When the words ‘Windows tablet” are mentioned, we usually think of Microsoft’s Surface Pro series and its four-figure price tag. But Archos has announced a small-form-factor Windows tablet for the eye-catching price of $149.
The Archos 80 Cesium tablet includes an 8-inch IPS screen offering 1,280×800 resolution, all for the price one usually associates with an Android tablet. Inside Archos has included an “Intel quad-core processor” of unknown design—Archos isn’t divulging those details right now.
The Cesium tablet is just one of the products Archos will be showing off next week at the IFA show in Berlin—including a complementary Archos Windows Phone, the Archos 40 Cesium. The $99, 4-inch phone runs Windows Phone 8.1, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core processor. That’s the same processor that’s expected to power the low-end Lumia 530 as well. The phone will come with yellow, blue, and black cases.
Windows tablets on the rise?
For months, Intel executives have promised that a wave of inexpensive 64-bit Android and Windows tablets would ride its Atom chips and ship in the latter half of the year. Among those were HP’s ElitePad 1000 G2 and ProPad 600 G1, targeted at business users. But while early 8-inch Windows tablets like the Acer Iconia W3 surfaced at Microsoft’s Build conference in 2013, they lacked the processing horsepower and the screen to make them much more than a novelty. The next generation of Windows tablets is expected to be more potent.
That’s good news for Intel, Microsoft, and hardware makers alike, given that the Windows PC ecosystem has struggled to find a hook upon which to sell Windows hardware. At IFA, Intel is expected to announce more details of its “Broadwell” chips, dubbed the Core M, which should help invigorate the market in time for the holidays. Microsoft may release a technical preview of its Windows 9 or “Threshold” operating system, as well.
Archos also plans to announce the Archos 50b Platinum, a $149 Android Kitkat smartphone with a 5-inch IPS screen and dual-SIM capabilities for overseas markets. A smaller version, the Archos 50c, is also planned for a September launch. Archos also said that it would ship a $249 1080p tablet, the Archos 1010 Oxygen.
Still, one of the reasons Android has taken off is its low cost of adoption. With Microsoft’s decision to eliminate licensing fees for sub-9-inch devices, plus low-cost processors from Intel, the Windows tablet market could become a reality.