While Archos has long held dreams of expanding into smartphones, we've seen it run into its fair share of roadblocks along the way. Thanks in part to a sharpened corporate focus, that vision is at last becoming real with the company's first, honest-to-goodness smartphone range. The 35 Carbon, 50 Platinum and 53 Platinum all cater to the budget, carrier-independent crowd with common foundations of unlocked 7.2Mbps HSPA 3G, dual SIM slots (only one being 3G) and stock Android. We also see a rather skimpy 4GB of storage, although a microSD slot on each phone helps make up for the difference.
What you're mostly paying for is performance and screen size. The 35 Carbon ships with an HVGA 3.5-inch screen, a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon S1, 512MB of RAM, VGA cameras and Ice Cream Sandwich; move up to the 50 or 53 Platinum and you'll get their respective 5- and 5.3-inch qHD screens, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Play, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera and Jelly Bean. No, we're not bowled over by the performance any more than you are -- but the respective contract-free prices of $100, $220 and $250 may have at least some trying Archos' first effort, even if the company's late May launch will only include Europe at first.