ASUS announced on its Facebook today that the Transformer Prime would receive a firmware over-the-air Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update starting Jan. 12. Somehow this is even before the Motorola XOOM, Google’s reference tablet? Perhaps this will ignite a war among Tablet makers to get their devices up to Ice Cream Sandwich first. Bring it on!

“Eee Pad Transformer Prime received excellent reviews and great demand when it launched in December 2011,” said the company in a Jan. 3 Facebook post. “ASUS strives to create the best products and provide the best service for our customers, and will be releasing an FOTA update for the Transformer Prime shortly.”

The version update will also improve the camera’s focus, the touch screen’s fluidity and experience, and the APK capabilities in Android Market. 
ASUS also used Facebook to address concerns related to GPS and bootloader on the Transformer Prime.

The consumer electronics and product manufacturer said the Transformer Prime is made from a metallic unibody design, so “the material may affect the performance of the GPS when receiving signals from satellites.” ASUS elaborated and claimed the device is “not a professional GPS device, and signal performance can be easily influenced by factors.” The factors listed by the company include weather, buildings, and surrounding environments.

“To avoid inconveniencing users who demand a powerful GPS device, we made the decision to remove it from our specification sheet and marketing communications,” ASUS explained. “We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”
ASUS chose to lock the bootloader due to “content providers’ requirement for DRM client devices to be as secure as possible.”

The Taiwan-based technology company supports Google DRM to provide users with a premium video rental experience; therefore, ASUS said it is attempting to develop an unlock tool for the rental community.

“Please do note that if you choose to unlock your device, the ASUS warranty will be void, and Google video rental will also be unavailable because the device will be no longer protected by security mechanism,” ASUS concluded.

In related news, the CyanogenMod team released an experimental development build for the Samsung Galaxy Note yesterday. The build features the first port of the new Ice Cream Sandwich-based CyanogenMod 9 to support the smartphone. The port reportedly has Wi-Fi, cellular data, audio, touchscreen, GPS and sensors working properly; however, Bluetooth, MTP mode, battery usage, and the device’s camera are not fully functional. The team said the camera would not work properly until Samsung’s official Android 4.0 build for the Note can be accessed.

Samsung’s official Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for the Galaxy Note is slated be released in the first quarter of 2012, according to Samsung Tomorrow.

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