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Archos 7: The Android Tablet We've Been Waiting For?

Archos today announced (officially) the Archos 7, a 7-inch Android-based tablet that will cost $199, and might prove very popular to those who can't or don't want to shell out $499 for an iPad.

Weighing 12.8 ounces and measuring 8 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches, the Archos 7 is light enough to hold for extended periods of time. This slate runs Android 1.5, and since it's not a smart phone, it can't access the Android Marketplace. However, Archos has created its own app library named AppsLib (natch) that will stock programs designed to run on the 800 x 480 pixel screen. At launch, there should be about 1,000 apps, which will expand to about 3,000 by June when the device starts shipping. That's paltry compared to iTunes or even the Android Marketplace, but it's a start.

The Archos 7 has 8GB of storage built-in, and can accommodate  SDHC cards up to 32GB. Other specs of note: A 600MHz ARM Cortex processor, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, and a USB port.

The device will support a wide variety of multimedia, including H.264, MPEG-4, and Realvideo up to 720p, and MP3, WMA, WAV, APE, OGG, FLAC, and AAC files. Users will also be able to output video to a large-screen TV.

Unfortunately, the Archos 7 does not support Flash (so we hope there's a YouTube app), and it lacks an accelerometer. However, when we tried out Aldiko, an e-reading app, the app itself was programmed to display content in portrait mode, which made reading books easier.

According to Archos, the Archos 7 should last for about 7 hours of browsing, 7 hours of video playback, and 42 hours of music. Stay tuned for our full review.