Before tablets took off, the smallest and cheapest computer you could buy was a netbook, and now it seems that Archos is bringing that concept back with its new ArcBook.
The device, which appears to be a 10.1-inch tablet, with a keyboard fitted, has appeared on the Archos US website. The specs include a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Battery life is quoted to be about nine hours from the 8000mAh built-in battery. There's a proper Qwerty keyboard too, along with a trackpad.
The ArcBook comes with access to the Google Play store, and Android Jelly Bean (4.2) installed. This is all pretty good news, and will give you access to a really good selection of apps. Archos includes OfficeSuite Pro 6 too, so you can get some serious work done while you're on the move.
Archos has always been something of an AV brand, so it's not surprising that video is given something of a prominent role here. You can play 1080p video at 30fps and MPEG-4 is supported, as is the popular MKV container. So if you're a video lover, this might be a smart choice for your travels.
There's only a Wi-Fi version, with no 3G option listed, so you'll need to supply your own wireless hotspot if you want to get online while you're on the move. The screen is also fairly low resolution, at just 1024 x 600 and we have concerns about the speed of the processor too, if this is going to be used as a laptop replacement.
In general, the spec sounds a little low-end to be much use, but the US price is listed as just $170, which directly converted is just £100. Taxes and such mean it will always cost more than that in the UK, but even if it were £150, it's a pretty cheap tablet, and there are very few laptops available for anywhere near that price. For those who need something cheap and light to travel with, it could be ideal.
The ArcBook will launch in the US in June. There's no word on UK availability yet though, we'll keep you posted if that changes.
Update: Archos has been in touch to tell us that the price in the UK will be £140
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