NVIDIA has announced that they're dropping driver support for their Harmony line of tablets. This affects the Viewsonic gTablet (reviewed here) and ViewPad7, Advent Vega, Toshiba Folio 100, and Notion Ink Adam, as well as the many users that jumped on the mostly cheap-ish tablets, not wanting to wait for Honeycomb. The announcement seals the fate of the above mentioned tablets, as without drivers, no future version of Android will get hardware acceleration. Not that the heavily customized UI they employ that mostly damages the eyes of customers would have ever gotten Rubin's blessing, but this leaves the dev community out of luck, too, pretty much. More info past the break.
Some of the tablets are merely months old and smiten with some pretty ugly UIs, Adam tablet aside (though it looks nicer than it's actually useable), but none are more than a year old. That's a very short shelf life, even for high-tech devices, especially considering a lot of users were hanging on for future updates to finally be able to start enjoying their tablets instead of living with compromises. Sure, there's a bunch of development around these tablets, mostly the Viewsonic and Advent, since they're based on the same exact hardware and fugly UI, but without hardware support, there's not much more coming but bug-fixes. Andrew Edelstein, an NVIDIA employee, posted the following on the developer forum
targeted at Tegra Honeycomb developers and for this we’d like to focus on Ventana. For shipping or production products, customers should contact the device makers directly for OS support plans. They are responsible for the OS shipping on their device. [...] In relation to our linux kernel git repository, NVIDIA will continue to provide full open-source support for all of our kernel components and will push more of that upstream over time.
The Ventana platform refers to the XOOM, Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Eee tablets and all other newer tablets for which support will, quite obviously, continue. Older models of phones often get neglected with updates, but nothing of this magnitude so far. NVIDIA's move is pretty clearly a reaction to Google's new policy on who gets updates (covered here and here); after all, why should they continue spending money on the development of tablets that are never going to see an update again. Of course, Advent and Viewsonic could renounce their Tap-n-Tap UI for something more AOSP-like and beg Google for mercy, but at this point, it seems to late.