Another new month, another trade show. Archos
, a France-based portable
media player company, has chosen Germany's CeBIT show to announce their
newest products: a color e-reader and an Android tablet. Color e-readers
are a bit of a holy grail. But unfortunately, there's no magical color E
Ink or Pixel Qi display here; it's relying on an LCD, which is also
used in the NOOK
Color. But then again, Archos has been somewhat of a
bargain brand for years, so it's no surprise to see a more cost
efficient panel being used.
The E-reader will go by the name 7ob. It sports a 7" resistive touch
panel (with an 800x480 resolution), 4GB of memory and a slot for SDHC
cards. There's also support for PDF and EPUB, video playback and web
surfing via an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connection. The internal battery is
reportedly good for seven hours of video playback, which is a huge feat
considering just how much power an LCD usually drains. If you're just
surfing the web, it will last for up to eight house. There's also a
mini-USB jack (useful for transferring files, not for charging), and
will retail in Europe for 129 Euros. Unfortunately, there seems to be no
plans yet to expand availability, but maybe that'll happen in due time.
The company didn't stop there; they also showcased an engineering
prototype of one of their first Arnova devices: an 8" Android tablet
that will also sell for 129 Euros. That one should go on sale in 3
weeks, and it won't be aimed at the iPad market; instead, it'll be a
lower-end device (likely with Android 2.1) and will be marketed towards
those who aren't interested in shelling out major bucks on a top tier
tablet. This one will be followed by two more tablets: a 7" model and a
10" model, both of which will have micro-SD memory card slots,
USB/mini-USB ports, audio in/out ports and a touch-sensitive mouth
button next to the screen for navigation.
Lots of details are still being kept under wraps, but it's clear that
Archos will be one putting pricing pressure on "the other guys."