Colo. – Archos expects to be the
first entrant in a category of what it calls family-priced tablet-style
portable digital devices intended mainly for entertainment and communications
The supplier of MP3 players, portable media players (PMPs),
Internet media tablets and tablet PCs plans June 1 shipments of the
$199-suggested Archos 7, an Android-based tablet-style device equipped with Wi-Fi
802.11b/g, 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, virtual keyboard, and no hard buttons
but an on/off button.
Dubbed a “home tablet,” the Archos 7 is designed for portable use
in and out of the house by multiple family members, and it’s positioned as an
affordable bridge between small-screen smartphones and larger-screen tablet PCs
and laptops, said Ron Ferguson, the company’s North America senior VP/GM.
“We’re going to make a statement in affordable tablets,” he told TWICE. “Archos
will play broad and deep in this space.”
The Archos 7 is also significantly lower in price than the $499
starting price of the more fully featured Apple iPad, enabling it to appeal to
a broader market segment of families that would share the device with young
children, he noted. “We’re not in direct competition with the iPad,” he said.
The Archos 7 is more convenient to use than tablet PCs and
laptops because of its light weight, 0.47-inch depth, “very quick boot-up”
time, and long battery life, Ferguson said. A
full charge delivers 42 hours of music playback, seven hours of video playback
or seven hours of active Web browsing.
The multitasking device will deliver “very simple connectivity to
the Internet” to check news and email, browse the Web with Flash support, and
communicate via social-network sites, he explained. For entertainment, the
device functions as a portable media player, e-book reader supporting the EPUB
format and game player.
At launch, about 1,000 free downloadable Android apps designed
specifically for optimum operation on the Archos 7 will be available through a
site created by Archos for third-party Android apps intended for Archos tablet-style
devices. The company might also open up the site to non-cellular devices
offered by other suppliers, he added.
The tablet, already available for preorder at Amazon, features
Android 1.5 OS, 8GB of embedded flash memory, MicroSDHC slot supporting 32GB memory
cards, 720p high-definition video playback, TV output, three customizable home
screens, built-in stereo speakers, mini USB port and headphone jack. For email,
it connects to POP3 and IMAP 4 email services and accesses Outlook Web Access
for corporate email.
To achieve the $199 price point, Archos eliminated some of the
advanced features of its more expensive Archos 5 Internet media tablet, which
features 5-inch touchscreen and 800MHz processor. The Archos 5 ranges in price
from $250 to $500 with capacities ranging from 8GB to 500GB. The Archos 5 uses
the Android OS as well as Archos’s proprietary OS for advanced media features,
such as the ability to wirelessly download protected CinemaNow movies via Wi-Fi
or play protected video content side-loaded from a PC.
Compared to the Archos 5, the Archos 7 dispenses with GPS,
playback of protected movie downloads, accelerometer and optional DVR dock to
record TV shows. Compared to other touchscreen devices, it lacks multitouch
capability. Because it lacks an accelerometer, it can be used only in landscape