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French consumer electronics manufacturer Archos may not be a household name here in the U.S., but they've been making portable media players for years -- and now they're dipping a toe into iPad accessories as well.
Archos Design announced its Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad this week, a bit of a curious product introduction given the company's roots in Linux-based portable media players and more recently, Android-based tablets.
Prior to Apple's iPad, Archos media players were actually a better option than the iPod, since the French company infused their software with the ability to play back just about anything you could throw at it. Archos recently brought its media player software to all Android hardware via a Google Play app, and apparently now has set its sights on the iPad as well.
Archos' Bluetooth keyboard bears more than a passing resemblance to competing accessories from Logitech and others, but it also comes straight from similar designs used for its own Android-powered Archos 101 and 80 tablet hardware.
Built for the iPad 2 or higher, the Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard is 0.2 inches thin and doubles as a front cover for the tablet when you're not typing away on it. One advantage over competitors like Logitech: The Archos keyboard features an adjustable kickstand for getting the perfect viewing angle.
Archos will begin shipping the Ultrathin Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad in March for $79, and it will be interesting to see if this is part of a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" strategy or just an oddball product anomaly.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter