Which Android Tablets Are Getting Ice Cream Sandwich Upgrades?

Most tablets that aren’t made by Apple are powered by Android, Google‘s open-source operating system for smartphones and tablets. And for most of last year, that meant the Honeycomb version of Android, which was considered by many to be difficult to use and to have lots of bugs.

But at the end of 2011, Google released Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest version of Android, which adds new features and fixes many of Honeycomb’s problems. Many tablets introduced at or before CES 2012 come with Ice Cream Sandwich, but many of the tablets sold last year are able to run it as well.

So, which of last year’s tablets are (and aren’t) getting the upgrade?

The Asus Transformer Prime

The Transformer Prime is Asus’ sequel to its critically acclaimed Transformer … and yes, there is a lawsuit from Hasbro about its name, even though it has nothing to do with the Transformers toy line or the Optimus Prime character.

When the Transformer Prime was announced, Asus wasn’t specific about when it would receive the upgrade but did indicate that it would be soon. Now in NVIDIA’s CES 2012 keynote, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced the Transformer Prime would get its upgrade immediately. It is now available for download.

Aaron Gingrich of Android Police reports a few people are having trouble with the update, and that it is locking up and rebooting their tablet. Asus’ customer support representatives appear to be stumped by the issue.

The Sony Tablet S

Sony’s Android-powered tablet has limited PlayStation Network compatibility, and is able to play certain PlayStation games. It has a teardrop profile from the side and is shaped like a magazine that’s being folded open. The Tablet P, another Android device that was announced but hasn’t been released yet, has a Nintendo DS-style clamshell design.

Last month, Sony representative “StartTheCar” announced “an update to Android 4.0 will be available” for the Tablet S, with details to be given “in due course.”

7-inch tablets not getting an upgrade

The 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab is not receiving an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade, according to Andy Boxall of Digital Trends. Meanwhile, there’s been no announcement from Barnes Noble or Amazon.com about whether the Nook or the Kindle Fire will be upgraded. Even if they did get the upgrade, it would look very different from Ice Cream Sandwich on other devices, as both companies use their own custom (and simplified) interface.

Richard Gutierrez of Android Authority has summed up instructions posted on the XDA Developers forum for how to put Ice Cream Sandwich on your Nook Color. With a ROM name like “sneakpeek1-fullofbugs,” however, it’s clear that the developers have some work to do before Ice Cream Sandwich receives a stable, if unofficial, port.

Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.

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