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First Ice Cream Sandwich tablet costs just £60, in China

The Ainovo Novo 7 is the first Android Ice Cream Sandwich tablet, yours for around £60 -- if you happen to be in China.

The first tablet packed with Ice Cream Sandwich has appeared, and it's no Galaxy Xoom Transformer. It's the Ainovo Novo 7, yours for around £60 -- if you happen to be in China.

The Novo 7 claims to be the first slate powered by Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Google's software for mobile phones and tablets, Android Community reports. ICS made its debut on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smart phone last month.

With Ice Cream Sandwich on board and rocking that seriously bargainous price tag, could the Novo 7 be a genuine contender for the all-conquering iPad -- or is it closer in spirit to the feted Amazon Kindle Fire?

The Kindle Fire is Amazon's affordable tablet, custom-designed as a portal for movies, music, TV shows and ebooks. Amazon has resisted throwing in every feature under the Sun, so it's no powerhouse, but that's kept the price down. Sadly, the Kindle Fire is only available in America for the foreseeable future, potentially letting the Novo 7 or any reasonably priced Android tablet steal its thunder outside the US.

But what about the magnificent 7? It sports a 7-inch capacitive multi-touch screen that displays 1080p video, with a 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM inside. There's 4GB of storage built-in and a microSD slot for extra memory. It's got 2-megapixel cameras front and back, a USB socket and an HDMI port.

The tablet's makers, MIPS, claim the battery lasts 25 hours when listening to music, 6 hours when playing games and 7 hours when surfing the web.

Ice Cream Sandwich is designed to work on both smart phones and tablets, uniting the tablet-specific version of Android known as Honeycomb with the phone version, known as Gingerbread.

The Ainovo Novo 7 is currently only available from China, but we doubt it'll be the last affordable Android tablet we see. Fingers crossed for a decent Ice Cream Sandwich tablet coming to these shores soon.