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Archos announces Android phone

The 3G mobile tablet, capable of making voice calls, will run Android, chosen, we suspect, not for its telephony features, but rather its open-source framework, global hordes of developers and integrated app store

When Archos announced it would enter the netbook space, we began counting the taste buds on each other's tongues, because we thought it was substantially more interesting. But, when we heard Archos was entering the mobile-phone arena with a Google Android-powered media device, it was time to put our tongues away and pay attention.

Archos has announced it will launch a 3G mobile tablet, capable of making voice calls, that will run Android rather than the custom Linux builds used in the company's most recent Archos 5 and Archos 7 devices. But, when asked, an Archos spokesperson said this isn't a replacement for the Archos 5G -- an existing Archos tablet that incorporates mobile broadband -- but an entirely new device.

Many features are the same, however: a 127mm (5-inch) display, 7.2Mbps 3.5G data connectivity, up to 500GB of storage, HD video playback, native Adobe Flash support, full Web-browsing capabilities and 7 hours of video playback. Plus, somehow, it'll allow you to make voice calls.

However, any phone with a 5-inch screen and a 500GB hard disk is going to be unwieldy for making calls. We expect it'll be best used with a headset, with Android chosen not for its telephony features, but rather its open-source framework, global hordes of developers and integrated app store.

Archos hopes to launch the yet-to-be-named device around autumn, and, surprisingly, the company will not have a presence at this year's Mobile World Congress tradeshow -- the largest and most important place to show off mobile devices on the planet. That leads us to wonder how serious Archos is about being in the mobile space at all, and furthers our belief that Android was picked for its apps, not its telephony features.