French electronics maker Archos was one of the first companies to release an Android tablet… way back when Android was a smartphone-only operating system that didn’t officially support tablets.

In recent years company has become better known (if it’s known at all) for making cheap phones and attempting to get in on the smart home space.

But the latest Archos product is another Android tablet. Sort of.

The Archos Play Tab is a slate with a full HD touchscreen display that runs Android 9 Pie. It’s expected to be available in Europe in time for the back to school season this summer or fall and it’ll sell for €249 (about $280). But it’s not exactly a tablet in the traditional sense — the Play Tab has a 21.5 inch display.

Archos says the Play Tab is designed as something you can lay flat on a table so that two or more people can play games using on a single board.

On the one hand, that kind of makes sense — the Archos Play Tab takes up less space than a stack of board games, and it could theoretically save you some money over time if digital versions of games like Scrabble, Settelers of Catan, or Monopoly are cheaper than physical versions (they often are).

On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure how you’re supposed to prevent other players from seeing your cards, tiles, or other items if you’re all playing on the same board.

Anyway, if you’re in the market for a 21.5 inch Androidt ablet for one reason or another Archos says its model has a 5,000 mAh battery, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and support for the Google Play Store.

There’s no word on the processor or other specs.

via Android Police

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26 replies on “Archos Play Tab is a 21.5 inch Android tablet for tabletop games or something”

  1. Big tablets are difficult to use. If you have to hold it with both hands, you can you navigate the touchscreen? I had a tablet with a 13.3 inch screen once. I got rid of it because it was to hard to use handheld. I won’t buy another tablet with a screen larger than 10 inches.

  2. I would actually love something exactly like this, however with Archos I am concerned that this is going to be complete trash, and probably lose OS updates and support a few months after it hits the shelves. I swore to never buy another Archos product again after they sold media players with advertised features that arrived months late and charged money for the updates.

    If a reputable company made something like this I would buy it. I think it would be cool if it had an integrated “Lazy Susan” on the back, so it could be rotated easily for table-top games.

    1. I suspect that some thing like this if slightlY larger could be a very good aide to DnD campaigns and maps for tabletop style rpg’s. Its just a bit too pricy for me to obtain and indeed the battery life is a concern. 🙂

  3. How heavy is it? with remote desktop, it could be a good screen to manage headless PCs.

  4. If there would be a way to integrate phones, that might help with card games.

    1. If and when tabletops finally catch on, games will start adding the ability to put player’s hands on their phones. The Jack TV series of games already do something similar with their TV-based party games, and it works very well.

  5. I was looking for something like this a few months back – to use as a portable TV; take out to the workshop, kitchen, home gym and maybe watching whilst in the bath.

    Here’s hoping for “OK” quality speakers, and at least 4-6 hours battery life of video.

    My only criticism would be those colourful “things” printed on the frame of the tablet; i’d prefer a solid/flat single colour.

  6. There are grandparents and other tech unsavy users out there that would like an Android based desktop computer. This could fill a niche if the specs are good enough to be usable and there is a way to prop it up. Keyboard and mouse support would be nice, but not absolutely necessary. The specs listed aren’t too bad for light use, but the processor might be a dud, as others have mentioned.

    1. ChromeOS fills that niche. Sure there aren’t any 21″ ChromeOS tablets, but nobody is really fighting for the “Grandparent on the go” segment.

  7. In my little world of tech news, Archos is pretty well known. Admittedly… have not heard their name in a while. Glad they’re back with another interesting product.

    They always seem to come up with gadgets that really make you think at very good price points (early on it was for sticking really large drives inside handhelds). Since most of their stuff was for the budget conscious, performance has always been an issue (from what I can recall).

    I really like the idea of a 21.5″ monitor in that price range. This is one I’m going to keep an eye on: many use cases. Fingers crossed on the final weight and initial reviews (if any).

    1. I haven’t paid much attention to Archos in years, but I agree they used to make tablets and other devices at prices low enough to make you think… until you discovered the reason they were that cheap — i.e. the poor build quality.

      One thing you always should do with Archos is wait for the reviews to come in.

      1. At the start 2008 – 2012, Archos wasn’t so bad, simply because the rest of the industry wasn’t as good as it is today in terms of build quality/fit’n’polish (and the industry was much faster paced).

        I can say the one thing that killed tablets was Google.
        They made great headway into it, back in the day of Android 4.0.3 ICS. However, Google practically pulled support for tablets with Jelly Bean and beyond. Its not just the UI, but a lot of App Optimisations were scrapped.

        If you don’t think Google is incompetent when it comes to their software, support, and projects I implore you to look at their track-record. For one thing, look at the proprietary AndroidTV project and tell me that is flourishing with a straight-face. All Google is concerned about is: Advertising, Information Control and Access, YouTube services, and Android Phones.

        1. Yeah, Google likes to dabble. They’re like that friend that has a different job every month.
          They don’t have the tenacity to stick with many of their projects or the focus to refine them. I’d say they are the best at search, email, maps, and voice recognition. They do pretty well with Android for phones, ChromeOS/Chromebooks, and Google Docs/Drive (Sheets could be better, but it’s improving | and Android Apps in ChromeOS is coming along but still pretty buggy).

          Side note: I don’t understand why there are multiple versions of ChromeOS for different Chromebooks and why there hasn’t been some defragmentation in Android. I know it’s a whole other discussion, but why can one version of Windows support a multitude of different hardware configurations but each Android device and Chromebook have to have a specialized version of the OS? Why can’t Google make one version of Android (that adjusts the UI for screen size) and one version of ChromeOS to support multiple hardware configurations and then centrally push updates to devices instead of relying on OEMs to release updates (for Android devices)?

          Anyway, back on topic… There has been so many projects Google has started and stopped, or started and let languish. I really wish they’d label certain projects as “experimental” so people who like to spend their time and money wisely on tech will know that it will likely be cancelled or abandoned when they get tired of it.

          It’s possible that Google has let Android on tablets languish because they see ChromeOS as the future for that form factor. It wouldn’t be a bad situation if they get the bugs worked out of the Android on ChromeOS system. You’d get a desktop class browser, and centralized updates from Google, plus all, err, most (hopefully) of your Android apps.

    1. Or on a music stand for any musician. But honestly, eInk would be better, but the cost is prohibitive.

      1. Many people use iPad Mini’s.

        It’s great to see the lyrics and musical notes, and there are Apps that can scroll through the pages for you either via a timer or by listening to the microphone as you play.

  8. That is actualy a neat idea.
    We can expect Archos to use some old, subpar Mediatek as usual so pricing should be really low.
    I bit disapointing is a battery, 5000mAh for 21,5″? That does sound more like a typo.

    1. I suspect they figure you aren’t going to use it for hours on end while unplugged. It’s not like you’re going to take a 21.5 inch tablet and use it on the subway. But you can move it from your dining room to your living room without rebooting.

      1. Indeed; Lenovo built a tabletop with a 27″ screen, an Intel i7 CPU, a Nvidia GPU, ….& a battery for exactly that purpose.

        When it was set flat, it used the “Aura” interface to play the same sort of games. It was quite expensive as I recall ~$1700; they even scaled down to this same size (21.5″) with a retail @ $599.00 eventually. The idea tanked at that price; we shall see what happenns at half that price I guess…(?).

      2. Fair point, but this kind of tablet is going to attract DnD DM’s, and being used off-charger is probably the desired use-case. I don’t want a tablet being spun around different angles with a USB cable attached to it. I’m not an experienced DnD player, but I know many of them.

        However, I’m willing to bet this tablet’s battery is a 12V battery (based on the fact that most large screens are higher voltage), and mAh is a misleading way to compare battery life when you compare different voltages. A 5000 mAh 5V battery has 25 watt-hours, and a 5000 mAh 12V battery has 60 watt-hours. 5000 mAh might be an acceptable battery size for a 12V battery.

        1. D&D was my first thought looking at this too, and in that regard, it’s surprising that they didn’t go with x86 and Windows for this, as there’s a pretty vibrant selection of D&D tools for Windows. A few people I work with have built custom tables with screens in them just for this reason. If Archos really want to tap into that market, they should consider paying some of the more popular developers to do Android ports of their tools and include them with the device.

        2. I doubt it will be 12V, that’s rather high.
          Most phones get by using 3.5V – 3.8V, so I suspect you are right that this requires more juice, though its more likely to fall in the range of 4.9 – 5.5V if I’m honest.

          Which means this should have roughly a 28Wh battery. Which is kind of low (think of laptops). However, that capacity should be enough to drive this to work on battery anywhere from 2hours – 5hours, which should be enough for casual sessions of tablet use. And being in the vicinity of the charger should mean overall battery life isn’t an issue (until the battery degrades over time).

          1. I think you’re right, I overestimated that. I checked out some datasheets of some 21.5″ panels, and it looks like most of them run on 5V. For some reason I was thinking most panels above 20″ or so were 12V.

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