A tablet for under $US100! It's out - but only in China!

The Novo7 runs on Android 4.0 has a 7-inch screen and high-definition video capabilities

A first-of-its-kind tablet with Google's Android 4.0 priced under US$100 is now available in China, and will reach other countries soon, according to companies that helped build the device.

Ainol's Novo7 tablet has a 7-inch capacitive screen and runs on a 1GHz single-core MIPS processor, said MIPS Technologies and chip maker Ingenic in a joint press release. The tablet's battery lasts eight hours on watching video, seven hours when browsing the Web and six hours when playing games.

The tablet runs on Google's Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, which is the successor to Android 3.0, code-named Honeycomb, which is found on the more advanced tablets today.

For its price, the tablet also has a surprisingly vast feature list. The Novo7 includes cameras on the front and back, 3D graphics capabilities, 1080p video decoding and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port to connect the tablet to high-definition TVs.

"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," said Andy Rubin, senior vice-president of mobile at Google in a statement.

The tablet is available only in China through Ainol Electronics, but will come to other countries within the next several months under brands including Leader International and OMG Electronics. New tablets with 8-inch and 9-inch screens will also become available in the future, MIPS and Ingenic said.

The tablet has acquired Google certification to run applications such as Google Maps, Gmail, Google Music and Google Talk. However, Google does not provide official Android market access in China, so the device lacks that feature, said Jen Bernier-Santarini, a MIPS spokeswoman. Access to Android Market is an ongoing concern for inexpensive tablet users.

"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," Bernier-Santarini said.

However, the tablet can access other third-party app markets such as Amazon, from where apps like Angry Birds can be downloaded.

The sub-$US100 price is a breakthrough for users looking for new tablets with the latest Android OS. Most inexpensive tablets come with versions of Android 2, which is for smartphones, while notable tablets that come with tablet-optimized Android 3.0 are priced above $US250. Other device makers are also announcing tablets with Android 4.0, which has already been ported to the ARM and x86 processors.

The Novo7 is also a showcase tablet for MIPS, a chip licensing company that is battling ARM and Intel for smartphone and tablet market share. Tablets using MIPS processors include Velocity Micro's $139 Cruz Tablet, but MIPS processors have not found wide acceptance in the tablet market dominated by Apple's iPad, which runs on an ARM processor.

The original development of Android 4.0 revolved around ARM processors, but Intel and MIPS quickly ported the OS to work on their processors after Google released the source code last month.

MIPS dominates the embedded market, with processors found in set-top boxes, TV sets and other embedded devices. The company believes the smartphones and tablets are a natural extension from the embedded market. The company's processors are also being used by the Chinese government in chip designs.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MIPS TechnologiesGooglemobilityhardware systemsmobile solutionstabletsAndroid tablets

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?