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Google Nexus 7 rival Kobo Arc beats Kindle Fire to UK

The Google Nexus 7 has a rival in the new Kobo Arc, a 7-inch tablet announced on the day the Amazon Kindle Fire 2 is expected.

Look out Google! The popular Google Nexus 7 tablet finally has a rival in the shape of the Kobo Arc, a new 7-inch tablet announced alongside the Kobo Glo and Kobo Mini ebook readers -- and on the very day the Amazon Kindle Fire 2 is expected to be revealed.

The Kobo Arc tablet packs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a step behind the Nexus 7's bang-up-to-date Jelly Bean software. But it has the full slate of Google apps and access to the official Android app market, Google Play, which puts it streets ahead of other cheap Android tablets.

Let's hope it's better than the disappointing Kobo Vox, anyway. Like the Nexus 7, the Kobo Arc has a front-facing camera for video chat, but no main camera. Inside is a 1.5GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, with a 1,280x800-pixel high-definition screen on top. 

Crucially, the Arc matches the Google Nexus 7 on price, costing £160 for the model with 8GB of storage, and £190 for the 16GB version.

Also announced today, the Kobo Glo is a 6-inch ereader that glows in the dark so you can read by night. The Glow costs £100. And the Kobo Mini is a 5-inch ebook reader with multicoloured swappable covers. The Mini costs £60.

Kobo ereaders are available in WHSmiths or online, with the Arc hitting shops in November and the new Glo and Mini on sale on 1 October.

Amazon also announces something new today -- it's likely to be the Kindle Fire 2. The announcement takes place in the US and there's been no word from Amazon here in the UK, so it seems the Kindle Fire 2 will emulate the original Kindle Fire and stay on the other side of the pond. Fingers crossed for some UK news, but it seems likely the Kobo Arc has the drop on both Amazon and another UK-bound US tablet and ebook seller, Barnes and Noble.

Is the Kobo Arc a genuine contender with the Nexus 7, or has Google got the 7-inch market sewn up? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.