Orange has announced the Tabby, a touchscreen tablet PC, designed to offer the family access to the Internet and media via a variety of widgets and web browsing options.

Although produced by Orange, it works via Wi-Fi and will therefore be compatible regardless of the ISP. It will also connect to the home network via DLNA and Wi-Fi, so photos, music and movies can also be viewed from the home PC.

The hardware itself is produced by Sagem, whilst Orange currently make up the widgets that sit on the homescreen, including those for weather, stocks, travel and horoscopes.

Alternatively, access to the web is available through the supplied Opera browser, and additional applications are available to be downloaded through Opera. A pop-up touchscreen keyboard is available for entering web addresses and the like.

Battery life away from the dock is 3 hours of "intense use", and interestingly, an Orange spokesperson has said that the tablet has the ability to access the Internet via 3G, although this isn’t an avenue they’re pursuing at the current time.

Sadly, if this sounds like the perfect non-PC internet access device for you, it is currently only being trialled in France from May for 299 euros. However, a successful product there might well see it being brought to the UK in the future.