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HTC Flyer UK pre-orders kick off with £600 price and mid-April release date

HTC's first Android tablet, the Flyer, has been made available to pre-order by UK online retailer Clove, with a £600 price tag and an anticipated release date of mid-April.

Can't wait to get your hands on the HTC Flyer, the company's first Android tablet? Well, you'll have to wait a little longer, but not much. The 7-inch tablet is now available to pre-order in the UK, courtesy of online retailer Clove Technology.

Clove says the first stocks of the Flyer are due to touch down in mid-April, and it's slapped a £600 price tag on the device. Clove warns that final pricing hasn't been confirmed yet, so it may tweak the cost once HTC confirms the official selling price for the device.

The Flyer was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February. It raised eyebrows due to HTC's decision to use Google's Android 2.4 Gingerbread software, rather than the tablet-optimised Android 3.0 Honeycomb. We're assuming an upgrade will be pushed out sooner rather than later to bring the Flyer up to date with rivals like the Motorola Xoom.

HTC's first slate has a 7-inch screen, putting it in direct competition with Samsung's Galaxy Tab, which came out last year. HTC is slapping its Sense user interface on top of Android, and is also talking up the Scribe technology used to scribble handwriting on the screen, using the Flyer's stylus.

A 5-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel front camera put the iPad 2 to shame. The device also offers 32GB of storage and a 1.5GHz single-core processor. The version being offered by Clove is the 3G and Wi-Fi model, although we're assuming it's SIM-free, since no operator is mentioned on the pre-order page.

The Flyer is also notable for being the first mobile device toship with the OnLive cloud-based gaming service, something flagged up in Clove's product listing. That said, we're not sure if UK Flyer owners will be merrily streaming games from day one, since the US service is still working on its UK launch plans. Last year, however, OnLive sounded pretty positive about Blighty.

Something that may provide food for thought before pre-ordering a Flyer is this week's rumour that HTC is working on a 10-inch Honeycomb tablet. But, as yet, there has been no official confirmation beyond its listing in a US retailer's training materials.