In a slightly left-field move, Archos has announced plans to release a new version of its Internet Media Tablet range... but this time it's a smartphone.

Although details are fairly sketchy at the moment, the new IMT will function as a smartphone, with inbuilt 3.5G HSPA connectivity.

A 5-inch screen size means this will be something of a beast in terms of size and likely weight... but it means the French company is taking the 'bigger is better' approach at taking on the iPhone.

The phone, which will have a capacity of up to 500GB and a 7 hour playback time, will still have media at its heart, but will also offer voice and presumably messaging functionality too.

The handset will come in at a fairly pocket friendly 10mm thickness, although it's unlikely to carry a SSD, meaning the spinning HDD will weigh a few pounds.

The power of a PC

The idea is to have the device operating at laptop-like speeds, thanks to the OMAP3440 processor based on the ARM Cortex-A8 superscalar microprocessor, so internet will be displayed as you might find on a PC.

Oh, and cocking a snook to Apple... Flash will also be supported.

"Archos was proud to announce the introduction of its Archos 5 HSDPA IMT last year with SFR. We are continuing to advance our efforts in the IMT space with the introduction of this new product," said Henri Crohas, CEO and Archos founder.

"Support for an Android-based device represents a historical opportunity for Archos to combine all the best of our IMTs with a phone in a single device delivering high quality video and a full web experience in true mobility."

We're not sure how this phone will be manufactured, although it's likely there may be some co-operation with a member of the Open Handset Alliance, where Google's Android system is developed, as Archos is not numbered among the contributors.

Due out later this year during Q3, expect this to be on your Christmas list... though you might want to ask for some super strong trouser pockets as well.