Upgrade To ICS

Discussion in 'Acer Iconia Tab A500 Forum' started by Hauschild, May 25, 2012.

  1. Hauschild

    Hauschild Member

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    Guys - just got a refurbed A500 yesterday. It currently does not update to ICS automatically, still on 3.2.whatever.

    First question is what I need to do to update to ICS. I am holding off registering this for a few days, because it is for my Mom, and want to put all that individualized data in once I get that info from her.

    Second question is whether the upgrade to ICS has more pros than cons. I have another tablet Archos 101 Turbo and ICS works pretty flawlessly on it, but I haven't read similar things about ICS on the A500. If the added headaches aren't worth it, then there is no need to upgrade.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mrhelper

    Mrhelper Senior Member

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    You may read some strong opinions for and against accepting the ICS (Android 4.0.3) update at this time, some may even be a bit emotional. There have been several threads discussing this controversial topic on several forums.

    If in your position, I would defer the a500 system ICS update at this point. Honeycomb is an excellent and very stable OS for the a500, and is more likely to provide a better experience for new a500 users at this point in time. The differences in functionality between Honeycomb and ICS are just not that significant. Your mother stands a much better chance of liking her a500 if she starts with Honeycomb.

    I would keep the device running on the comparably stable Honeycomb 3.2.1 build until Acer releases the next update. If I were breaking in a new tablet, I would actually do that for myself also, until I had time to thoroughly test the system to ensure there were no hardware problems. By the time the next ICS patch is released, many more apps will also have been updated to play more nicely with ICS. Note that you won't be able to install Google Chrome without ICS, but that is of little consequence. It has very little to offer over the stock browser, and does not hold a candle to Dolphin.

    I've been running ICS since April 27th, and I encountered several problems immediately after the udpate. Several people report they had few or no problems, and I suspect that has more to do with their choice of apps than anything else. Some folks may also be less prone than others to notice certain problems because of varying degrees of technical skill. There also appear to be some differences in hardware that make some devices more vulnerable to some of the issues. I have also recently learned that different builds of 4.0.3 have been released at different times in different geographical regions. You can read more on that in this post: http://www.androidtablets.net/forum...ice-cream-sandwich-bug-a500-7.html#post212639.

    Approximately 5% of the apps I had installed prior to ICS would no longer run at all (for anyone on a500 ICS... I checked), and several others became noticeably unstable (also confirmed by other users). A number of other a500 owners started seeing automatic screen rotation problems. I had not seen this yet, but when I saw posts about it, I checked my system and sure enough, I was also encountering intermittent motion sensor device problems (one of the auto rotate failure causes).

    A few users that I've exchanged messages with on various forums have all but given up in frustration. Some are very upset, frustrated, and in some cases, quite angry. Some have decide to "root" and install alternate (non-Acer) builds. Several have returned devices to Acer for warranty service, only to be told there were no problems. Some actually did have hardware problems though, and were given replacements, in which case the OS version was not a factor. Most could likely resolve their problems by screening and testing apps they've installed more carefully, but even that can be somewhat techinical for the typical/casual user. I have significant IT experience and skill, so I have been able to work around the problems I've seen, and even enjoyed the challenge somewhat. That's clearly not for everyone, and certainly not something I would even consider risking if giving one of these to my mother... or daughter, brother, sister, etc.

    I have found that I like several of the enhancements provided with ICS. I have to be honest though and tell you that If I had not seen those features, I would not really have missed them. I had my tablet set up nicely on Honeycomb (3.2.1) and was very happy with that solution.

    Again, I was personally willing to overlook some of the problems I encountered because I like to play with the technology. If it were me just getting my new a500 today though, I would not update quite yet. I would at least wait until after Acer issues another patch for ICS. Here are a few reasons why I would wait if getting a new tablet today:
    * Honeycomb is naturally more stable at this point, because it has had more time to settle and have bugs resolved.
    * Many more apps have been soaked by many more users on Honeycomb, so you are less likely to see problems with apps on Honeycomb at this point in time.
    * some popular apps that worked well with Honeycomb do not yet work at all on the a500 with ICS, and others are unstable. Factory data resets have been useful for many in clearing such instablilty, but in many cases that has only been temporary.
    * some of the problems being seen by users of ICS on the a500 mimic hardware issues. This could be very confusing on a new tablet. It's always better to test new hardware on a more stable OS, so you can decide whether or not a problem is caused by hardware or software, and determine if you just need a replacement unit.

    CHECKING YOUR CURRENT ANDROID VERSION:
    You should verify that you are running Android 3.2.1 to ensure a more stable system. If "Settings-->About tablet" does not show the Android version at 3.2.1, you should accept the system update for that or any earlier versions of 3.x. My tablet was manufactured in June of 2011. When I first used it, I recall applying only two updates to bring it up to 3.2.1. You may have a newer tablet, and may have to apply fewer system updates to reach 3.2.1. If your tablet was manufactured earlier, you may have to apply more. When you check for system updates, if the package name in the update notice starts with Acer_A500_041 (like Acer_A500_041.203.01_COM_GEN1), then that is ICS, so you can decline/defer that one for now. Note that the ICS update notice also contained some extra information noting that you would have to manually load Acer Sync, Adobe Flash, and maybe Kobo, so if you see that in a system update notice, stop there if you are not ready for ICS yet.

    CHECKING FOR THE Iconia TAB Update Enhancement app:
    Before starting each system update, make sure you go to Market/Google Play, and try to install the Iconia TAB Update Enhancement app if it is available. Depending on where you are in the update sequence, you may or may not yet see that as being available. It will show up in the Updates or Manual Updates section for your tablet at some point after you have installed the update for 3.2.1. See the TIP ON CHECKING FOR APP UPDATES below. You should also check at that time for updates to any of the apps that came preinstalled by Acer, and apply each.

    APPLYING SYSTEM UPDATES PRIOR TO INSTALLATION OF the Iconia TAB Update Enhancement app:
    If the Iconia TAB Update Enhancement app has not yet been installed, then doing the following immediately prior to applying a system update may improve system update reliability:
    * Under Settings --> Application --> Development, enable the Stay Awake option.
    * Under Settings --> Screen --> Timeout, set the option to 30 Minutes.
    * Keep the charger plugged in throughout the update, and follow on screen instructions.
    * Avoid disturbing the tablet during update.

    TIP ON CHECKING FOR APP UPDATES: there is an easy way to check for the updates that you need. After you start Google Play, look at the upper right corner of your screen. You will see what looks like a download button there (a down arrow pointing to a horizontal line). Select that. In the leftmost frame you will see a list of apps. The list is presented in three sections. The sections are titled in order from the top down: Updates, Manual updates, and Up to date. The "Updates" section contains updates for apps that you installed. It may also include updates for apps that came preinstalled on the a500. If you select "Allow automatic updating" in Google Play, updates in the "Updates" section will be applied automatically. The "Manual updates" section includes updates that are not available for automatic update. The "Up to date" list includes apps that are installed, and that are current on updates. A best practice is to apply all updates from the Updates and Manual updates lists by selecting each, and then pressing the Update button for the selected app (displayed in the upper right frame). Just one note on that. If you have some app that you consider essential, and you notice that the update was very recently submitted to Google Play by the developer, you can wait a little while for others to test it and check the most recent reviews for problems. You can also use file managers such as ES File Explorer to backup the current version of an app prior to update, and then restore the version that was working if a problem arises.

    DEFERRING SYSTEM UPDATES:
    The tablet is configured to check for system updates automatically (see Settings-->About tablet-->System update). You can turn this off to prevent update notifications, and then check manually when you are ready for ICS.

    APPLYING ICS:
    When you are ready to apply ICS, make a final check in Google Play to ensure that you have first installed the current Iconia TAB Update Enhancement app (also available directly from Acer support). The Iconia TAB Update Enhancement improves the performance and stability of the Acer system update download process, and per Acer, is required prior to updating Android 4.0.3 -- i.e. Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).

    You should also again verify that you have updated any builtin or user installed apps via Google Play to the latest versions. When you check for the system update after you are ready for ICS, and it is offered for download, follow the instructions carefully when the update starts and throughout the process so you do not interfere with it.

    PRETESTING A TABLET INTENDED FOR USE AS A GIFT:
    You can login to Google with the a500 using your own account to test it, and when done testing, simply remove that account from the tablet under Settings-->Accounts & sync-->Manage Accounts (just select an account and then tap the trash can at the top of the screen). You can alternately perform a Factory data reset (for Android 3.2.1, it is under Settings-->Privacy), which will clear all user data that you have stored on the device. It restores the a500 to a "new" state, as if you had never used it. There is one exception to that: it does not backout any system updates, so if you update the system to ICS it will remain on ICS. After account removal or Factory data reset, you can login to Google Play under a different account or the same account as needed.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  3. Douvie

    Douvie Senior Member

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    Some good advice from MrHelper. The KISS method is always best especially with people who are not familiar with the ANDROID OS. Though my experience has been trouble free, there are issues not just with ICS but with HC as well.I had a few niggly problems with HC which did not affect me in my day-to-day operations with my tablet.

    You must consider that the A500 forum is now focusing on the ICS OS because more and more people are getting it via the OTA update. There are some big changes between HC and ICS, though some may consider this as minor, so for the update to proceed relatively smoothly there are a series of updates that must be done first before ICS can be downloaded and installed.

    You need to check that you do have HC 3.2.1. This version had a total of 5 minor updates where the 5th one was the UPDATER getting a special update of it own. Also it gave you a single notification of being downloaded but no notfifcation of being installed. You have to go to APPs UPDATE and scroll the apps so that you get to the last one at the bottom of the list. This will be the updater which you need to manually install. this updater must be installed before the ICS update.

    Another point to consider when proceeding to update, make sure the SCREEN ROTATION LOCK button is slid all the way to the left, in otheeer words in the OFF position. Some say it makes no difference but I aplied this to all 3 units in this household and all three units work flawlessy on ICS.

    Remember, wine sipped slowly tastes better. The same applies to the tablet.
     
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  4. Mrhelper

    Mrhelper Senior Member

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    Douvie,

    Thank you for making some very good points. Your post reminded me of a few details regarding HC, and I have now updated my post above to be more accurate and hopefully a little easier to follow.

    On the screen lock button issue, you may be interested to know that mine was set firmly to the left during the ICS update also (screen rotation unlocked). I've been looking through the system code and update process a bit and have concluded that this does not likely have anything to do with problems that some are seeing, but ensuring it is set one way or the other should certainly not do any harm. I suspect that it falls more into the superstition category though.

    Again, thanks much for the reminders on HC system updates.
     
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  5. juhni

    juhni Member

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    This thread should be stickied
     
  6. Natey2

    Natey2 Senior Member

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