The iPad 2 may be about to be unveiled, but Dixons Retail plc is making the Honeycomb-powered Motorola Xoom available for pre-order a full 30 minutes before the curtains rise at Apple's event.

Priced at £499 (as previously thought), the 32GB Wi-Fi-only version of the tablet will be able to be ordered from all of the group's retail sites, including,, and The group also has a one-month exclusive on the Wi-Fi version, so will be the only place to get one initially. After this period, the Carphone Warehouse will also be able to stock it, and Dixons will likewise get the 3G version too.

There's still no official word on release date for the Android 3.0-sporting iPad-rival, but it is expected to arrive in the next month or two, having initially been touted as appearing in Q2 2011.

Prices for the other-sized versions are also yet to be announced.

Hoping to beat Apple to the punch, Jeremy Fennell, category director at Dixons Retail states: "We are delighted to be able to offer our customers the chance to order this excellent product; ensuring they are first to get their hands on the product when it arrives in the UK later in the spring.  Our customers will soon be able to experience the benefits it offers, including internet, gaming, email, video chat, and the ability to download all the apps that Android tablets provide."