Although I'm sure most people are looking forward to Apple's "latest creation" set to be revealed later today, an interesting development from a manufacturer of an existing tablet has come to our attention.
The Archos 5 Android may be set to get a new big brother with images and specifications of the Archos 7 Android being leaked by DataMind, a retailer in the UK. Apart from a larger 7-inch WVGA touch screen, the new model also features a front-facing webcam, a sliding and locking on/off switch, a DC charger, and what appears to be either dual speakers or a microphone located on the opposite side to the speaker. Although there is no mention of what version of Android the device will be running, new software upgrades include changes to the Archos Media Center app, support for song lyrics, and the addition of the lossless APE audio codec.
There is also no further news regarding the official introduction of Google Experience apps such as Android Market, Maps, Gmail, etc. The original reason for its exclusion from the Archos 5 Android was that it failed to comply with Google's current Android hardware guidelines for support. With the design of the Archos 7 remaining very similar to the 5 with no hardware buttons, this is unlikely to change; however, there are rumors that Google will relax the hardware standards in the near future allowing the tablets to deliver the full Android experience.
Availability is currently stated to be March 2010, with the only known capacity being the 8GB model priced at £149.99 (including 17.5% UK VAT), which works out to US$243 or around $200.50 excluding tax.
I guess the Archos 7 Android is an expected development with the company already selling the Archos 7 IMT, but it looks like a decent progression from the original 5-inch model that will build on its strengths with new features. Does the new size and improvements appeal to you?[ArchosFans]