French consumer electronics company Archos introduced the first under $200 Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) tablet yesterday.
So now the race to the cheapest usable tablet, which officially began with the Kindle Fire, is officially underway. We expect to see many more tablets available for less than $200 in the next few months and over the next year.
The new Archos 70b internet tablet will have a suggested retail value of $199 in the US, the same as the Kindle Fire. Unlike the Kindle Fire, the Archos 70b will featured unfettered use of Android 3.2. Users will be able to get to the Android Market, and use standard Android apps, which cannot be easily done with the Fire (without prior approval from Amazon).
The Archos 70b has a 7 inch touchscreen with 1024×600 resolution, a 1.2 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage. For comparison, the Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet also have 7 inch screens with the same resolution. They have dual core 1 GHz processors in them though. The Fire has 512 MB of RAM, the Nook Tablet has 1 GB of RAM.
The Archos 70b has an SD card slot, and an HDMI output, but otherwise it is rather limited, feature wise. But with cheap tablets, well, that’s the way it’s going to be.
Archos doesn’t have near the marketing muscle that Amazon does. The Archos 70b will earn its spot on the store shelf, but may not get a huge amount of attention from shoppers. Especially considering more cheap tablets are coming down the pike, including a $99 tablet that sports the new Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
Archos plans to launch the tablet next month.