Archos unveils 80 and 101 G9, the fastest and cheapest Android Honeycomb tablets yet

Archos has been making tablets, and specifically Android-powered tablets for a long, long time – longer than anyone else in fact. However, let’s face it: the company isn’t necessarily the first (or second, or third) that comes to mind when you think of high-spec high-performance devices. Up until now, Archos seemed quite happy with the niche it appeared to have thoughtfully carved for itself: that of cheap tablets that were based on old versions of Android. Moreover, none of those Archos tablets of yesteryear had access to the Android Market, which sounds like a clear turnoff for any respectable geek.

Yet somehow Archos managed to sell a decent amount of tablets, and that may have everything to do with how cheap Archos products usually are, as well as how good they’ve always been at media playback.

Today, however, Archos decided it was time for a change in its brand’s perception, and unveiled not one, but two tablets. These are part of Archos’ ninth generation of products, and are therefore referred to as ‘G9’ or ‘Gen9’ alongside the model numbers which represent their screen sizes.

But enough with the intro. The tablets announced today are the Archos 80 and 101 G9, and these are the most powerful Android-powered tablets to date.

As you have undoubtedly gathered, the 80 G9 has an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen with 1024×768 resolution, and the 101 G9 has a 1280×800 10.1-inch screen. Other than that, they have basically identical hardware.

Archos 80 G9:

Archos 101 G9:

Both tablets come with a dual-core 1.5 GHz TI processor, 16 GB of flash storage or a 250 GB spinning hard drive (not something you see often in the tablet world, for sure), a microSD card slot (available for the versions with flash-based storage), a 720p HD front-facing camera for video conferencing, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, HDMI out, a kickstand, and a full size USB port.

Both tablets will run Android 3.1 Honeycomb when they launch in late September. Let’s hope that Archos will bring them updates to Android Ice Cream Sandwich, since that version of the OS is going to launch basically just a couple of months after these tablets hit the streets. Archos will be showing the G9 tablets at IFA Berlin at the beginning of September.

Here’s a quick presentation video courtesy of ArchosFans:

Now make sure you’re sitting down, since pricing information follows. The 80 G9, one of the very few tablets in the market to have a 4:3 display form factor (alongside Apple’s iPads) will cost $279. The 10.1-inch 101 G9 will cost $349.

Yeah. Cheap. And, uncharacteristically for Archos, very, very powerful.

Both tablets will be sold having only Wi-Fi connectivity, without 3G on board, however Archos will also sell a 3G dongle that will be supported by the tablets via their USB port. The dongle will retail for $49.

The only thing left to hope for is a decent battery. It’s unclear what capacity batteries Archos will use, and it would really be a shame to see these tablets hampered by three-hour battery life.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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