Archos announced a seven-inch Android 3.2 (“Honeycomb”) tablet due to ship in January for under $200. The Archos 70b is equipped with a 1.2GHz processor, and offers a 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, 8GB of storage, HDMI output, and support for Google apps and Android Market, says the company.
The Archos 70b is an enhanced version of the Archos 70 G8 (Generation 8), which shipped in 2010 for $275 with 8GB of memory, says Archos. It offers some considerable improvements at a lower $199 price.
Like the Archos 70, the Archos 70 appears to stick with an older, single-core Cortex-A8 processor, but the clock rate is boosted from 1GHz to 1.2GHz. In addition, RAM has doubled to 512MB, says the company.
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Archos won't reveal full specs until January when it will unveil the tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. However, the company did say the tablet will be thinner and lighter. (It's unclear if that means the Archos 70's 250GB hard disk drive (HDD) option is a thing of the past, as that model shipped in a fatter case than the flash version.)
The previous Archos 70 models also featured a back-facing two-megapixel camera, a front-facing VGA webcam, and Bluetooth. Both device and host USB 2.0 ports, as well as an accelerometer and other sensors, were also said to be available.
Whereas the Archos 70 launched with Android 2.2, the Archos 70b moves up to Android 3.2, an operating system that's designed for tablets. There's no word as to whether an Android 4.0 update is in the cards, however.
Unlike the original version, the Archos 70b offers Google's full suite of mobile applications, including Android Market, says Archos. There are also upgraded Archos multimedia apps for video and music, says the company.
Despite all these improvements, the tablet is still listed as a G8 tablet, as opposed to the newer range of dual-core, Cortex-A9 G9 Android tablets. These include the eight-inch Archos 80 G9 ($279) and 10.1-inch Archos 101 G9 ($349).
The company also offers its more affordable Arnova Android tablet line, including the new 9.7-inch Arnova 9 G2, which is about at the same level as the Archos 70b. Although it runs Android 2.3 instead of Honeycomb, the Arnova 9 G2 has an iPad-like 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768-pixel, IPS (in-plane switching) display, and features a 1GHz processor and 8GB of storage.
The Archos 70b will be available in January with the recommended retail price of $199, says Archos. More information should eventually appear on the Archos website.
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