Pocket-friendly Honeycomb

Tablets: do you want a decent one, or do you want a cheap one? Sadly, that's been the choice so far. The iPad and its top-end Android rivals like Motorola's Xoom won't set you back any less than a decent laptop. There are plenty of budget Android tablets available, but they tend to be running a horrible out-of-date version of Google's software.

Well, rejoice, frugality fans, because that might all be about to change. French manufacturer Archos has released a fair few Android tablets so far, but they've all been in the 'cheap and out-of-date' range. Now, though, it's set to come bang up to date. Archos have announced two new tablets, both of which will run Honeycomb, the up-to-date version of Android that's designed especially for tablets.

Slightly confusingly, both new tablets are called the G9, but like the previous generations of Archos tablets, there are two sizes. There's a ten-inch widescreen tablet, designed to compete with the likes of the Xoom. And then, unusually, there's an 8-inch tablet with a 4:3 non-widescreen shape. We reckon that sounds like a great portable tablet for reading and web browsing on.

Like with other Archos tablets, the two flavours of G9 will be available either with Flash storage built-in - a respectable 16GB - or with a 250GB hard drive. Personally, we'd say the reduced durability and battery life you get with a hard drive outweighs the benefits in terms of storage, but if you want to fill your tablet with films you might feel differently.

The new Archos tablets will be powered by a 1.5GHz Texas Instruments processor, making them a worthy rival to the leading tablets. But, fortunately, they'll continue Archos' fondness for low prices - with the 8-inch model set to cost under £200.

If you've been waiting for a decent budget tablet to make the leap, we think these might be it. But stay tuned - we'll bring you all the reviews before they're released in September.

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