It seems the Asus Transformer Prime was delayed by at least a month compared to the initial reports that it will be launched on December 9th, then pushed to 19th, and now, at least in UK it was announced that it’s going to be launched on January 12th.
This is quite a delay, and we don’t really know what’s been causing this. When I first heard the Asus CEO that Android 4.0 could launch even by the end of 2011 on Asus Transformer Prime, I immediately thought it would’ve been a better idea to wait until it actually gets Android 4.0 instead of launching it with Android 3.2, get all the reviews like that, and then update it to Android 4.0.
People have been excited for Asus Transformer Prime, the device itself, as a slimmer and sexier version of the original Transformer, they have been excited for Tegra 3, the first quad core ARM chip, and they have been excited for Android 4.0. All 3 together would’ve assured the launch of Transformer Prime would happen with a bang.
The software part is just as important as the hardware, and reviewers would’ve been doubled as impressed if it had Android 4.0 from the start. But it didn’t. The review versions they sent to reviewers had only Android 3.2. Because of this, the reviews were decent because it’s still a quality device, but it was obvious they weren’t as excited for the software. This could’ve been different with Android 4.0 on board, and it could’ve positively influenced their ratings.
But what’s worse is that even though they sent those review versions early on, the device is still not here yet, and it’s been delayed until January. Plus, we don’t even know if it will come with Android 4.0 on board then. If I had to bet, I’d say it won’t. I believe Asus stated earlier that Android 4.0 would now come by the end of January for one of their devices.
The only way they could screw this up even further is if they launched it in January, and then days later it will be sold out for weeks, not unlike it happened with the original Transformer which made a lot of people angry with Asus for not managing the sales expectations better.
A January launch is also pretty bad for Asus because there will be a lot of other tablets showcased at CES, which although they might not launch for a few more months, they will probably be more powerful, and will convince some people to wait for those tablets instead. Unless they really cared about the keyboard dock (which by the way I think they should) they will probably wait a few more months, especially now that they’ve already spent their money for other Christmas gifts (Galaxy Nexus, etc).