Oct 31st, 2012 publishUpdated   Dec 4th, 2012, 5:10 pm

A new competitor has stepped into the smallish tablet game today as Archos has announced the existence of the ARCHOS 80 Cobalt. Following the naming scheme of many of its other tablets, the “80” in its name stands for 8.0 inches, putting it in the same class as devices such as the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, Acer Iconia Tab A110, and the iPad Mini. The 4:3 aspect ratio might be off-putting for some but if the 9.7 inch iPad can do it then we see no reason for the 80 Cobalt not to be able to pull it off.

The tablet sadly comes with Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box instead of Jelly Bean, but it boasts a 1.6GHz dual-core processor (quad-core GPU), 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a 2 megapixel rear camera with a VGA front camera, and supports a microSD card with expansion up to 32GB. Its screen resolution of 1024×768 isn’t quite HD, but its shortcomings should be negated by a lower-than-normal price point when it’s compared to similarly-specced tablets.

Judging by the photos the tablet is a bit heavy on the bezel, but its “smooth-touch, easy-grip body” should make for comfortable use. Although Adobe has respectfully bowed out of the mobile flash game Archos is touting “full” Flash 11 support. That should be a nice marketing bulletpoint now that a lot of tablets won’t be coming with that Flash stamp on the box.

Questions about build quality will still need to be answered as this is one area where Archos doesn’t tend to shine (and is probably the biggest reason why the OEM is able to sell its products so cheaply). The desirability of the 80 Cobalt will depend on a VERY attractive price with the attractive offerings Google, ASUS and Acer have brought to market so we expect this thing to be no more than $200 (but don’t take that as gospel just yet — Archos hasn’t given the official word on pricing or availability). Find more details on it at the OEM’s website. [via Facebook]

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