Archos has made a name for itself selling low-end hardware at flea-market prices, so the $170 price tag on the Archos Arcbook 10.1 notebook isn't too much of a shock. Announced Monday, the device runs Android Jelly Bean 4.2, and purportedly offers "the productivity of a netbook" and "the versatility of a tablet." But it turns out that $170 won't get you very much: middling hardware and dated design choices will make the ArcBook a tough sell (at any price) when it arrives in June.
The ArcBook has a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen, but it offers a mere 1,024-by-600-pixel resolution. This is all powered by the 1.2GHz, RK3168 dual-core ARM processor, a part typically found in $75-to-$120 Android tablets whose only selling point is "low power consumption" -- Archos claims you'll get 10 hours of battery life. There's also 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of flash storage; you're expected to rely on the 15GB of space Google offers with Google Drive. Other accoutrements include a pair of USB 2.0 ports, built-in speakers, and a single-touch trackpad.
Archos is essentially showing us a 10-inch tablet with a keyboard grafted onto it, powered by yesterday's anemic hardware. And it weighs 1.28kg, just shy of three pounds. Three pounds! That doesn't seem like much, but theweighs slightly less and manages to tuck in a lot more hardware behind a bigger display, for just an additional $80.
I'm all for saving a few bucks, and a product announcement is no time to pass judgement -- we'll need to wait until June, when the ArcBook will be available for public scrutiny. But the information we have on hand doesn't paint a very good picture for the budget device manufacturer.