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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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!

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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