Yesterday Asus assured its UK customers that the Android 4.0 upgrade for the original Eee Pad Transformer Prime was still on schedule for a February release, and today it looks like the update rollout is beginning. Asus Taiwan posted on their official Facebook page that Transformer TF101 owners in Asus' home country of Taiwan would start seeing automatic updates begin today, with other territories to follow soon after. Localization for other markets may take some time, but by the look of things it should indeed be before the end of the month.
We spend a lot of time lampooning manufacturers for late updates (hello, Moto) so it's only fair to point out when someone gets it right. The original Transformer was launched in March of last year in Taiwan (late April in the United States), and has been getting relatively steady Honeycomb updates ever since. The Ice Cream Sandwich update comes just a little over three months after the source code was made available to the public, giving Asus the fastest update turnaround for an Android tablet - or at least it would be, if the Transformer Prime hadn't already gotten its ICS update last month.
Asus PR had this to say in its Facebook post:
Although we will announce several new innovations at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, we take great pride in delivering on-going enhancements and support for products that are well into their life cycle. Thank you once again for your valued support!
The quick turnaround is due at least in part to the Transformer's light customization of Android; no major aftermarket UIs means less for Asus' software engineers to adapt to a newer operating system. This is at least part of what makes updates from the likes of Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG so achingly slow - and why independent ROM developers usually beat them to the punch by months. We'll keep you posten on when Western markets begin to see Ice Cream Sandwich updates for the OG Transformer.