Dixons jumps on tablet bandwagon

Dixons has announced that it will be flogging two self-branded Android tablets in the run-up to Christmas, which could make the electrical retailer the first outfit to have its own cheap and cheerful prodable PCs on the shelves.

Dixons, which is the parent company of PC World and Curry's, says the Advent Amico and Avent Vega will "bring tablet computing to the masses" and with prices starting at £130 it may just have a point.

The "entry level" seven-inch Amico is powered by Android 2.1, is 15mm thick and comes in the same shiny black livery as every other iPad wannabe flooding the market. Further technical details are scant but we'll assume that at this price that the touch screen is resistive and the CPU is puny.

If you want something with a little more grunt, for nearly twice the money (£250) you can have the Vega which has a 10.1-inch capacitive touch screen and is powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 dual core 1GHz processor and runs Android 2.2 (Froyo). Dixons' claim that the Vega will be "one of the fastest tablets on the market" remains to be proven.

It comes with a 4GB SD card for storage, which can obvioulsy be expanded in line with your budget, a 1.3 megapixel camera and Wi-fi. We're a little suspicious of the claimed ten-hour battery life at this price point but we're willing to be proved wrong.

The most exciting news is that, unlike so many other OEMs, Dixons has pegged a firm on sale date to both models and you can expect top see them flying off of the shelves from November 1st.

We suspect Santa might be bringing sleigh-loads of these to children who had an iPad on their lists, but whose parent couldn't quite stretch to 430 quid for the lowliest Apple offering.

The Advent Vega in all its iPad-aping glory. If you want to know what the Amica looks like... take three steps back from your screen.