MIPS Launches $99 Android 4.0 Tablet

The cheapest tablet is now available in Chine for only $99. The device is running Google’s latest mobile OS, Android 4.0 (codenamed: Ice Cream Sandwich). The tablet known as Ainovo Novo7 is a 7-inch tablet, which is certainly not as impressive as iPad or Galaxy Tabs, but sports two significant things that make it worth noticing, including Ice Cream Sandwich and MIPS.

Perhaps, for many of the people, these two things are of less important than the fact whether the device supports Netflix and Angry Birds. Broadly speaking, the two features are of sole importance when it comes to distinguish between US and Chinese markets.

Almost majority of the people are now well aware of the Ice Cream Sandwich – Google’s latest mobile OS with several new additions, improvements and plethora of new features. The new OS launched with Samsung’s latest Galaxy Nexus. The latest Android-devices are coming with Android 4.0.

According to MIPS Technologies and chip maker Ingenic, the device sports a 7-inch capacitive screen and has a 1GHz single-core MIPS processor. As for battery life, it will last for eight hours while watching a video, last for seven hours while browsing the web and six hours while playing games.

Moreover, the Novo7 also features two cameras, one on the back and one facing front for video calls; 3D graphics capabilities; 1080p video decoding; and a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port that will enable users to connect their device to HD TVs.

The Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google said, “I’m thrilled to see the entrance of MIPS-based Android 4.0 tablets into the market. Low cost, high performance tablets are a big win for mobile consumers and a strong illustration of how Android’s openness drives innovation and competition for the benefit of consumers around the world.”

Currently, the tablet is only offered in China via Ainol Electronics, but it is expected to launch in other countries in coming months through Leader International and OMG Electronics. MIPS and Ingenic also revealed that customers can expect to have 8-inch and 9-inch tablets in the future.

Interestingly, like any other renowned tablet devices, the Novo7 has also got Google certification to run its applications, such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Talk and Google Music. However, MIPS spokeswoman, Jen Bernier-Santarini made it clear here that as Google doesn’t provide access to Android Market officially in China, so this feature absents in the tablet.

She further said, “Android Market access is provided by Google through negotiations with carriers and OEMs as part of Google Mobile Services in other geographies. So Google will need to work with U.S. OEMs on this for future releases of the product.”

The Novo7 can also be considered as a showcase tablet for MIPS, a chip licensing firm having strong competition with ARM and Intel for smartphone and tablet market share. Although, MIPS processors are being used in tablet market, such as Velocity Micro’s $139 Cruz Tablet, its processors haven’t received much appreciation in the iPad dominant market that use ARM processor.

MIPS is trying hard to make its impression in tablet market with its processor against ARM. It is important to note here that MIPS is a recognized name in the embedded market with its processors widely used in set-top boxes, TV sets and other related devices.

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