One of the faster moving consumer electronics companies is Archos. They were one of the first into the portable multimedia device sector and have always been just ahead of the bigger brands at releasing new devices that take advantage of the fastest processors, brightest screens and better sound. That's why I'm not surprised to see them making noise about their upcoming 70b Internet tablet that will have an MSRP of $199.00 here in the USA.
The70b, which is Android based, and has a fast 1.2 ghz processor, a reportedly bright screen, and all the usual Android 3.2 (Gingerbread) functionality. While Wi-Fi only, this creates a huge opportunity for voice and video providers, as well as app developers who have realized how the Android tablets low cost will change the end point game.
This is why Polycom is focusing their January news around software, not hardware, taking a page out of the book of client CounterPath, whose SVP Todd Carothers has been steadily beating the drum about the rise of the tablet and the death of the deskphone.
This is also why client Vidtel is focused on "any to any" video, where their technology takes advantageof Skype and GTalk 's network capability to allow tablet users (both iPad and Android) connect to any video conference using their MeetMe service. And it's why Vidyo has also made a big stand around their iPad and Android apps.
At the end of the day, the lower costs tablets are going to be the devices that replace your deskphone, and once LTE opens up to be VOIP versus keeping the traffic on older circuit switch networks, the ability to do more things will be all IP. That will further propel tablets, especially those which combine voice and video plus data and that's all great news for companies like Vidtel, CounterPath, Vidyo and the rest of the sector but bad news for those hardware companies without a software based direction.