Disgo has launched a Google Android-based tablet PC that bucks the trend by costing a mere £179. By contrast, most tablet PCs cost nearer £400 or £500. The Disgo Tablet 6000 goes onsale in the UK this month. 

The BlackBerry PlayBook announced earlier this week, for example, is likely to cost around £500 when it goes onsale. The Apple iPad, meanwhile, costs £529 for a model with both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Luke Noonan, disgo's purchasing director, said "Tablets have been one of the big consumer technology stories of 2010, and we're delighted to get our offering onto the shelves before most other companies. We believe that the Google Android OS gives the disgo tablet 6000 the flexibility needed to tailor every unit to the users’ own distinct interests." 

Tablet PCs differ from notebook computers in that they don’t run a full desktop operating system. This means they are not suitable for heavy duty document creation and editing tasks, but many are able to offer limited document viewing and updating functions via apps that the tablet owner downloads and installs. Their touchscreens and onscreen keyboards make them compelling tactile devices suitable for tapping out messages, browsing the web , reading e-books and viewing photos and video.

The Disgo Tablet 6000 is an Android 2.1 device with a 7in touchscreen. The resolution is limited to 800x480 pixels while there is a mere 256MB of onboard memory. A microSD card slot allows for apps and photos to be run or viewed from a removable media card. Disgo cites the Android Market's 1000s of free apps as a compelling selling point for its device.

The Tablet 6000 will come preloaded with a YouTube app and a feature called SlideMe Market – Disgo's take on the Android app Market. A wowBook e-book reader and the Skyfire web browser distinguish it from other Android devices that typically use Stanza or Amazon Kindle for electronic book display and the Google Chrome web browser.

The Disgo Tablet 6000 will go onsale in the UK this month at Amazon.co.uk, HMV and Play.com. 

See also: BlackBerry unveils PlayBook tablet

See also: Apple iPad review