Affordable tablet manufacturers have to change their strategy or find a new market


Companies like ARCHOS have been able to make a name for themselves for one reason, and it is not for the quality of their products. This is not to say that these tablets are horrible either, but their main focus has been affordability, which meant sacrificing good specs and build quality. These cheaper tablets were a life-saver for those who didn’t want to spend $500 on a good device. But with the tablet market taking a turn and devices being more affordable, these manufacturers are finding themselves in quite a deep hole.

It is tablets like the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, ASUS Transformer Pad 300 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 that are slaughtering the affordable tablet market. Major companies are offering great options for the same prices that ARCHOS sells its tablets for. We are talking Tegra 3 (or comparable) processors, 1 GB of RAM, HD displays and some come with the latest Android version (or at least they are getting it soon enough). Starting at $200, these tablets are making it impossible for tablets like ARCHOS’ to compete.

This became more evident when the ARCHOS 97 Carbon was announced, and more recently released. This $250 tablet offers a 1 GHz single-core processor, 1 GB of RAM. 16 GB of internal storage, Android 4.0 and a 9-inch display. Compared to the Nexus 7, this tablet is simply left in the dust. It does have a microSD slot and a larger display if that is what you fancy. But is it worth giving up other superior speeds?

I have been able to lower my storage needs by using cloud services. I literally have to try in order to fill up my 16 GB phones and tablets. The display may be larger, but has the same definition as the Nexus 7. This means that pixel density is much lower. I prefer looking at a smaller, but crisper display.

So where does this leave ARCHOS et al? These companies will be forced to change their strategies, prices and quality. Or else they will simply disappear as fast as they came. At this point, though, it will be rather hard to match the popular manufacturers. They would need to improve their hardware and specs significantly. If not, these tablets will have to be extremely affordable.

But even if ARCHOS managed to sell a tablet like the 97 Carbon for $100, I would not think twice about going for a Nexus 7, even if this would cost double the price. It has really reached that sweet spot. So much that most of my recommendations nowadays are for the Nexus 7 or Transformer Pad Infinity (for the hard-core users). Even if the tablet is meant for a kid.

The tablet market, as we know it, is simply no longer existent. ARCHOS, get your team together and think of some major changes. We would hate to see a player with good potential being left behind.

[ARCHOS]

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  • Michael Thompson

    Interesting perspective, and pretty much accurate based on my experiences with “affordable” tablets.
    EDIT
    This should be the feature story, IMO.

    • Edgar Cervantes

      I mean…. there is no such thing anymore…. There are affordable tablets and CHEAP tablets. That is the only separation. And of course, there are the odd balls that are still charging over $500 for tablets.

      • scoter man1

        Right, you have the ones that are like 120 bucks or less and are like 800mhz single core 512mb of ram and pretty much should be running froyo when they are running GB or ICS. For 80 bucks more… NEXUS 7 WOOOOOO.

      • Michael Thompson

        I’m on both ends of the price curve at the moment, currently running a Toshiba Excite 10 T305 and a Nexus 7.
        I don’t know how I ended up being that guy but I’m him. :|
        (They do both serve different needs well.)

        If the low-enders can’t reproduce the Nexus 7 experience then they are simply doomed.
        The Nexus 7 in my opinion is the breakthrough device that really is a reference device literally and figuratively.

      • Crimsonshadow774

        Apple. lol

  • ArberBeq

    I am trying to understand why don’t companies make affordable phones with good specs even if they get a $30-$50 ppp. Why do they need $100-400 profit per phone.

    • Ben Kapferer

      Probably because the carriers can justify selling people two-three year contracts.

    • renGek

      Yup. Having to pay $650 for a off contract phone is ridiculous. Nothing will change until there is competition. Google cellular maybe?

    • z0phi3l

      Cell Radios and associated patents is what jacks up the prices and why WiFi only tablets are cheaper

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001056662990 Laarree Miiller

        Good point, though not enough to justify the much higher prices. Oh, wait…that is right. All the patent lawsuits; someone has to pay for the lawyers!

  • bmg314

    If you use your device(s) for music, movies, photos, games, etc, I don’t know how you can keep it under 16gigs…cloud or not. Am I missing something on why devices are going away from expandable storage? And please don’t say the cloud, because while great in theory, it is not ideal yet because of data limitations (carrier limits as well as location limits), and some things, such as games requiring large accounts of data downloads, simply aren’t compatible with cloud computing.

    Additionally, Ive read about, and been told, how sd cards have hindered device performance. However, no one has yet been able to completely prove to me that this is true, and/or that any hindrance is miniscule at most.

    Sorry, just had to vent on what is one of my biggest sore spots these days.

    • malcmilli

      Well there are two of the big four with unlimited data sill. Also home internet wifi is unlimited, which most tablets are wifi primarily anyway. Also 16gb is fine for me too, you could fit something like a1000 songs plus movies, you just can’t have 8 movies on it at once, after you watch it delete it off the hard drive

      • bmg314

        Appreciate the response, and Im glad you can make it work…but it still doesn’t convince me. What about when wifi is not available (I know it isn’t that often, but still, that should never be an obstacle). Also, there are some movies and shows I want to keep on my device. And then there are games that eat up space (obviously not talking about angry birds). 16 gigs, if it works for someone, cool. But for me and others, it simply doesn’t, and the gradual disappearance of expandable storage is unacceptable.

        • Montisaquadeis

          Since I am mainly stuck at home having wifi is not an issue for me and my nook tablet is basically empty except for books since those cant go cloud yet. I stream my videos using a dlna server on my pc and skifta on my nook. As for music I mainly use slacker but I have my small music collection on google music. all I use my phone for is music/ audio books when bike riding making calls and texting. I dont use the nook for gaming as I am an avid pc gamer personally.

          And if I do need a connection when I am out I can tether to my phone since I am on boost mobile I have unlimited everything including data.

        • malcmilli

          Yea I understand if you need more, I’m just saying if you are buying a tablet specifically, chances are it’s wifi only. I don’t know anyone with a 3g or 4g tablet. That’s just my circle though. And I understand if you need more, I was just saying how some people make it work

          • bmg314

            That’s cool…I’m not angry if people such as yourself can make it work or even prefer it…in fact Im really happy that you can/do….I just think it should be an option.

          • malcmilli

            This is true, more options are always better of choose. You don’t want to isolate a group of customers from purchasing your product based on one or two simple exclusions (looking at you HTC)

        • Crimsonshadow774

          I don’t know how much data you have. But Verizon solved my storage problems. 32 GB of storage wasn’t enough for me on Sprint. (Who’s service is so terrible in Ohio that I could barely use any data. without waiting forever to load/buffer) Now that I have 10 GB of 30 MBPS LTE, I barely even use 10 GB of storage on my Nexus.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/MZZMBAAEQHUWCGMTI6LY3P3INM RichardD

          I think that Google and the other tablet producers want to keep the storage small so that you will get used to using their cloud services. I am not saying it is good or right but while I can understand that they might use the excuse that expandable storage might lead to user problems from bad or incompatible cards, but why not offer a 32 GB version for the N7 for $50 more? I think the reason is that they want to control as much of the user experience as possible. I am betting their research is showing them that people that have less storage available will purchase more content.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000243194464 Sarah Hayek

        although i would be inclined to agree with you about home wifi being unlimited i have in fact run into some throttling with Comcast… apparently 250gb/mo is the limit for me… not that it’s particularly easy to get there… it’s just a common misnomer.. other than that, on topic. i LOVE expandable memory and think it’s a shame when devices come without it.

    • TheTrueGMG

      Well most of the space being taken up on my phone is music. Since i have music on my phone I don’t need it on My N7 so i have about 6-7 Tegra games a few books and magazines one movie so far and I still have 12 gigs I can put on a few shows and movies if I need to and then remove them when I’m done

      • bmg314

        Ok, and just keeping up with my point of view, why should I have to delete something off of my device for the sake of space if I don’t wish to?

        Btw, I didn’t even touch on the aspect of easily transferring media and other files from one device to another by way of moving the card, as opposed to transferring it via the cloud.

        I don’t know, perhaps I am a dying breed in respect to this topic… :(

        • TheTrueGMG

          I can see your point. I guess it depends on how much media you like to keep on your device. If im going to be on a plane for 4 hours Im perfectly fine with downloading two movies to my tablet and removing them when Im done watching them. I don’t think SD card storage is dying off though. As far as I know the only major devices without SD card slots are Nexus Devices.

          • http://twitter.com/MaryRachelKate Rachel

            The HTC One has no SD slot. It’s not a tablet but it still annoyed me.

    • Edgar Cervantes

      Well you re right, I continue to have unlimited data and that may be what spoils me. I really do use the cloud for everything. My music is on Google Music, my pictures on picasa/google+ (which syncs with your gallery) and I only stream movies. So basically the only thing I use my internal storage for is games and apps.

      But even if you want to use your physical storage more, you can set up a system, like malcmilli mentions. Do you really need to have ALL your music in there? Do you need that many movies in there at the same time? I agree that it is always convenient to have the option to expand it, but I would not give up specs like the Nexus 7′s. Mostly because I rarely take my tablets out of the house, and a couple movies/games are more than enough to keep me occupied when traveling. For which 16 GB tends to be more than enough. Then simply pin some of my favorite Google Music songs.

      You really don’t spend that much data if you have a good system and try to use WiFi when within range.

      • Stocklone

        Entire 54k+ song collection on Amazon MP3? Check. Subscribed to Rdio? Check. Subscribed to Netflix? Check. Subscribed ot Hulu+? Check. I still carry 150+ GB of flash storage on me. I don’t have a reliable data connection outside of my house. Streaming isn’t practical for me except over wi-fi.

      • Carl Rood

        Try driving 400 miles with 4 kids and the movie they want to watch isn’t on the tablet or phone

    • http://twitter.com/MaryRachelKate Rachel

      I noticed this too. I got an HTC Vivid (last years model) because the HTC One has no expansion. Hell no! The Samsung Galaxy 3 was not out when I got my new phone (iPhone replacement). The Galaxy is the only new phone on AT&T that has expandable storage. My HTC currently has 40GB – the native 8GB and 32GB on the card. The cloud is only viable at home for me. I have unlimited wireless but limited cell data. I’ve never used my phone without the card installed. It’s fast, I have no idea if it would be fastER if it had no card – however, I like my music when I hike or walk. I use the cloud (Dropbox) for pictures because I can delete them on the device but I think that requires a wireless connection, iCloud requires a wireless connection.

      @epct414:disqus in my case I have maybe 8GB of music on there and no movies. I have a 160GB ipod that lives in my car to keep “all my music” but my old iPhone4 16B kept telling me I was running out of room when I upgraded an app. Sure I have a lot of yoga apps on there which have sound but still, it should have been able to handle that was annoying. I decided against the Kindle Fire due to storage. However, for a $200 tablet, I say it’s fine, they have to cut something.

      I have an Asus Transformer 1st Gen 32GB too. I stream on it at home. I did fill it up by testing DoubleTwist. I need to get rid of that thing. There is no need for music on it. I have the phone and the computer.

  • Justin glass

    Question why do cheaper tablets not have Google play installed?

    • Matthew Merrick

      all the newer archos (since honeycomb came out) DO have google play.

  • Eye4Detail

    If ever there was a positive side to this, it’s the death of a business model like Archos’. Every time I think about having paid $275 for an Archos 70….wth was I thinking?!? No real support from Archos (save for the random buggy, bug-fix update) no real developer/ROM support, just a black, plastic box full of regret. Thank Google and Asus for stepping up to the plate and showing everyone else what a tablet is supposed to cost.

    • Ben Kapferer

      I just wish Google would show everyone what a phone’s supposed to cost as well. :P

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1339612527 Adrian Parks

        They did with the Galaxy Nexus in the play store. ;)

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MZZMBAAEQHUWCGMTI6LY3P3INM RichardD

      I paid $300 for mine. Ouch. I guess it was ok for what it was at the time. I am glad I sold when I could. My wife bought a Nook tablet for $250 a few weeks before the Nexus 7 announcement but just after the 30 day return period ended. She is considering herself lucky to sell it for $175 now even though it is just a few weeks old. The game has changed.

  • renGek

    Archos have only themselves to blame. They put out a great innovative tablet back before iphones even saw the light of day. In fact iphones and itouch had very similar features to early archos tabs. But archos had zero marketing and no clear goals. There were new models constantly with equally similar and confusing names. Granted they are a small company but they should have had the foresight to team up eith someone. They have innovative ideas but no execution. Most of their anticipated devices were miserably launched. I still relish my archos 605 but i haven’t touched it in 2 years.

  • billcollier

    I paid $200.00 for a Archos a few years ago, and quickly wished I didn’t. The charger plug broke on the inside of the It like a Month after I bought it. Archos is a joke as far as I’m concerned, and deserves to go belly up.

  • http://twitter.com/MaryRachelKate Rachel

    I bought a super cheap Chinese 7 inch early last year for $50. It rocks for what I use it for Kindle. I got an ASUS Transformer first Gen 32GB in November for $300 because it had iPad like specs. it was one of the first devices to get the ICS upgrade. I love that thing. It’s fun, so much so that I traded in my iPhone 4 for an HTC, phone which I really, really love. All my devices have expandable storage – event the $50 one does allegedly but it doesn’t work very well.

  • Stocklone

    I fill up 32GB of storage without even trying. The cloud doesn’t do a damn thing for me if I don’t have a connection.

  • Matthew Merrick

    What’s with you ARCHOS haters? I used to have an Archos 80G9, it was great. Eventually traded it in, but i still miss that kickstand……

  • Frans-Peter van der Leur

    A new strategy can be to supply their old market with good updates. When my Archos tablet will ever run tablet software (not too much to ask for a tablet huh?), I might even consider buying another Archos in the future. Without those updates I will never buy an Archos again and I wouldn’t recommend any Archos product to my friends and family.

  • http://twitter.com/fuzzy_piglet Ian ♡ Graves™

    The sooner companies like archos go bankrupt the better. Android tablets are pretty crap across the whole range. Maybe android should just be a phone OS.

    • atg284

      You are a moron

  • IceBeam

    Yeah, Archos have to start selling tablets at $30-$50 if they are going to have a chance to out sell devices like the Nexus 7

  • Paul Fritze

    I paid 300 for an Archos 5 and it was dead in a year. I have had my Asus Transformer for two years now and I have never had a problem. I say good riddance to Archos and the garbage they produce!!

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    You have absolute no idea what you are talking about. Archos sold more tablets than Asus, Acer, Motorola, Toshiba and Dell in 2011. Only Samsung and Apple sold more tablets than Archos in 2011. This year, Asus is overtaking Archos because of the Nexus7, but nobody else is. Archos sells 2 million tablets per year.

    Archos latest Arnova range is priced at $99 for 7″ (search Arnova 7b G3), $149 for 8″ ARNOVA 8 CG3 (iPad Mini Sized 4:3 form factor), and $179 10.1″ Arnova 10 BG3.

    During 2012, the Archos Arnova range pricing will go down to $49 with Jelly Bean fully smoothly running on a 7″ capacitive screen tablet. You may talk trash about how much you love paying $249 for a Nexus7 with no MicroSD, no HDMI, when you can soon get an Archos Arnova for $49 with MicroSD slot. Jelly Bean actually runs awesomely on Rockchip RK2918/RK2906 single-core and Rockchip RK3066 dual-core.

    The dual-core RK3066 is what you can expect for the Archos Elements range. For example exactly the same 9.7″ 4:3 screen as on iPad2, same Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 performance as iPad2, but for HALF THE PRICE. Before the end of this year, Archos Dual-core RK3066 tablet on 7″ is going to sell for $99, HALF THE PRICE of Nexus7, and it’s a waste of time to suggest Tegra3 has a much better performance than Rockchip RK3066, THAT IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. The Rockchip RK3066 comes with an awesome quad-core Mali-400 GPU, far superior to Tegra3′s GPU. It’s a tablet with superior performance to Samsung Galaxy S2/Tab7.7/Tab10.1 and for $99. If you think there is no market for such $99 tablets, you need to blog about an other industry.

    Now about Archos high-end, just now FCC leaked pictures of the Archos Generation 10, yes it’s now 10 Generations since Archos launched the revolutionary Jukebox Multimedia 20GB Media Player, with a color screen, DivX playbacck, camcorder, DVR functionality, yes they launched that back in 2002, years before the first color ipod. Archos launched their first Tablet in 2005 in their 4rd Generation already.

    Anyways, Archos Generation 10 starts likely at $299 at the 10.1″ screen size, is like a Microsoft Surface, but for $300 cheaper. Comes with Keyboard. $350 cheaper than iPad3 with Keyboard. $350 cheaper than Asus Transformer with the keyboard.

    And now you are going to claim that Archos cannot sell at least 2 million of such tablets until the end of this year? That would mean a growth for Archos, it’s a 150-employee company. Archos does not need to sell 35 million tablets to be profitable and a healthy business-wize company.

    You have a completely wrong understanding of the market. There are 7 Billion people on this planet, not everyone buys only the blogges favorites. In fact, 95% of consumers worldwide who buy consumer electronics NEVER even read a consumer electronics tech news blog. So sorry to say, but don’t think that your opinion influences any actual real consumer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/richard.gilboy Richard Gilboy

      Not to be that guy. But you clearly do not understand the market today in the US. Everyone today is a follower, they will buy what their friends are purchasing. Right now the people who bought the Archos tablets in the past in the US are STRONGLY disgusted with the brand. If Archos wants to do something in the US they need to continue building android based lan line phones. That is their market future, not tablets or mp3 players in the US. They may sell well in France but unfortunately they put a strong awful taste in the consumer market in the US and possibly across the globe other than China.

      • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

        You have no idea what the consumers think of Archos. Consumers love Archos, there is no other ICS Tablet for $99 in every Target, CompUSA, Best Buy and WalMart. Archos 10.1″ G9 1.5Ghz Turbo tablet from last year has Galaxy Nexus hardware in a 10.1″ Tablet, instead of costing $349 like an unlocked Galaxy Nexus, it costs $219 in every store, unlocked. Yup, pretty much for the price of a Nexus7, you get a 9.7″ or 10.1″ Dual-core Archos tablet.
        Even in the USA, the market is for much more diversity than just one brand. It’s just so bollocks and wrong to think Apple is the only brand, that nobody buys anything else. It’s especially wrong to think like that on an Android related website.

        Archos just needs to sell about 2 million tablets worldwide to GROW from their revenue and profits of last year. That’s perfectly fine for Archos, if they sell 3 million tablets, they have a huge year and can afford to hire a dozen more top quality engineers. It’s just ridiculous to even suggest Archos can’t sell however many their share is of the US market and rest of the world. The US market or Archos has thus far been something about 600 thousand tablets per year, Archos sells most in Europe, cause consumers in Europe know better what is good value. With the full range of tablets that Archos is bringing to the market, from $49 to $299, all running Jelly Bean smoothly, at all sizes, with features Nexus7 does not have like MicroSD, HDMI, USB Host, Keyboard Dock, etc etc.

        You simply have no idea about how the consumer electronics market works if you think hardware makers take all or nothing.

        • http://www.facebook.com/richard.gilboy Richard Gilboy

          Here is the thing. I’ll just put it nicely.

          The only reason why someone bought the Froyo version of the Archos tablet a year or two back because there was no Kindle Fire, Transformer, and Nexus 7. Archos doesn’t advertise whatsoever in the United States. Meanwhile you will see a Nexus 7 tablet ad on Youtube every virtually every other video and a Kindle Fire advertisement every other 40 minutes on a channel station. Also I strongly disagree with your point if there were to be a $99 Archos tablet at any vendors. This may be brutal honestly, but the average American consumer today will look at the box and think it’s Chinese crap.

          • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

            Sorry, but I’m too lazy to put this nicely.

            Your thinking and understanding of this industry and about how people spend their money is so underdeveloped.

            It’s not all or nothing. This market is 1000 different devices, this market is 1000 different companies, this industry is 1 million top level engineers developing it. Your thinking that because one sells many, nobody else sells, it’s just so not how things work.

            The world is 7 billion people, and people get more than 1 device, they are not all going to spend $200 for a 7″ tablet. Nor are they all going to spend $500 for an iPad3. Not are they all going to spend $250 for an iPad Mini. Nor are they all going to spend $2000-$3000 on a Ghalaxy S3 or iPhone5 on 2-year contract. They are not all going to spend $600 on a Microsoft Surface. They are not all spending $650 on a Transformer Prime. This market is bigger than just one store, just one bogus blog that comes with whatever “absolute truth” about the one and only device that everyone has to buy.

            The smartphone and tablet market grows, it isn’t somekind of limited size of people that only buy an iPhone. The Tablet market is the one that grows the fastest. Even if 100 million people buy a Nexus7 before the end of the year if Google does a good job at convincing Asus and Nvidia to stop all the overpriced BS they have been doing fo the past more than 1 year and start doing cheap with Google, that still leaves space for tens of millions of other brands tablets to be sold.

            And as I demonstrate to you and watch my videos on YouTube, there are awsome $50 tablets that can be made. Every supermarket can be selling awesome $50 Android tablets and smartphones within weeks from now.

          • Anonymusss

            I agree. Tablets can still be much, much cheaper. A tablet like the N7 in a year should be $100.

            -Prices on 16gb memory are dropping fast. This should cost $5 by end of year.
            -Prices on last gen A9 dual cores SoCs should be about $5.
            -Screen prices should drop too. I have no idea maybe $20.
            -Casing maybe $15.

            Total $45. That leaves $55 for distribution, marketing, R&D, miscellaneous, etc.

            The next Nexus tablet should be $100.

  • phinn

    “Smaller but crisper display”? Sorry but I gotta say… iPhone.

  • Carl Rood

    I’m not sure I’d lump the ASUS Transformer Pad 300 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 in with Nexus 7 & Kindle Fire. Those are 2 different price points. The latter 2 are what’s challenging Archos on price and that’s because the companies involved are selling them at a loss in the expectation of making it up on media sales and cloud storage subscriptions.

  • Kari Ikonen

    It’s too bad that all “reviewers” manage to igonore one advantage what Archos has, namely good media support. I’ve myself Archos 70 IT, which plays practically anything what is thrown in. Same is absolutely not true for some major marques like A* and S*.