If you thought Amazon had a monopoly on uber-cheap Android tablets with the $199 Kindle Fire, think again. MIPS has announced that a 7" tablet powered by its processor architecture is retailing in China for less than $100—that's $100 without a carrier subsidy—and will soon be making its way to the U.S.
The tablet is known in China as the Ainovo novo7. It runs Android 4.0, the latest release from Google, and features an Ingenic JZ4770 system-on-a-chip, 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity, USB 2.0, HDMI output, a microSD card slot, and front and rear cameras. One would think corners have been cut in the build quality to reach the $100 price point, but the tablet actually doesn't look half bad:
The Ingenic SoC inside features a 1GHz XBurst CPU core and a Vivante GPU core capable of rendering OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics and decoding 1080p video. All told, MIPS says the SoC draws only about 250 mW of power "with the CPU and video engine operating under full load." Just to put things in context, Nvidia's dual-core, ARM-based Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip has peak power draw of 500 mW. We'd wager Tegra 2 is faster, though.
According to MIPS, the tablet "will be available in the United States and other geographies within the next several months under brands from companies including Leader International Inc. and OMG Electronics Ltd." There's no word yet on U.S. pricing.