Archos to debut $200 LTE smartphone at CES

The emergence of cheaper smartphones with LTE is expected to be a major smartphone trends this year

Archos is showing two low-cost Android-based smartphones next week at the International CES trade show, including the 45 Helium 4G, which is priced at $200 without a contract.

One of the major smartphone trends this year is expected to be the emergence of cheaper smartphones with LTE, which is something products like the Motorola Moto G and Nokia Lumia 520 today lack. The key is the availability of cheaper components from vendors such as Qualcomm and MediaTek.

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The Archos 45 Helium 4G is one example of this development. It has a 4.5-inch screen and is powered by 1.4 GHz quad-core processor. The LTE connection is on paper capable of download speeds at up to 150Mbps. But to get the cost down to $200, Archos also had to make some sacrifices: there is only 1GB of RAM, 4GB of integrated storage and the screen resolution is 854 by 480 pixels. The 45 Helium 4G also has a 5-megapixel camera.

The French company's second new LTE smartphone, the 50 Helium 4G, costs $250. At that price, users get a 5-inch screen with 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution, 8GB of storage and an 8-megapixel camera. The processor is the same and there is still 1GB of RAM.

To make up for the lack of integrated storage, the two phones have a MicroSD card slot. Both models also run Android 4.3, but can be upgraded to version 4.4 of Google's operating system.

Archos didn't offer any details on when and where the two smartphones would be available, but said the goal is to jointly engineer and launch affordable 4G products worldwide with Qualcomm.

At CES, Archos will also show smart watches that cost under $100 and an Android tablet specially designed for home automation.

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