For some time now, we've been wondering how device manufacturers such as Archos are going to compete with the low, low pricing of the Nexus 7. A cheap tablet doesn't always mean a good tablet but the Nexus 7 has proved that a good tablet doesn't have to be expensive either. Until the Nexus 7 came along though, it was up to manufacturers like Archos and Ainol to deliver good priced tablets that didn't make too many compromises because of their cost. 2012 however, has not been a good year for these manufacturers and I dare say that next year isn't going to any better, either.
The problem is that Archos, Ainol and others don't have the weight to demand low prices like Google and ASUS. Nor can they sell a device at cost, they need to make money on each and every unit sold. With this in mind, don't be too hard on Archos' new 80 Cobalt tablet which really isn't that impressive. Looks wise, it's a fairly minimal 8-inch tablet that's unassuming and simple. Specs wise, this is what you can expect from it:
- 8-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 1024 x 768 resolution
- Dual-core 1.6GHz processor with quad-core GPU
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB of internal storage, a microSDHD card slot (with support for cards up to 64GB)
- 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera and a 2 megapixel rear-facing camera
- WiFI and Android 4.0 are present as well
- Archos are happy to tell people that the tablet comes backed with a "soft-touch finish"
Overall, an unimpressive spec sheet for a tablet destined for the shelves of 2012. Archos were keen to point out, when asked about price that these tablets "complete access to the Google Play store and Google mobile applications combined with the maximum in affordability". So, there you have it, if a company like Archos are unhappy to talk numbers, don't expect this to go pretty cheaply. It's a shame, as Archos were once a decent tablet manufacturer that could deliver good specs at pretty great prices. My first Android tablet was an Archos and whilst I regretted the purchase, I had my fun with it and at the time, it was a speedy little device. Now though, I'm going to struggle to recommend an Archos tablet to anybody.