Archos announces Fusion Storage tech, 256 GB tablet

When speaking of mobile devices, there are usually two kinds of storage. Internal memory which comes with all devices and, for those with microSD card slots, external or expansion storage. Android seems to have a love/hate relationship with the latter, with Google opting to scrap it altogether because of security and stability, while users want the freedom to expand their available storage. Archos seems to have a rather strange solution called "Fusion Storage" that attempts to virtually combine the two into one unified "internal" memory.

Google's reasons for discouraging external storage sounds reasonable from a technical standpoint. The operating system can't exercise full control and secure external memory because they can be removed by the user (or other unauthorized people) any time. But sadly, the amount of internal memory inside our mobile devices leave users craving for more. Archos attempts to fix that problem by virtually combining both internal and external storage as one single internal storage. This has the effect of providing as much as double the internal memory and, at the same time, fooling the Android system into thinking everything is internal memory.

While definitely attractive, there are some questions about implementation that Archos leaves unanswered for now. What is the performance impact on the system, for one. microSD cards are traditionally slower at read and write operations than internal flash storage, so there is bound to be a performance hit somewhere. And what happens when a user or someone else removes the microSD card? These are just some of the details Archos might need to flesh out in the coming days, though fortunately Fusion Storage is an optiional switch in the OEM's upcoming devices.

Speaking of upcoming devices, Archos is announcing a new tablet line called Magnus that are quite interesting beyond being the first devices to support Fusion Storage, though they still focus on memory. The 101 Magnus, for example, is advertised to be the first tablet with a 64 GB internal memory but even more impressive is the 94 Magnus which has a whopping 256 GB. And that's without Fusion Storage yet. All three, including the 101 Magnus+ which has 128 GB of internal memory, can support a 128 GB microSD card, so in some cases, Fusion Storage double the capacity available. With the exception of the 101 Magnus (not the Plus), the tablets can only boast of 720p screen resolutions. Being Archos, these are mid-range tablets so you shouldn't be surprised to see MediaTek or Rockchip inside with nary a trace of Qualcomm.

The tablets will all arrive in April this year. The 256 GB 94 Magnus will carry a price tag of 249 GBP or $380 and will be available only from Archos' online store. The 128 GB 101 Magnus+ will come with the same price. The 64 GB 101 Magnus, on the other hand, will have a much lower price tag of 129 GB, roughly $198.

SOURCE: Archos (PDF), (2)