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Tablets

BlackBerry PlayBook open for pre-register in the UK

Several retailers have added PlayBook pre-registration pages to their websites, so eager Brits can be notified the moment the BlackBerry tablet is available to buy.

The long-awaited BlackBerry PlayBook has gone on sale in America today -- and keen Brits can now flag their desire to buy the tablet too.

Though not yet on sale in the UK, several retailers have added PlayBook pre-registration pages to their websites. Impatient would-be PlayBookers can hand over their personal details on the promise of an early heads-up when RIM's slate goes on sale over 'ere.

Tempted? Both the Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u will happily add you to their respective databases, though you might want to tick the little boxes to opt out of receiving unrelated alerts. We imagine other UK retailers will get in on the action soon enough too.

Rumoured for many months beforehand and dubbed the BlackPad, the PlayBook was officially announced in September last year. The 7-inch, 1GHz dual-core processor-packing Wi-Fi gizmo is RIM's first foray into the tablet market, making it the latecomer behind countless Android variants and Apple's iPad and iPad 2.

A RIM spokesperson today acknowledged that UK retailers were now taking PlayBook pre-registration enquiries, but declined to comment on launch date or pricing.

We test-drove the PlayBook just a couple of days after the official launch and guessed that based on its sky-high specs it would be unlikely to be cheap. While UK pricing has yet to be revealed, however, the cost of US PlayBook models may give some indication as to what buyers over here can expect to pay.

Before US sales tax, the 16, 32 and 64GB versions of the PlayBook are priced respectively at $499, $599 and $699 -- £306, £368 and £429 at today's exchange rates. With the UK's 20 per cent VAT added on, it seems unlikely that RIM will be able to better the UK pricing of the competing models in Apple's iPad 2 line-up by a massive amount. They would be slightly cheaper, however: £367, £441 and £515, compared to £399, £479 and £559 for the Wi-Fi only models (add £100 to each for 3G).

Will you buy the PlayBook if RIM sets the price at the same level as an equivalent iPad 2? Or has the company delivered too little, too late for become a player in the tablet market? Have your swipe in the comments section.