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The Archos Home Phone is something we expected to see pop out into the market sooner. It's a DECT home phone that runs the Android OS, giving it access to thousands of apps that other home phones couldn't possibly start to contemplate dreaming about.
It doesn't have Android Market access though - common for Android 2.x devices that aren't smartphones. Although not entirely compatible with the Android experience, it claims to be able to work with just about any DECT base station, as it uses standard DECT protocols. The £129 package comes with a base station for that proper home phone look.
Aside from the DECT innards and the dock, the Smart Home Phone looks much like any Android smartphone. It has a 3.5in touchscreen, used to make calls as well as all those other Android tasks (yes, including playing Angry Birds).
Unfortunately, it uses a resistive touchscreen though, so lacks the super-slick feel of a device like the Apple iPod Touch. The display isn't great quality either, looking a little dull in out preview, not helped by the capacitive layer it peeps out from under.
There are plenty of tasks that make use of Android and don't demand touchscreen or display perfection. It'll make video calls, become a personal calendar and pull-down emails from the net. It makes us wonder though - how many people gagging for this kind of functionality have managed to avoid the lure of the smartphone, now that they're available for so little money? Pre-pay Android handsets are available for half the price of the Smart Home Phone.
If there's still space in your gadget life for an Android home phone, this has much of what's needed to make use of the Android basics. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD slot and the usual navigational soft keys, plus access to the AppsLib app store for additional app downloads. We still don't know everything about this intriguing device though. The CPU and built-in memory (we can't imagine there's much) are a mystery, but its average performance suggests that this device isn't particularly high-powered.
The Archos Smart Home Phone will be available towards the end of September, and will retail for around £129.
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