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Ainovo $79 Novo7 Paladin Ice Cream Sandwich tablet hands-on

Nope, that's not a typo -- we just got our hands on a $79 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. The folks from MIPS popped by the Engadget stage to talk about the budget device. The Ainovo Novo7 Paladin is available now in China, so if you actually want to get your hands on the thing here in the US, it will likely cost you a bit more when you actually factor in, you know, air fare and such, but the company assures us that something along the same lines ought to be coming to the States in the near future, with a similar price point.

As expected, this isn't the sexiest tablet we've seen on the show floor -- you're not getting a Galaxy Tab here -- but the build quality is quite solid. The seven-inch screen is 800 x 480 -- again, not high-end specs we're dealing with, but it does the trick for casual gaming and YouTube videos, and the MIPS folks mention to us plans to bump up the res for a US release. Along the top of the device, you'll find three buttons: power, back and menu -- the placement on the latter two are a bit counterintuitive when first picking up the tablet, but you'll get used to it pretty quickly. Along the right side, you'll find a headphone jack, miniUSB port (yes, mini), volume buttons and a microSD slot for expanding the already decent 8GB of storage.

Inside you'll find that MIPS-based 1GHz single core processor and 512MB of RAM -- again, not the greatest, but it should get the job done for most the paces you'd expect to put a $79 tablet through. There's no cameras or GPS on the thing, though we didn't really miss either one. If you're looking for something that can do video and stills, however, $20 more will get you the $99 Novo7 basic.

Myriam Joire contributed to this report.