Archos has unveiled a trio of new Android handsets which the company says it will offer in the UK without a contract.
The company said that its handsets will be available in late May and will be offered without any Sim cards or carrier restrictions.
Ranging from a 3.5in model priced at £80 to a 5.3in handset costing £200, the phones will be offered with a neutral 'unskinned' version of Android. All three will come out of the box with access to Google Play and Google now as well as Archos media player tools.
While most smartphones have been subsidised by carriers to help keep retail costs down, Archos is opting instead to offer its device to all users, aiming for higer quantities of sales rather than a payoff from an exclusive agreement.
Archos chief executive Loic Poirier said that the new devices and the decision to offer them unsubsidised without a mobile contract requirement was the result of trends the company is seeing in the mobile space.
"The smartphone market is shifting, as Sim-free sales versus subsidised sales are increasing. Archos is prepared to respond to this change, as we can offer retail channels affordable, unlocked and feature-rich smartphones without the heavy price tag,” Poirier explained.
“Furthermore, smartphones and tablets are interrelated markets that have quickly crossed over with the arrival of 'phablets' - half-phone, half-tablet devices."
The locking and unlocking of mobile devices has become a hot topic in recent months as users have sought to take popular handsets to outside networks. While most vendors to offer unlocked phones, the devices are often priced far higher than their locked counterparts.
Earlier this year, unlocking was brought to the forefront when the US began to enforce legislation which barred users from performing unlock procedures on their devices as a copyright infringement under the new Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
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