Today Archos announced their first line of Google-certified smartphones, which are slated to hit Europe at the end of May. Archos has been producing Android devices for awhile, but not all of them were certified by Google, and they lacked access to Google’s mobile services like the Google Play store.
The new family of smartphones includes the Archos 35 Carbon ($99), Archos 50 Platinum ($219), and the Archos 53 Platinum ($249). Each smartphone features a “super slim design, IPS screen with amazing viewing angles, a powerful Qualcomm CPU, and the flexibility of dual SIM cards which allow the user to manage two providers simultaneously.”
“The smartphone market is shifting, as SIM-free sales versus subsidized sales are increasing, and Archos is prepared to respond, as we can offer retail channels affordable, unlocked and feature-rich smartphones without the need to subsidize,” says Loïc Poirier, CEO of Archos. “Furthermore smartphones and tablets are interrelated markets that have quickly crossed over with the arrival of ‘phablets’ – half-phone, half-tablet devices. It only makes sense that this should be our next phase of products as this would be a natural fit for our brand and long term growth.”
Unfortunately, these low-priced Android phones will not support the 3G frequencies of US carriers, but they do provide a preview of where the market is headed. Prices for unlocked Android phones will continue to decrease and we should see more hardware OEMs adopt stock Android.