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7-inch ZTE Light, Galaxy Tab contender, sticks to Android 2.1

Another day, another Android tablet. ZTE reveals a new slate that matches the Samsung Galaxy Tab in terms of screen size, but not software.

The Android tablet invasion continues, with Chinese firm ZTE the latest to try its hand at making a match for the iPad, releasing a new slate called the ZTE Light.

The Light will follow the Samsung Galaxy Tab blueprint with a 7-inch touchscreen display, but it will only run the 2.1 version of Android. Big Sam's much-hyped machine, which hits stores on 1 November, carries Android 2.2 Froyo. There's no mention as to whether the ZTE Light will feature a resistive or capacitive touchscreen, but for its own sake we hope it's capacitive. If not, it could meet the same fate as the heavily panned Next tablet.

The ZTE Light will have 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, and weigh 403g, slightly heavier than the Tab which scales in at 380g. It also brings 512MB of RAM, GPS navigation, a 3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, an external SD slot with up to 32GB of external memory, and up to 10 hours of battery life.

As yet, there is no release date or even confirmation that the ZTE Light will reach the UK. If it does, we would expect the price to hover around the £150 to £250 mark, since it only runs Android 2.1. In comparison, the 7-inch Archos 70 will cost £229, and includes Android 2.2. Another 7-incher, the ViewSonic Viewpad, looks very similar to the ZTE Light in terms of specs, but with Android 2.2 costs £350.

While this might be the first time you've heard of the company, ZTE does have a small history of bringing Android devices to the UK. These include the ZTE Racer, a decent little Android 2.1 handset available for £110 on pay as you go. Corners were cut with a resistive touchscreen and somewhat cheap styling, but we still gave the smart phone a very reasonable three and a half stars.

November looks like the month that will turn the tablet tables, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Similar tablet devices are also marked for a release around this date, in an obvious attempt to fan the flames left by the trailblazing iPad. These new slates will have a clear run until after Christmas, when we expect gadgets like the iPad 2 and BlackBerry PlayBook to reach our shores.