Asus Transformer Prime will be getting Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on Jan 12th.
In an official announcement today, Asus said it will be releasing an OTA (over the air) update on Jan. 12, 2012. The newest update will bring the device up to Android 4.0 which is the newest iteration of Google’s mobile Operating System. This is significant for many reasons, and changes our current “wait to buy” stance into highly suggested among Android Tablets.
In the Android ecosystem one of the things you cannot count on is timely updates, if any of the tablet and the OS. When Asus released the Transformer Prime a few weeks ago running HoneyComb it gave me pause. This is the very first tablet with the Tegra 3 processor. It has great build quality, and the hardware dock with a huge battery, and a nice IPS screen and a very powerful processor. Hobbling it with Android 3.0 was a kick in the pants, of an otherwise desirable device. Today’s announcement removes the questions of when it will be upgraded, and Asus did the right thing. If only other companies would be as concerned with giving their consumers such quality treatment. Even the Motorola Xoom which is the Google Experience for Tablets, hasn’t gotten a release date for its upgrade.
ICS on a tabletmakes it much faster, and significantly more responsive than what Android 3 was able to achieve. It unifies the OS on phones and tablets, which reduces the developer efforts to support the Apps across the model spectrum. As of today the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is being dethroned in the Androids best title. The Asus Transformer Prime should have a long reign, at least until the release of the flagship Tablet coming mid year alluded to by Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
update 1/4/2011: Asus will also be releasing an unlock tool to their bootloader which had recently been discovered to be encrypted. Using the tool will effectively disable movie rentals from YouTube/Google Videos, as it is no longer protected with DRM. We haven’t confirmed if unlocking the boot loader affects Amazon Prime or Netflix functionality as of yet.