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Today, two little-known companies are releasing the very first publicly available Android tablet to run Ice Cream Sandwich, the highly anticipated mobile operating system from Google.
While larger companies like Asus and Lenovo are still working to get their own “Ice Cream tablet” offerings to market, you can buy this tablet, the Novo7, online right now, and for a shockingly low $99, at that.
The tablet, which comes from processor maker MIPS Technologies and CPU shop Ingenic Semiconductor, features a 7″ touchscreen and is powered by a 1GHz processor. It has front- and rear-facing cameras, supports WiFi connectivity, and features ports for USB 2.0, HDMI 1.3 and microSD. For gamers and mediahounds, you’re looking at 3D graphics with the Vivante GC860 GPU and 1080p video decoding.
MIPS swears up and down that it’s eliminated the correlation of low price to poor performance, stating that the battery life and graphics performance are up to snuff.
We know it sounds too good to be true, so we’re asking for a demo unit to test drive the graphics, web browsing, battery life and more. But in the meantime, here’s a demo video showing the tablet off:
The tablet also gets a vote of confidence from Andy Rubin, Google’s senior vice president of mobile.
“I’m thrilled to see the entrance of MIPS-Based Android 4.0 tablets into the market,” Rubin said in a statement. “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.”
Last month, we heard that Lenovo was working to roll out an Ice Cream Sammie tablet. But before the company could make an official announcement about such a product, Asus unveiled the Transformer Prime, its own Ice Cream Sandwich-flavored tablet.
Sadly, the Asus tablet a) was going to ship with Android 3.2, not the much-hyped 4.0, although an upgrade would be available; and b) was only available for pre-order. These are the hazards of jumping the gun to beat your competitors to a product launch.
Ice Cream Sandwich itself just launched in October, so MIPS & Co. have hustled quite a bit in getting their own tablet to market. Stay tuned for a hands-on demo, which we’re hoping to have posted in time for you to make your holiday shopping decisions.