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Archos iPad 2 Rivals Land In UK, Starting At £199

French gadget manufacturer Archos has officially launched two Android-based tablets that differ from the rest of the competition by uniquely sporting a 250GB spinning hard disk drive.

The Archos 80 G9 and the 101 G9 are powered by a Texas Instruments dual core system on chip, the TI OMAP4460, which is clocked at 1.5GHz and is based on ARM's Cortex A9 architecture; they both come with Android Honeycomb 3.1, 1GB RAM, a 250GB hard disk drive, HDMI output via an optional cable (à la iPad 2) plus a nifty little optional 3G dongle that costs £49 and slots in a USB slot at the back of the tablet.

Both tablets won't apparently be available until the fourth quarter of the year and Archos has also confirmed that there will be a 16GB version of the 101 G9 on sale for £279 (uses flash storage), which is £220 cheaper than the HDD version, while the 16GB 80 G9 will cost only £199.

We're not sure whether you will be able to swap the bundled SIM card for something else (Archos says that it is working with Orange and Three UK) or if you will be able to use the USB port for anything else. The two versions have different screen sizes and resolutions.

The 80 G9 has an eight-inch screen with a 1024x768 pixel resolution, the same as the iPad 2 while the 101 G9 has a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 1280x800 pixel resolution which, surprise surprise, has a 16:10 screen ratio (different from the 4:3 resolution on the 80 G9).

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.