Archos 32 Android Tablet
With all the latest and greatest iPhone competitors sporting Google's Android 2.2 OS, it only makes sense that an iPod Touch competitor would take the same strategy.
That's the gist behind the Archos 32, a pocket-size, self-described "tablet" running Android 2.2, and available now for less than $150. Like the Touch, you get most of the benefits of a multimedia-friendly smartphone, without the hassle of carrier contracts or monthly bills. With it, you can browse the Web, check your e-mail, listen to some tunes, watch a video, and even extend its features by installing third-party apps.
Of course, there's a catch. Honestly, there are a number of catches, ranging from a cramped screen, limited capacity (8GB), audio glitches, mediocre screen resolution, underwhelming camcorder quality, and spotty Wi-Fi reception. But the most glaring omission from the Archos 32 is the lack of a Google-sanctioned app Marketplace. Archos provides their own directory of mostly-free apps that can be browsed and installed directly on the device, but don't expect to see much in the way of games or marquee apps, such as Pandora, Evernote, TripIt, Shazam, and so on.
Keep in mind, while these are all legitimate gripes, we're still talking about a device that costs as little as an iPod Nano. It becomes a lot easier to accept that the Archos 32 can't hold a candle to the iPod Touch when you realize you paid close to $100 less for it. If you just need something affordable and portable to take around and check email and listen to music, the Archos 32 could be just the thing.
Also, it supports tethering, so you can piggyback on your phone's data connection if you're away from Wi-Fi. Then again, if you already have a phone with a data plan, you'd probably be better off spending your $149 on upgrading to a legitimate Android phone.
Enough with the small talk. Here is CNET's full review of the Archos 32.