ASUS’ Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the second-gen Transformer, may have its launch pushed back into December, so as to arrive running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich according to the latest rumors. Google has agreed to help ASUS develop ICS for the Tegra 3 based Transformer Prime, DigiTimes‘ supply chain sources reckon, in an attempt to persuade the company not to shift its focus to Windows 8 tablets instead.
Google had previously been ignoring Taiwanese brands, the sources allege, giving little assistance in upgrading Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablets to the new 4.0 release of the platform. However, with Windows 8 tablets on the ASUS roadmap – among others – for the second half of 2012, it seems the search giant is looking to ways it can cement loyalty.
That loyalty is much needed, given Honeycomb tablet sales have been relatively underwhelming so far in comparison to, say, Apple’s iPad. Android lead Andy Rubin confirmed last month that there are approximately 6m Honeycomb tablets in the wild, higher than previous estimates but still not enough to satisfy the Google exec. “Six million is pretty healthy but it is not 30 million” Rubin conceded, suggesting that “obviously we need to get there.”
The ASUS Transformer Prime was initially expected to launch on November 9, according to a leaked roadmap from the company, and has already been spotted clearing the FCC complete with NVIDIA’s new Tegra 3 chipset. Now, the sources maintain, it will drop in early December, running Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box rather than Honeycomb. That delay – if true – is disappointing, but we imagine most people would prefer to have ICS even if it demands a little extra patience.