French manufacturer Archos unveiled a budget-friendly tablet computing option alongside its G9 series this week. The Arnova 7 tablet features a 7-inch, 800 x 480 pixel resistive touchscreen, runs Android 2.2 (Froyo) and has AppsLib access instead of the Android Market, but its most distinctive feature is its very low price - it's set at just US$99.
The Arnova 7 was first announced with few details in May, but the tablet's spec page is now live, revealing a budget device designed to allow users to surf the internet over Wi-Fi, read ebooks and watch videos.
The tablet supports HD video (720p) playback as well as a range of video compression standards including H.264, MPEG-4 and RealVideo (it also copes with .avi, .mp4, .mkv, .mov and .flv files and most popular music and graphic files are also supported). There's 4GB storage on board, expandable by a Micro SDHC card and connection to a computer is via its USB port, which also works in host mode for the connection of a USB drive, mouse or keyboard. The device measures 193.3 mm x 120 mm x 12.6 mm (7.6" x 4.7" x 0.5") and is quite lightweight at 340 g (12 oz).
As you might expect given the pricetag, the Arnova 7 has a few shortcomings. There's no front or rear camera, no GPS or optional 3G modem, no Android Market support and Android 2.2 (Froyo) isn't the latest and greatest in terms of Android versions and not tailored for tablets.
It appears that Archos will follow the increasingly common (and unfair) practice of giving products the same price tag across different currencies with the Arnova 7, resulting in it being a bit more expensive outside the U.S. Specifically, EUR99 (approx. US$140) in Europe and GBP99 (approx. US$158) in the UK.