Archos 70b Set to be First Affordable Android 3.2 Honeycomb Tablet

Archos, makers of some of the best Android tablets that you probably don’t hear about, today announced a little preview of their upcoming CES 2012 plans.  The Archos 70b will be the first affordable tablet – i.e. under $200 – that will come out of the box running the Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system.  This is the successor to the Archos 70 tablet, with more that just Honeycomb added to it.

The new tablet will have an upgraded capacitive touch-screen and a 1.2 GHz processor.  Like any full-blown Android tablet the Archos 70b will also come with the full suite of Google apps, along with the full Android Market.  It has a 1024 x 600 screen, 512 MB of RAM, 3D graphics processing, HDMI out, and Micro SD.  Additional information provided by Archos includes:

•    An affordable price starting at $199 for 8GB
•    Smoother multi-tasking and a faster web experience thanks to the upgraded RAM
•    Brighter colors with a high resolution capacitive screen
•    Android 3.2 Honeycomb, the Android version designed for a tablet
•    Access to a full array of apps with the Android Market and its 300,000 apps such as news, eMagazines, eBooks, social media, games and more
•    A full multimedia experience with upgraded multimedia ARCHOS apps for video and music
•    HDMI output, giving users full access to their Android experience on their TV including all the pre-loaded apps, video playback, 3D games, photos and all the Android Market apps

The tablet is expected to be available for order in January, presumably after it’s official debut at CES.  It’s already one of the products I am anxious to get a hands-on with, and possibly put on my wish list for the new year.

The Swiss Army Knife of Android Apps

Android has a LOT of great apps, many of them free.  There are also apps that replace multiple other apps – kind of the swiss army knife of apps.  Now there is one that is actually called Swiss Army Knife, and it replaces 6 stand-alone apps and does it pretty well.

These aren’t apps you may use every day, but when you need them they are quite handy to have around.  It’s also a free download so that makes it even better.  It can serve as a replacement for apps you already have or add some apps you didn’t even know you needed.

Once you have downloaded and installed the app it is pretty straight-forward.  Browse your apps and open “Swiss Army Knife”.  It will take you straight to a screen that displays the six apps that you now have available.

1. Flashlight – There are countless flashlight apps available for Android.  This particular flashlight app works just fine, but I have to say that it’s not my favorite.  Unlike Tiny Flashlight which uses the LED flash of the phone this one puts up a blank, bright white screen, which isn’t quite as bright.

2. Ruler – The Ruler app allows you to take a quick measurement of an object…providing that it’s smaller than your screen size.  That’s a big limitation, but it can be handy in a lot of instances.

3. Timer – The Timer is exactly what is claims to be.  It has simple Start, Stop, and Clear buttons and count time in hours, minutes, and seconds.  It’s handy for all sorts of uses from cooking to timing a workout.

4. Stopwatch – The Stopwatch app is similar to the Timer, but takes up less screen real estate and has one less button – Start becomes Stop when the stopwatch is running, plus there is a Reset button.

5. Compass – The compass app uses your phones built-in compass and accelerometer to move as you rotate the phone.  It is useful if you are into and activity such as hiking, r just have a reason know which direction is which to head or look.

6. Bubble Level – This is perhaps the most useful of the six apps.  A level is one of those tools that every homeowner needs on a regular basis for such simple things as hanging pictures, blinds, shelves, and a hundred other things.  It consists of three separate levels – a vertical, horizontal, and circular ones.

All  six of the included apps can be accessed from the home screen with the click of an icon.  The app is free from the Android Market and is lightweight, quick, and easy to use.  Plus, it replaces a bumch of other apps that you would otherwise download and install separately.