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Acer Iconia Tab A501 4G review: Clinging to the (recent) past

The Acer Iconia Tab A501 4G (AT&T) has 4G connectivity, but unfortunately clings to Android's recent past.

Don't be confused. The Iconia Tab A501 is not the A500, it just looks exactly like it. Josh Miller/CNET

The Acer Iconia Tab A501 is the Acer Iconia Tab A500 with 4G and a no-commitment price of $480 (16GB) and $550 (32GB); about $100 or so more than the A500.

For the price of a two-year contract, AT&T offers the tablet for $350, the lowest initial cost of any 4G Honeycomb tablet yet. If two-year contracts for tablets scare you (and they should), AT&T also offers session plans at $15 for 250MB and $25 for 2GB, if you absolutely need that "anywhere" access.

But, with its hefty build and Acer's strange decision to ship it with Android 3.0.1, instead of a later version of the OS, is the A501 already too far behind to even enter the race?

With most new Android tablets shipping with Android 3.2, it's surprising that the A501 annoyingly clings to the past. Even if it's the recent past. I can only speculate that the deal Acer struck with AT&T has something to do with its adherence to 3.0, but I don't know for sure. Anyway, the full review of the Iconia Tab A501 awaits.