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HP TouchPad to cost the same as the iPad 2 in the UK upon mid-July arrival

Start sharpening your credit cards tablet fans, because the HP TouchPad will be available for pre-orders in the UK on 19 June for delivery in mid-July, starting at £399.

The HP TouchPad is coming to the UK in mid-July. The precise arrival date on our shelves is still unknown, but pre-orders will open here on 19 June. That gives HP some wiggle room before it has to actually ship the tactile tablet.

The TouchPad will come in 16GB and 32GB flavours, and it's Wi-Fi only, with no 3G option. Expect to pay £399 for the 16GB version and £479 for the 32GB one.

Those prices put it bang on the same level as the 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi only iPad 2. That's not the only thing the TouchPad has in common with the iPad 2. Both have 9.7-inch screens too.

The TouchPad can't match the iPad 2's awesomely light weight and thinness, however. The TouchPad weighs in at 720g compared to the iPad 2's svelte 601g. It's also 14mm thick compared to 9mm for the iPad 2.

webOS has also struggled to catch its iOS and Android competitors in the app arena. There are about 7,000 webOS apps, according to HP, compared to Apple's estimate of 350,000 iOS apps.

Take a gander at our tablet comparison tool to see how the TouchPad stacks up to the iPad 2 and the rest of its competition.  

In an alliance that makes a mockery of our special relationship with Uncle Sam, the TouchPad will come to the US, France and Germany first, on 1 July. 

The TouchPad will be the first tablet to run webOS, the mobile software that's more familiar from the Palm Pre and its successors. Palm has been hoovered up by HP, but webOS remains as attractive and innovative as ever, based on our early hands-on tests.

After the 9.7-inch TouchPad, HP has more sizes of tablets in the works, Jon Rubinstein hinted at this months' Uplinq conference. HP could even partner with other manufacturers to get webOS on to more gadgets.