While the iPad remains at its $499 price point, competing tablets have been getting cheaper and cheaper. The first Android tablets were crazy expensive, but this year tablets like the Nook Color sparked an interest in the low-cost 7-inch tablet market. Currently, the standard price for pocketable tablets is hoovering around $200, but a new tablet from microprocessor manufacturer MIPS aims to change that.
Costing only $99, the Novo7 was made by Ainol Electronics in collaboration with MIPS, in order to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of their processors. Surprisingly, the tablet manages to pack in quite a bit of hardware for the price, including a 1GHz single-core MIPS processor, 7-inch capacitive display (unknown resolution, probably 800 x 480), 8 hour battery, 3D graphics processing, HDMI, and 1080p video decoding.
Even more surprising is the OS, which is the cutting edge Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Not only does the tablet have this version, it is also approved by Google for use of the market and proprietary applications, unlike many budget devices. Andy Ruben, VP of Mobile at Google, also liked the tablet, saying "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."
Although it is so far only available in China, MIPS and Ainol Electronics plan to brig the device to many more countries, including the US. It may not have the latest and greatest hardware, but with the latest Android OS, Google approval, and most importantly a sub-$100 price point, it seems pretty hard to go wrong.[PCWorld]