Acer has officially confirmed its upgrade timeline for its Iconia series of Android tablets. While the manufacturer has been praised for being one of the few to continually support its growing line of devices, the company has confirmed that it will exclude the first generation of its Iconia tablet from Jelly Bean upgrades, meaning that the Iconia Tab A100, Iconia Tab A200, and Iconia Tab A500 will not be updated officially to Jelly Bean, while its most recent second generation refresh in the Iconia Tab A110, Iconia Tab A210, and Iconia Tab A510 along with the Iconia Tab A700 will all be upgraded to Android 4.1 by the tail end of the 4th quarter.
While the first generation Iconia Tab diligently received Ice Cream Sandwich during the year, the lack of a Jelly Bean update is confusing, as the hardware for the first generation clearly indicates that it could easily support the tablet focused update, though the lack of RAM on the A100 and A200 may indicate that those tablets may have been left off due to that, although the high-end A500 has the minimum RAM required for Jelly Bean.
The exclusion may also be explained by the fact that the first-generation Iconia series was released initially with Honeycomb, which had lower overall hardware requirements than ICS and Jelly Bean, which need the additional RAM and processing power to run smoothly at the expense of performance on the A100 and A200.
However, for Acer to drop the first-generation Iconia Tab series so soon after being updated to ICS only to focus on its second generation without so much as an explanation is liable to make current owners angry, as there was an expectation of Jelly Bean updates despite the fact that Acer released the successor line almost 10 months after the first series and just finished ICS updates in the past 3 months.
Naturally, because of the popularity of the Iconia Tab series on clearance sites, a hacker community has sprung up around the series and has pledged to port the usual complement of custom ROMs to the first generation series. However, what does remain to be seen is whether the current development work being done on the A110 can be backported to the first-generation tablet as many modders are reporting success running ROMs on the A110 as-is on the A100 with slight performance penalties. Should that be the case, all hope is not completely lost for enthusiasts, but it does leave casual tablet owners out in the cold regarding official updates and should be a point of some shame for Acer.
With more companies compressing development and release schedules for tablet hardware, the fact that Acer discontinued the first-generation Iconia Tab series so quickly only to release its second-generation series so soon after during the Summer should have been seen as a sign that long-term support would have been placed in doubt. While Acer at least updated the first series to ICS, the lack of official updates to Jelly Bean does sting and should serve as another painful reminder to both customers and manufacturers that support works both ways and that one side cannot support the other without some measure of trust.