Archos has announced a new tablet, the 101 XS, which will go on sale in the coming months. In addition to a large screen and a dual-core processor, the 101 XS has a keyboard dock reminiscent of both Asus’s Transformer range and Microsoft’s recently revealed Surface slates.
The 101 XS — which at 8mm thick, lives up to the “extra slim” boast that Archos says the XS in its name stands for — has a 10.1-inch touchscreen with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, while inside is a TI OMAP 4470 dual-core chip with a clock speed of 1.5Ghz, and 1GB of RAM.
There’s 16GB of internal memory, but this can be increased by another 64GB using the microSD card slot, plus there’s a 1.3-megapixel forward facing camera, but no rear camera.
Other features include Bluetooth 4.0, a microUSB port and a mini HDMI, Wi-Fi, a wide array of pre-installed apps such as the full version of Office Suite Pro 6 and Angry Birds, plus access to the Google Play store.
So, fairly standard so far, but there are a few points that make the Archos 101 XS stand out in a very crowded space. The first is the Android operating system, which is 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich right now, but will become 4.1 Jelly Bean before November this year. Archos has also taken the sensible decision not to cover Android in a custom skin, but to leave it as naked and free as Google intended.
As is the current fashion, the Archos 101 XS will come with a keyboard dock inside the box, but rather than be an extra component to carry around, it clips over the tablet when not in use and acts as protective cover. Called the Coverboard, it uses magnets and a folding stand to secure the tablet in place, and only adds 5mm to the overall thickness when covering the screen.
Archos will put the 101 XS on sale by the end of next month in the UK, then in the USA by November, when it will cost £299 and $399 respectively. With a November release date penciled in for the US, it could arrive with Jelly Bean already installed too.