Archos' Android Tablet Looks Imminent--and Slick
That's the Android operating system running on this fairly slick looking ARCHOS tablet, which is concrete proof that Android is headed for more than just smartphones. As JKOnTheRun notes, the ARCHOS 5 Android-based Internet Tablet isn't scheduled to go on sale until September 15th, but online retailer B&H jumped the gun and has a 500GB version of it shown and listed on its site. The ARCHOS 5 is a 5-inch slate, and JKOnTheRun reports that at one time B&H listed both HDD and SSD models, with prices ranging from $294 to $420, depending on configuration. Those specs have since been removed.
At those prices, I'm betting this tablet has a chance. Tablet computers have never taken the market by storm, but they have their loyal users, and ARCHOS' primarily video-focused devices have had a loyal user base for years. How might people use these tablets, will they get their own applications, and is there a good future for Android on them?
I don't doubt that the video experience on the ARCHOS Android tablets will be much better than watching video on a smartphone. ARCHOS has made slick case designs and very easy-to-use devices for storing and watching video on a mobile basis for a long time. I could easily see, say, a train commuter wanting one of these devices for storing fairly large video libraries (500GB appears to be the maximum available) and playing them while on the move. I often see people watching video on iPhones, and this device looks like its very portable, with a bigger, nicer display. It also supports TV recording and HD playback, in addition to games, e-mail, and the many good apps for Android.
One big question about these Android tablets is whether they should get their own dedicated app stores or not, which we wrote about here. ARCHOS has already launched its AppsLib Android app store, dedicated to "high-end" Android applications, including applications for its new tablets. While most people agree that there are big opportunities for open source app stores, and Android Market is already doing a very healthy $60 million a year in business, some people don't feel that Android should have fragmented app stores.
Be that as it may, the more I look at this new tablet (and I have used previous ARCHOS video tablets), the more I think that I wouldn't mind getting one as a holiday present. From the many slick, free Android applications to storing and watching video, I'm sure I'd use it.