Here come the cheap devices, Archos introduces $149 Windows 8.1 tablet

In the face of strong competition from Google at all the entry level points, Microsoft made a bold decision to offer Windows for free on devices that are smaller than 9 inches for OEMs. This includes smartphones and tablets, both of which have seen an uptick in interest from the low-end manufacturers in China, and that also includes Archos as the company prepares a new entry level Windows 8.1 tablet.

Archos has announced the 80 Cesium, a 8.1 inch tablet running Windows 8.1 and it will cost $149. Under the glass will include an undefined Intel quad-core CPU (likely an ATOM Bay Trail), an IPS display at 1280 x 800, but there's no word on storage or battery life. With a PPI of 189, the screen will look grainy, reminding you that you be getting exactly what you pay for.

Of course at $149 you should not expect bleeding edge specs, but the Intel ATOM under the hood should keep Windows running good-enough for web browsing and maybe a few light games from the Windows Store; this device is purely for consuming content.

These types of devices are a tricky playing ground for Microsoft, because they do compete with Android on price, but these devices are running proper Windows, not RT, which means that performance could be an issue. In theory, you can toss PhotoShop on to one of these things but the user experience would be horrible.

In fact, you can put any application on here and that could be an issue as consumers see these devices as Windows, so they should be able to run all of their desktop applications. If consumers take the mindset that these are desktop capable machines, Windows, at this price point, could turn off users to the platform if they perceive Windows to be slow or unable to run their applications. 

Naturally, you would think that with a price of $149 consumers would know that these machines are low-powered, entry level devices, but importunely, these same issues plagued netbooks a few years ago.

There is no word on availability of the device, but it was announced at IFA which means we should see it hit store shelves in the near-ish future.

Source & Image: Archos

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56 Comments

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Anyone that invests in one of these cheap devices in my view is making a major error. Such is absolute junk and way behind the real world.

What does one do should the Windows install get trashed such that you can't boot to it? Can a clean install be done if you can't boot to the device and Refresh the OS? We've seen many Windows 8.1 laptops that required a clean install due to the user loading malware that trashed it. What then, throw it out and buy another? This size device begs for RT, not full Windows.

Why do consumers want this crap so badly? It has to be absolute junk with a lifespan measured in months. Archos must be using some company's leftover components to build it. I just figure it's hurting Microsoft to allow such hardware but maybe Microsoft no longer cares what consumers put up with. I may be wrong but Microsoft is allowing manufacturers to set hardware standards that are too low.

M$ is doing what it's always done, provide the software. And for people like you they also provide the hardware (see surface pro).
Not everybody is a apple drone incapable of buying anything but the brand favorite.

hmm is this the first public pic of the new combined threshold os for tablets and phones or just a screw up by an uninformed graphics dept?

SchroederRock said,
I didn't catch a screen size in the article and only the PPI - anyone know the math here to determine the screen size off of it?

First sentence underneath the pic: Archos has announced the 80 Cesium, a *****8.1 inch tablet***** running Windows 8.1 and it will cost $149.

Archos, a French company used to be quite good, indeed even innovative and promising quality, but I think they have been outclassed significantly by Asian manufacturers these days. Pretty sad really that the EU Countries and North American companies just can not compete with China, Taiwan, and Korea , (maybe Japan) these days in production.

I don't understand why we think consumers are all of a sudden going to want to run Photoshop on their tablet because it runs Windows. If you're smart enough to know how to install and use Photoshop then you know this device isn't for that. Most consumers don't buy tablets to do work on them. They buy them to play games and consume content.

I've personally come across people who have RT devices and when I ask them how they managed without being able to install Windows Apps, they all stare back at me with this confused look. They tell me they've installed plenty of apps from the Windows store.

I'd like to see some evidence that consumers who purchase Windows tablets are confused and try to install desktop based apps. Heck I'd like to see some evidence that these same consumers even install desktop applications on their home computers. Most of them want to surf the web, send emails and update their Facebook status.

1280x800 on the Dell Venue 8 Pro looks fantastic, so a PPI of 189 is nothing to worry about. You don't need 1080p on an 8" screen. If anything 1280x800 allows for better graphical performance and less power usage. The screen on this could however be poor, we need to wait and see.

The Atom Bay Trail performs very well, I hardly think anyone is going to be purchasing one of these to run Photoshop, however if you look on YouTube it's capable of playing Unreal 3 pretty nicely, to give some idea of performance.

InsaneNutter said,
1280x800 on the Dell Venue 8 Pro looks fantastic, so a PPI of 189 is nothing to worry about. You don't need 1080p on an 8" screen. If anything 1280x800 allows for better graphical performance and less power usage. The screen on this could however be poor, we need to wait and see.

Yep, I bought a refurbished Dell Venue 8 Pro and it's perfectly suited for the tasks I want it to do. Just small enough to use for reading news, checking web sites, and taking notes.

Facepalm. You can really tell they are behind their product, if they cannot even properly take a picture of the damn thing.

Isn't that a screen of WP 8.1 on the device above? Not saying that would be a bad thing, as the desktop side of Windows 8.1 may not be as usable

Umm this crap about an 8 inch 1280X800 screen looking grainy is horse crap.

I have an Acer W4 which is an 8 inch Win 8.1 tablet and the screen is also 1200X800 and the screen does not look grainy at all. I also have a Surface Pro and going back and fourth between them is hardly noticeable as far as screen quality.

I'd probaly avoid archos for other reasons, like overall build quality and company support but 8 inch win 8.1 tablets are freaking awesome my Acer W4 is the most useful and adaptable tablet I have ever owned.

Didn't MS say at one point during their multi-year mobile strategy failure that they were committed to ensuring that Windows on tablets would offer consumers a uniform, premium experience, implying that they would keep tight control of the hardware and exosystem?

They're just trying to compete with Google/Android at this point, with Windows running on all manner of cheap junk-tablets, and it won't turn out well.

I don't think the user experience is bad on these low end Windows 8 tablets.

The quad core Intel Bay Trail CPU is very powerful compared to older Intel Atom CPUs, and more powerful than many ARM chips such as the tegra3.

You can easily run big desktop apps such as visual studio and office 2013 on these tablets. You can even run desktop IE on sites making heavy use of Flash Player and still get a good web browsing experience.

To put 189 PPI into context:

iPad Mini (163)
Surface Pro 1 (208)
Surface Pro 3 (216)

... I doubt many people will think 189 looks grainy, and PPI alone is hardly a measure of a device's value. If it is then the iPad mini must be a cheap piece of rubbish, and the Surface Pro not much better!

you mean, a crappy Android device running Android 4.1 out ot the box and that will never receive any update?

Keep in mind that with Windows 8 x86 tablets, you Will receive updates until 2022. Unlike your average Android tablet full of unpatched security flaws.

Nor does it run the same software that you can run on your desktops/laptops. One OS that runs everywhere? Yes please, time to do away with software barriers.

link8506 said,
you mean, a crappy Android device running Android 4.1 out ot the box and that will never receive any update?

$110
http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Touch-A1X-Pre-installed-TabletExpress/dp/B00LM5WU96/ref=sr_1_1/175-0309993-0182241?ie=UTF8&qid=1409235377&sr=8-1&keywords=android+10+inch

$80
http://www.amazon.com/NeuTab-N9-Pro-Bluetooth-Pre-loaded/dp/B00KKPQFUE/ref=psdc3_t1_B00LM5WU96_B00KKPQFUE/175-0309993-0182241

$60
http://www.amazon.com/TouchTab-KitKat-Google-Android-Tablet/dp/B00KTZNJ2C/ref=sr_1_2/175-0309993-0182241?ie=UTF8&qid=1409235673&sr=8-2&keywords=android+tablet+4.4

$115
http://www.amazon.com/Contixo-Q102-Bluetooth-Pre-installed-Supported/dp/B00JUZY33Q/ref=sr_1_4/175-0309993-0182241?ie=UTF8&qid=1409235673&sr=8-4&keywords=android+tablet+4.4

$120
http://www.amazon.com/Contixo-Q102-Bluetooth-Pre-installed-Supported/dp/B00ITCEHAA/ref=sr_1_5/175-0309993-0182241?ie=UTF8&qid=1409235673&sr=8-5&keywords=android+tablet+4.4

$58
http://www.amazon.com/ValuePad-Bluetooth-Certified-Warranty-Accredited/dp/B00HDKWEFO/ref=sr_1_11/175-0309993-0182241?ie=UTF8&qid=1409235673&sr=8-11&keywords=android+tablet+4.4

link8506 said,

Keep in mind
that with Windows 8 x86 tablets, you Will receive updates until 2022. Unlike your average Android tablet full of unpatched security flaws.

I'll take all the security flaws you can find vs x86 Windows viruses, malware, rootkits, and keyloggers. Not even a competition. You'd have to be out of your mind to trust Windows with your information when it's infested with nasties like that.

Besides, we have third party/community roms for Android. What have you got for Windows? Nada. Good luck with that :)

simplezz said,
I'll take all the security flaws you can find vs x86 Windows viruses, malware, rootkits, and keyloggers. Not even a competition. You'd have to be out of your mind to trust Windows with your information when it's infested with nasties like that.

All of which is user error, it doesn't appear out of thin air. Just like malware on Android (which is hardly the poster child for security)..the user did something wrong and put it on.

simplezz said,
Besides, we have third party/community roms for Android. What have you got for Windows? Nada. Good luck with that :)

Shouldn't have to rely on third parties to fix your OS. :(

Max Norris said,
Nor does it run the same software that you can run on your desktops/laptops. One OS that runs everywhere? Yes please, time to do away with software barriers.

Who cares about legacy desktop apps on a touch based tablet with an ecosystem like Android's.

simplezz said,
Who cares about legacy desktop apps on a touch based tablet with an ecosystem like Android's.

The billions of people who rely on it daily? Who cares about watered down tablet apps when you can get the full package? (Plus run said tablet app as well on the same device.. either or, choice is grand.)

simplezz said,
I can get far better Android devices for less than that.

Amazing, simply amazing. No specs have been announced, yet you know off hand there are far better Android devices available.

I think it would be better to wait what the exact specs of the device are, before you claim there are far better Android devices for a lower price.

To me, any device running Android is not desireable, even if they paid me. I keep well clear of Google spyware.

I prefer to run a proper operating system than the toy that is called Android. Regardless of hardware specifications.

Max Norris said,

The billions of people who rely on it daily? Who cares about watered down tablet apps when you can get the full package? (Plus run said tablet app as well on the same device.. either or, choice is grand.)

Exactly, of course Simplezz doesn't need to run legacy applications, he runs "apps" only. There are millions and millions of users who need to do real work, and they cannot just use apps, they use applications as well. And products such as these allow them to do just that.

As you said, choice is grand.

sjaak327 said,

Amazing, simply amazing. No specs have been announced, yet you know off hand there are far better Android devices available.

I think it would be better to wait what the exact specs of the device are, before you claim there are far better Android devices for a lower price.

To me, any device running Android is not desireable, even if they paid me. I keep well clear of Google spyware.

I prefer to run a proper operating system than the toy that is called Android. Regardless of hardware specifications.

You are amazed at his ignorance yet go on to call Android a toy.... hardly compelling reasoning to think your opinion is any better. Give us a clear reason why Android is poor but childish name calling is not really a valid argument you poopyhead :)

Depicus said,
You are amazed at his ignorance yet go on to call Android a toy.... hardly compelling reasoning to think your opinion is any better. Give us a clear reason why Android is poor but childish name calling is not really a valid argument you poopyhead :)

Yea, I wouldn't go calling Android a toy either.. different people have different needs.. just because I would rather have one OS for everything doesn't mean it's suitable for everybody. For my needs, if I can have one device that can run all my desktop software, plus most everything I use on my Android tablet is also available for the Modern interface, and those that don't can be emulated.. I'm done with carrying multiple devices personally, one and done that runs everything. Simpler, cheaper and more efficient.

Depicus said,

You are amazed at his ignorance yet go on to call Android a toy.... hardly compelling reasoning to think your opinion is any better. Give us a clear reason why Android is poor but childish name calling is not really a valid argument you poopyhead :)

Name calling ? Compared to operating systems such as Windows, OSX or Linux, Android is a toy, end of story.

It's capable of making calls, browsing the web, Facebook or Twitter or whatever other social media bollocks, it is not meant or fit for real productive work. The other three operating systems are. If you find that name calling, so be it.

sjaak327 said,

Name calling ? Compared to operating systems such as Windows, OSX or Linux, Android is a toy, end of story.

It's capable of making calls, browsing the web, Facebook or Twitter or whatever other social media bollocks, it is not meant or fit for real productive work. The other three operating systems are. If you find that name calling, so be it.

Maybe you think it's a toy but here are a few reasons why it isn't.

1. I have worked on business apps for a client who now use Android tablets for on the road reporting and sales. That to me is real productive work which used to be done by calling in at the end of each day.

2. Any computer can be productive, most Android phones have more computing power than that used on the Space Shuttle, indeed Android is used on quite a few embedded systems.

3. The only think that stops Android from doing anything any other OS can do is that nobody has bothered to do it yet.

Now I'd prefer a Windows 8" tablet but neither is a toy.

Depicus said,

Maybe you think it's a toy but here are a few reasons why it isn't.

1. I have worked on business apps for a client who now use Android tablets for on the road reporting and sales. That to me is real productive work which used to be done by calling in at the end of each day.

2. Any computer can be productive, most Android phones have more computing power than that used on the Space Shuttle, indeed Android is used on quite a few embedded systems.

3. The only think that stops Android from doing anything any other OS can do is that nobody has bothered to do it yet.

Now I'd prefer a Windows 8" tablet but neither is a toy.

There are quite a few things that is stopping people from developing real applications on Android (or any mobile os for that matter).

The obvious number one reason is the input interface, touch is nice for consumption, it is not ideal for productive work.

The second reason would be the sandboxed nature of such a mobile os, where interaction between other applications is severely limited for security reasons.

Another reason would be power consumption concerns, yet another reason would be the absence of true preemptive multitasking.

You might have produced a sales app, there might be CRM apps for mobile, the simple fact is that we are talking about a mobile operating system, that in it's current iteration is not comparable to the main desktop operating systems available. And with good reasons, it is meant as a mobile operating system where sandboxing, portability and power consumption are main concerns.

Let's not kid ourselves here and pretend Android would be ready to drive the desktops of the business around the world, it simply isn't and probably never will be.

Malago said,
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7314/intel-baytrail-preview-intel-atom-z3770-tested/3
Bay Trail vs ARM

1. We don't know that it's baytrail yet.
2. Battery life is more important than horsepower on devices such as these.

Yet above you claimed you knew tons of Android devices that were better, at lower prices, and now all of a sudden you don't even know what processor is going to be used ?

The benchmark listed was last years baytrail. I have such a processor in the dell venue pro 11. Not only is the performance quite good, so is battery life.

In fact, at connected standby, it actually beats my Phone by a wide margin, which is impressive considering the tablet has even more push mail accounts than the phone.

Well, I don't think without a keyboard, how people wil be using desktop here, metro is fine for touch but RT is enough for it, no ?
It looks like Netbooks with Windows 8.1 make much more sense than tablet with Windows 8.1 to me. I would love to see those small machines with awesome touch screen.

There are apps built for desktop that are designed to be used with a touch screen, like my explorer-clone:

http://www.julien-manici.com/immersive_explorer/

I own an Acer w4 tablet (8inches), and I find the desktop quite useful.

That's what the on-screen keyboard is for. Been using Windows on a tablet since the XP days, it works just fine. Of course, you could just plug one in too, but if you're doing that much typing you may want to consider a different form factor then.

I'm actually saying that Desktop is very very useful. And Netbooks with touch screen are actually good candidates for Windows 8.1

Steven P. said,
It's a poor "official" image from Archos, look how they have the phone tile twice in that Photoshop job :p

In fact it looks "correct" if it is dual SIM WP render.. Infact they have even have small numbers 1 & 2 to distinguish them..

Still an image of Windows Phone and not Windows 8.1 though. In fact, the entire thing looks like an image of phone, not a tablet.

ilovetech said,
In fact it looks "correct" if it is dual SIM WP render.. Infact they have even have small numbers 1 & 2 to distinguish them..

Ohhh, is that how that works? That's pretty cool. Thanks!

its actually showing the wp device they released at the same time, which I believe is rung wp8.1.2 because of the larger tile shown.

Windows going free for those devices under 9" is going to crush this category. MS just needs to make a better experience by creating unique and exciting services that work best (if not only) on Windows.