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Saturday, April 9, 2011

An Android tablet alternative to the iPad from Archos.

Think tablet and most of us think iPad. This isn't surprising as iPad has had a long time to build the name recognition and ingrain itself into the mind of the consumer. Those who build Android devices have only now gotten started on producing competitors that even start to approch the capabilities and ease of use of Apple's offering.

Looking on the horizon, there are literally hundreds of models just out of sight that are ready for their debut in the marketplace. By this time next year, we'll be knee deep in 5, 7, 10 and even 12" Android devices. But, there is a manufacturer that offers Android tablets right now and in a variety of sizes too.

Their biggest problem? Marketing.

Archos has been around for years and virtually no one had heard of them in the United States (have you?)and that's a shame. With offerings that range from MP3 players no larger than a stick of gum to full sized tablets , Archos seems to be running under the radar of the common consumer.

Sticking to the Android theme, Archos has platforms with 2.5". 3.2" and 4.3" screens that appear and operate exactly like a typical Android cell phone- without the phone part. Relying on wifi for an internet connection, these are able to use most of the same apps with the same performance and results as a $75/mo. cell phone would provide.

Moving up in size, 5, 7 and 10 inch models are available that mimic the tablet form factor and some of them have memory up to 250G in size (the iPad maxes out at 64G).

The Archos 101 internet tablet
(source: Engadget)
Is it better than the iPad? No- not yet. Most of the tablets aren't on the Honeycomb version of Android software (yet) and the ease of use may not be at the Apple level for awhile. But for those of use who could use the utility of the Apps without the inflated costs of cell phone service, the Archos line deserves your consideration, especially when you consider the model most comparable to the iPad (the 10" model) comes in at $300 less than the model from Cupertino.

I'm looking at getting one to keep near the couch upstairs for casual browsing, checking e-mail and other impulsive, light duty computer use.

BTW, I found an interesting review of the internet tablet in the photo. Go here to see it.

Go to the Archos site here and maybe next time someone mentions a tablet computer, you'll think of more than the iPad.

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