Archos Ushers In Five Android Tablets To Battle iPad

Archos is to launch five Android-based tablets, with prices starting at £64, to challenge Apple in a growing market

While Samsung has captured headlines with its Galaxy Tab Android tablet, Archos said on 31 August it is launching five Android-based tablets priced from $99 (£64) to $349.

The devices, which come more than four months after Apple shook up the computing world with its popular iPad tablet computer, target the same activity the iPad made enjoyable for a few million users.

That is, the Archos tablets enable easy web browsing and access to online games, music, HD video, electronic books, social networking and other apps. All five gadgets employ a 1 GHz processor, Archos said in a statement.

Smartphone-like tablet

Available in September at 4 GB of storage, at a recommended retail price of $99.99, the Archos 28 device is almost more smartphone than it is tablet, though without the calling capabilities.

The gadget sports a 2.8 inch touchscreen, along with video, Internet browsing, 3D games and music apps. Archos bills it as “the first WiFi connected Android device below the psychological $100 or 100€ price point”.

The Archos 32, available later this month with 8 GB of storage for a suggested retail price of $149.99, is a cut above the Archos 28.

The Wi-Fi-enabled device sports a 3.2-inch touchscreen connected Android player and is geared for video and music playback (including HD video at 720p). A built-in camera lets users shoot video.

HD camcorder included

The Archos 43 is coming this autumn with a suggested price of $199 for 8 GB. The device enables full web browsing on a 4.3-inch screen, comparable to the Motorola Droid X or HTC Evo 4G.

This unit sports a 2 megapixel HD camcorder to capture video and photos than end user can share on the web or on a HD TV screen.

Edging into the higher end of the new Archos Android line, the Archos 70 has a built-in webcam to enable video calls, filling a major gap that stuck in the craw of many early iPad users.

This device sports a 7-inch touchscreen and will be available this autumn for $274.99 with 8 GB of storage and $349.99 for 250 GB of storage.

Finally, the Archos 101 has a 10.1-inch touchscreen yet only weighs just over one pound. Archos expects this gadget to be popular among consumers who want a complete web application experience.

The Archos 101 will start at $299.99 for 8GB, with a 16 GB version available for $349.99.

Flash support

Offering devices with touchscreens ranging from a tiny 2.8 inches to 10.1 inches shows that Archos is trying to cover all of its bases.

Engadget, which tested all the devices, said the units will ship with Android 2.2.

This means the devices will support Adobe Flash content, something the iPad doesn’t do.

With Samsung’s Galaxy Tab scheduled to be unveiled on 2 September in Berlin and other tablets on the way, Archos is making its presence felt in a market that is heating up ahead of the Christmas season.