Just when we were getting used to the idea of Amazon’s Kindle Fire being the low-priced leader at $199, a company in China has released a tablet based on the latest version of Google’s Android operating system for $99.
Details of the $99 Ainol Novo7 have been confirmed in releases by the company’s chip’s suppliers that included a quote by Andy Rubin, Google’s top Android executive. And the Ainol Electronics website claims it’s now available for sale and is taking orders.
While currently only available in China, a release by chip provider MIPS says the Novo7 will be available in the U.S. and other countries in the next few months. MIPS also said 8- and 9-inch versions of the Novo will be available soon.
"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 Rubin, a Senior VP of Mobile at Google.
Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, is the first version of Android designed specifically for tablets. In a release, MIPS said the Novo7 is the first tablet to ship with Android 4.0. The tablet is powered by Ingenic's JZ4770 mobile applications processor, which leverages a MIPS-Based XBurst CPU running at 1GHz. Other features include front and back cameras, 3D graphics capabilities, 1080p video decoding and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port to connect the tablet to high-definition TVs.
While this isn’t the first tablet based on the MIPS processor, it’s fairly unusual as most newer tablets are powered by processors based on the ARM architecture.
"We are pleased to join with MIPS to announce these breakthrough high-performance, low-power, low-cost Android 4.0 tablets,” said Qiang Liu, chairman and CEO, Ingenic Semiconductor, in the release. “Combining the elegance of the MIPS architecture and Ingenic's innovation in processor design, we are bringing a new level of processor technology to mobile devices. As we continue to collaborate with MIPS to broaden the mobile ecosystem around the legendary MIPS architecture, we anticipate even broader proliferation of our devices worldwide. We believe the mobile world will be more versatile and colorful with another processor joining in.”