updated 01:55 pm EDT, Thu June 23, 2011
Archos 80 G9 and 101 G9 tablets arrive
Archos took its turn at entering the full Android tablet category Thursday with the formal unveiling of its ninth-generation slates. The eight-inch and 10-inch 80 G9 and 101 G9 will both run Android 3.1 from the start and are unique in depending on spinning hard drives rather than flash. Either uses Seagate's Momentus Thin drives to fit as much as 250GB of storage.
Both designs have learned lessons from the rough launch of earlier Android 2-based tablets and are using a stock interface with Android Market, which had been kicked off of the older models and left Archos to use its own custom store. Both are some of the first Android 3 tablets to use a chip other than an NVIDIA Tegra 2, moving to potentially much faster 1.5GHz, dual-core TI OMAP processors that can play 1080p video
The 101 G9 is the most conventional with a 1280x800 widescreen, but the 80 G9 is unusual in its dimensions: the tablet has an iPad-like 1024x768 resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio, neither of which have been seen in earnest with Google's latest OS. Both have the option of a USB-based 3G modem that can give them cellular access without paying for the option up front.
Archos won't ship eitehr system until late September but is counting on the hard drives and other price drops to compete against Apple and most of its bigger rivals. An 90 G9 will cost just $279 in the US and will only be slightly less expensive than the 101 G9, which at $349 should be the least expensive on the platform. The 3G modem will cost $49.
Archos was one of the earliest companies to enter into tablets and has had smaller designs on the market for several years, but it has had trouble gaining a large amount of share outside of its home country of France. The G9 models are some of its first to compete more directly and could potentially lure away the low end of the market in the US, especially of crossover devices like the Nook Color.