Consumer electronics maker Archos will begin selling two new tablet computers based on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) freshest Android "Honeycomb" operating system.
Archos will begin selling the 8-inch, 8GB, 80 G9 tablet Sept. 20 for $299 from Archos.com. Amazon, Newegg and Tiger Direct, and other resellers will begin selling the machine Sept. 30.
The device, powered by a 1GHz, dual-core Cortex A9 processor, runs Android 3.2. That's the new Honeycomb build that has screen compatibility modes to more suitably run Android Market smartphone applications on larger tablet displays.
October could be more noteworthy for Archos. The company will sell a version of the 80 G9, as well as a 10-inch model with a 1280-by-800 resolution, dubbed the 101 G9. Both machines are powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor running in an OMAP 4 chipset and will support 1080p high-definition video.
The slates also have storage capacity up to 250GB, courtesy of the Seagate Momentus Thin hard drives, in addition to 4GB of flash storage. Archos said it designed these tablets "to limit spinning and to keep the drive powered down when not in use, which will protect it when on-the-go as well as preserve battery life."
The machines, for which PCWorld offers additional specs, are WiFi and 3G-enabled via 3G sticks. Archos offers 3G sticks for $67 a pop, which will boost the cost of ownership for some tablet buyers.
Speaking of costs, how much are those 1.5GHz chip tablets? Archos plans to suggest pricing of $329 for the Archos 80 G9 16GB model, or $369 for the device with the 250GB hard drive. The company is calling for $399 for the Archos 10 G9 with 16GB, and $469 for the model with the 250GB hard drive.
The low-cost tablets come at an interesting time in the tablet market.
While the heavily discounted, $100 HP TouchPad is on pace to sell 1 million units, the rest of the mobile sector is waiting for Amazon.com's Kindle Tablet, which reportedly has a 7-inch display with custom Android build. Many analysts expect the Kindle Tablet to cost $300 or less, fully $200 less than Apple's iPad 2.
Archos could find itself challenged trying to sell against those giant rivals. However, the hard drive and removable 3G sticks could provide some competitive differentiation.