It’s been widely rumored that Archos, maker of a line of high-end personal media players, will reveal an Android-powered smartphone at a June 11 press event. And unlike the numerous Android phones already out there and due soon, this one is more like a tablet PC.
All the fuss started when Archos sent out a Press release inviting attendees to the June event, but chose a rounded text frame filled with a shade of green that’s exactly like the one used for Google’s Android OS. Though that’s not very much to go on, back in February there were other suggestions that Archos had something very interesting on the way.
That rumor came from Texas Instruments, which noted that Archos would use one of its chips to power an Internet tablet that would likely be based on its leading Archos 5 PMP. The specs make it sound like a powerful machine: A 5-inch screen mated to a 500GB hard drive, Flash support in the browser, a battery that supports seven hours of video playing, and possibly HD video output–all in a 10mm-deep package (mocked-up in the image.)
That would place the Archos right at the top end of the smartphone bracket, though it would stretch the definition of pocket-friendly. If the rumors prove true, Archos will create a new class of PC: somewhere above a smartphone and below netbooks. It’s a space that’s already being explored by the CrunchPad Internet tablet to some extent. And then there are persistentrumors that Apple will finally unveil its long-predicted tablet PC, which is designed to sit somewhere above the iPhone and below its MacBook laptop machines.
But even if those rumors pan out, the machine isn’t expected to go on sale until later this year. This neatly ties up our predictions that Android will expand beyond simple smartphones, and that the netbook market will evolve rapidly.