You've got to give it to Archos for trying something different but I have my doubts about how practical their main differentiator here really is in real-world usage. The company today announced what it claims are the world's first Android Honeycomb 3.1 tablets offering up to 250GB of storage -- as opposed to the typical 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB options -- by using a super-slim hard drive from Seagate spinning at 7200RPM or 5400RPM speeds.
Archos is clearly aiming these at digital media and entertainment fans. There are two models: the 8-inch Archos 80 G9 is the smaller of the two and sports a 4:3, 1,024x768-pixel screen, while the 10-inch Archos 101 G9 hopes to rival lager tablets like the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Asus Transformer with a 16:9, 1,280x800-pixel screen.
Both models are powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core OMAP 4 processor from Texas Instruments and 1 GB of RAM, while some of their features include a 720p front facing camera, GPS, G-Sensor, compass, Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), built-in microphone, full-size USB port, micro USB port, HDMI output with 1080p media playback, Adobe Flash support and access to the Android Market. Also, instead of offering separate 3G models, Archos will sell an optional 3G USB stick that customers can buy separately when they need it and use it on a pay as you go basis.
Pricing is another strong point for these devices. Available at the end of September, the Archos 80 G9 will be starting at $279, while the Archos 101 G9 will carry a $349 price tag. The optional 3G stick will be on sale for another $49.
All that extra room will come as a real advantage for media hogs, but what effect will a spinning platter have on battery life remains to be seen -- Archos claims it will be right up there with SSD tablets on the market. The company is also offering the G9s with 16GB of flash and a microSD slot instead of Seagate's Momentus Thin hard drive. These models will be 3mm thinner, but we don't know how the Flash and HDD models will differ in battery life and price.