Archos announced it was working on Android-based multimedia tablets in lots of form factors long before the iPad got everyone tablet-crazy. This week, the company began shipping its 4.3-inch and 7-inch models to customers in the US and Europe, while some Europeans may have gotten their 10.1-inch units early.
The Archos 43 is straightforward: 4.3″ FWVGA screen (480×854 pixels), Android 2.2 OS with an Archos skin, 1GHz ARM processor and 16 GB of flash memory for $250. (The tech specs say it also comes in an 8GB version, but that’s not an option now at the Archos store.)
The Archos 70 is a little more interesting, if only because it’s actually slightly more retro. It’s got the same guts as the 43, but a slightly lower-resolution screen (800 by 480) and a 250 GB hard drive (the kind that spins) option that’s forthcoming for $350. (Right now, only the 8GB flash model for $280 is available — which doesn’t seem like so much of an upgrade over the 43, with fewer pixels and less memory.)
Archos also has a 2.8-inch Froyo PMP for $100 — a nice little iPod Touch/Nano replacement — but most of its Android units are still officially unavailable. The 10.1-inch version was briefly reported to be shipping in Europe, but has since either been pulled or sold out. There’s also a 3.2-inch PMP with a video camera that’s still on the way.
That 250 GB hard drive reminds me that most of the companies releasing Android tablets now have been developing them for years — long enough that they were never really designed to compete with the iPad, but the iPod Classic and iPod Touch. It’s as if the iPhone’s touchscreen created an evolutionary fork in media players, with the slim, oversized iPad going one way and the square, high-capacity Archos 70 going another.
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Fuente: Gadget Lab