In a novel twist, and what should be taken as a lesson by other Android tablet manufacturers, Lenovo has decided to leave owners of the discontinued IdeaPad K1 Android tablet with a parting gift in the form of a plain Android Ice Cream Sandwich build as a gesture of goodwill. The IdeaPad K1 was one of Lenovo’s first tablets when it was launched in 2011 with an Nvidia Tegra chipset and HDMI output and is now superseded by the S2109 and S2110, both of which ship with Ice Cream Sandwich as default.
As Lenovo has discontinued the tablet from general sale, it has also decided to discontinue official support for the device past the last officially supported update in Android Honeycomb 3.2, which means that while the offering of an official Ice Cream Sandwich build for the tablet is notable for the manufacturer, there are two key caveats to keep in mind:
First, the build of ICS for the IdeaPad K1 as built by Lenovo does not feature the Google Apps suite, which requires seeking out the widely available zip file for the complete Google Apps experience. Second, the build will not be supported by Lenovo in any official capacity, leaving that task up to the development community to which this offering is targeted.
With Lenovo moving on to its latest generation of tablets, it seems the company did not want to completely abandon those that bought its first generation tablet completely and instead came up with a compromise, but whether the compromise is suitable depends on your personal feelings regarding the lack of long-term device support as a result of flashing the build.
To make the offering even easier to digest for those that may not be as technically inclined but still want the Ice Cream Sandwich update, Lenovo has even created a step by step guide to installing the build, but is again targeting the release to developers and enthusiasts because of its uncustomized nature, owing to the lack of the aforementioned pre-installed Google Apps and Lenovo customization most users expect.