Archos’ current range of Android players/tablets sure are some of the best bang for the buck at the moment. If one wishes connectivity on the go, the Archos 28 to 101 deliver rather high quality hardware (not the screens but the innards), for a price that isn’t much higher than Chinese off-brand devices.
There’s two things however that are obvious drawbacks with the Archos Internet Tablets. The minor issue is a lack of root user access (same as most other Android devices), the major flaw is that they have no Android Market support.
While the advantage of Market access is pretty obvious – can’t have Angry Birds or similar vitally important apps without it – having a root user on an Archos is nice to have, but probably not quite as essential. There are two ways of gaining root on an Archos – one involves installing Archos’ SDE and voids your warranty; the other one is an easy single-ish-click affair, perfectly safe and reversible. It’s called Archangel (here’s the direct link to the newest Archangel version).
While the system still stays read-only with Archangel, contrary to the SDE/custom kernel rooting method, there are still some wonderful things one can do with it. Some examples include moving the Linux swap file from the player’s internal memory to the SD card or disabling it entirely, supposedly prolonging the life of the memory since it doesn’t get bombarded with random R/W access. Another application (which might be morally debatable) is loading a hosts file at startup that blocks ads – in any browser and the embedded ones in applications.
Thanks to these kind hackers, both Market and root access can be added easily, as linked above. Thanks as well to the XDA Developers forum for hosting all this knowledge that makes life just a bit easier.