiVo and all sorts of other things that it's not. And all of those other things are good in their own way, they're just not this.
And when the right person winds up playing around with this thing, they think to themselves 'Finally! This is just right!'. Those are the people who will be most likely to post in this thread. Not because they're the best or the A5A is the best. it's just that they stumbled across a little gizmo that does more of what they want a little gizmo to do than any of the other little gizmos like it.
And that ain't bad for we lucky few who got what we wanted for Hanukkah of Christmas or national shooping day or whatever you enjoy chez vous
So, my sincere wish for all we gizmophiles this season is, May we all find the right little gizmos for all of us, whatever those might be!