Archos has always been at the forefront of embedded ARM innovations in portable gadgets (full disclosure, I am also the webmaster of ArchosFans.com and Forum.ArchosFans.com). Archos newest generation 8 line of devices is to be announced and released within a month or two from now, which are to include at least 5 tablet sizes, with Android 2.2 compatibility, based on the new Texas Instruments OMAP3630 45nm ARM Cortex A8 processor, same as in the Droid X and Droid 2, to provide even more advanced OpenGL 3D acceleration and improved video decoding and encoding features.
So as at least 5 different skews or sizes of Android tablets are to be released by Archos from 2.8″ to 10″ with planned pricing between $100 and $350 unlocked and out of any required contracts. This is why I think that this new series of Archos Android tablets is probably to be the cheapest ARM Cortex A8 based Android tablets to be available broadly on the market thus far.
This new Archos 32 (8GB), to be priced at and below $149, comes with a 3.2″ 400×240 WQVGA touch screen, WiFi and Bluetooth, composite video output, USB host, support for all video codecs including Mpeg4, H264, WMV, Mpeg2 and more at up to 720p and 12mbit/s bitrates and including audio codecs support such as Mp3, Flac, WMA and Ogg Vorbis. It is I think basically placed as a cheaper alternative to the iPod Touch, using the latest Android and being more opened in the way it interoperates with Windows, Mac and Linux machines not requiring synchronization through a software like iTunes, but connecting as a standard USB mass storage device.
While it would be best for these Archos Android tablets to receive the permission from Google to come with the Google Marketplace pre-installed on them, it may be that Google might still not allow it. Though it is then also very likely that users of the product will easily be able to find a Market4Archos.apk file on the Internet to easily install the full Google Marketplace, Gmail and other Google Apps experiences to this device exactly as if the feature was pre-installed officially. I am still confident that Google will soon expand Google Marketplace to many new types of devices, not only to $500+ Android smart phones, but also to Tablets, Laptops with the Chrome browser icon and Set-top-boxes.
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