MIPS made the world's first known Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet, which it will sell in the U.S. for $100 this year. It's targeted at cost-conscious media users.
Technologies had reason to be proud when earlier this month after it launched
the world's first tablet computer to run Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 4.0 Ice
Cream Sandwich. Indeed, even at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics
Show this past week, it was hard to find ICS running on many tablets.
I saw the
latest OS on the Intel Atom-based Lenovo IdeaTab K210 beta machine, which
doesn't have a launch date. Velocity
Micro was supposed to have
its 7-inch Cruz Tablet T507 and 9.7-inch Cruz
Tablet T510 at CES, but they weren't
ready for display
Ainovo Novo7 Basic tablet, which
you can see in pictures here, is available in China
, but won't be on the
shelves in the United States for a few months. That's good, because even at the
bargain cost of $100-repeat, $100-the Novo7 could use some work. But I'm not
sure the fix is possible without investing more cash in the machine.
If the Novo7
were a premium tablet, it would be easy to dismiss MIPS as a company that
rushed a product to market without careful planning. But as the name of the
7-inch gadget implies, the "Basic" slate is, well, basic. The price
The Novo7 is
shorter than 7-inch tablets like the bargain-level Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle
Fire or the premium Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. The Novo7 weighs only 0.78 of
a pound, and is only 7.4 inches long, 4.4 inches wide and less than a half-inch
thick. As portability goes, it's top flight.
It's got a
middling 800-by-480 resolution LCD display (16:9 aspect ratio) at a time when
other Android tablets like it offer as much as 1,280-by-800 resolution. Just a
look at the screen, which was often grainy, showed the difference between basic
The device is
encased in a cheap, white plastic that feels brittle, to say the least. When
you hold it in your hand, and put any pressure on the screen, you can feel it
creaking against the plastic, as if it's a screen door that whines when you
off-putting, but remember, this is a bargain tablet. In landscape mode, the
power button is an easy-to-access round button on the top right, next to the
MIPS was smart
not to recess the keys, which I hate in devices. Interestingly, MIPS included
volume keys on the tablet's screen as well, running along the right of the
screen, above the settings, home and back buttons. The device also has 8GB of
internal storage, a headphone port, a MicroSD expansion slot for up to 16GB, a High-Definition
Multimedia Interface (HDMI) video port and a USB 2.0 port.
MIPS did not
provide access to Google's Android Market, or Google Mobile services, so you
can't connect the tablet to a Google account. I pretty much had to log into
every Web application that has an identity tethered to it.
unit I received did come preloaded with YouTube, Pandora, Facebook, Amazon
Kindle and several games, such as Rovo Mobile's Angry Birds, Spider Man HD from
Gameloft and TurboFly from Osaris.