Archos 7 and 8 to join tablet party

The Archos 8 (left) and 7 (right) Home Tablet multimedia devices offer a budget, big screen, internet-enabled multimedia experience for the home

French consumer electronics company Archos has revealed two new additions to its web-enabled multimedia range which are aimed for use in the home. The Archos 7 and the Archos 8 Home Tablets both run on the Android platform and are powered by ARM 9 processors. The former is designed to be of use when a phone's screen is too small but a laptop just too cumbersome and the latter, having a thick bezel surround, is geared towards those who want more from their digital photo frames.

Both tablet devices will offer users the opportunity to take Android applications to a bigger screen, as well as delivering a video and audio player, photo viewer and all the joys that the internet has to offer via a touchscreen interface on a 600MHz ARM 9 platform.

The Archos 7 Home Tablet, as those familiar with the company might expect, has a seven inch screen and has the look of an Archos 5 Internet Tablet. Just bigger. And less powerful. A USB connection takes care of adding or deleting files since there is no Bluetooth and the built-in WiFi should make connectivity a simple enough affair. It weighs less than a pound and is less than half an inch thick. Battery life is being claimed to give seven hours of video or 44 hours of audio playback. The unit comes in either 2Gb or 8Gb varieties and will be available from April, prices starting at GBP129.99 (about US$195).

Archos says that the main focus of its Archos 8 (with its eight inch display) is web browsing, web services and video content but with a dedicated photo display application and a frame-like bezel surrounding the screen, there are more than a few subtle hints as to another intended purpose. This digital photo frame and much more is a little heavier than the smaller device but still weighs in at under a pound and is exactly the same thickness. Available from May, it'll cost the same as the Archos 7 and will come only in a 4Gb flavor.

These new additions to the emerging tablet market are unlikely to dent any supremacy Apple might achieve with the iPad, but they're a good deal cheaper so may well have broader appeal. Archos has also hinted that more Internet tablets will be launched in the summer, with more powerful specs in the frame (such as up to 1GHz ARM Cortex processors and with screens ranging from 3in to 10in). We'll keep you posted.

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