Confirmed: ASUS Bringing Bootloader Unlock Tool to All Regions; Android 4.0 Update January 12th; Explains GPS Issues (Not Looking Good)


Just like that, ASUS USA has followed their Taiwanese counterpart in offering a statement regarding some recent “in-the-news” items in regards to its Transformer Prime Android tablet. Firstly, all units will be getting the previously-confirmed bootloader unlock tool.

They say they had to lock the bootloader to comply with the demands of content providers. Upon unlocking your bootloader with the future tool, your warranty will be void and you will be unable to purchase certain content (such as music or movies) from services such as the Android market.

Secondly, they reiterated that a worldwide rollout for Android 4.0 would begin “starting” (meaning there’s no guarantee every region will get it at once) January 12th via OTW. Sweet deal, indeed.

They also took this time to address the tech world on supposed GPS issues that have had users up-in-arms. Unfortunately this isn’t quite like the Samsung Galaxy S GPS issue of 2010 that was fixed with a software update.

ASUS simply says that as the GPS radios they use are not the same as professional units (say, military grade or those available in standard navigation devices) and that the metallic build of the device may affect GPS performance.

Yep, that’s it. No fix, no nothing. In fact, they don’t even want to acknowledge GPS in their fact sheets anymore. Bummer, but if it really can’t be helped then it really can’t be helped. The choice is yours whether or not to purchase it. [via ASUS Facebook]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. That sucks.  But it’s not a deal breaker for me.  My SGS2 as GPS and it works well.

  2. Yeah except in already have one…bummer.

  3. So January 12 Android 4.0 starts to roll out on this. What about in store release date? I want to be able to play with it before I buy it.

    1. Find a friend who has one. That’s probably the easiest way to get your hands on one before making a purchase.

      1. No one I know has a tablet that isn’t an Apple product (excluding nooks or kindles). I have a few friends with Android phones but most think Apple is the most superior products in the known universe.

  4. not a deal breaker…but it still sucks

  5. Personally, I’m fine with everything they said. The GPS issue doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, just that the all aluminum body may degrade GPS signal strength. When I’m driving my evo will be doing the GPS – my prime will be in the back seat playing movies.

    1. Can always do what I do with my iPad 2 and use an external bluetooth gps paired to your tablet.

  6. I have a Garmin GPS unit (which I don’t use anymore), a Samsung Galaxy Nexus (which has become by daily GPS device), and an Asus Transformer (which has GPS, but has never been used as a GPS device). If you have an Android device with GPS/Google Maps/Google Navigation, why would you use your tablet? Does anyone plan on using their tablet to hike the Swiss Alps? Ridiculous.

    I will say, however, that it’s nice that they’re providing the option to unlock the bootloader. Hooray to that part!

    1. You’re making no sense. Your example of using GPS is the rarest application of the said technology. On the other hand, having a large touch-responsive screen for in-car navigation is super convenient.

      What people may not be aware of (so far it was almost solely amongst rooted e-reader community) is that there’s a perfect app TetherGPS in the market that allows you … to tether GPS data from your GPS equipped phone to your Wfi tablet. Works beautifully on my Nook Color and both SE X10 and Moto RAZR. If I may, here’s the market link to the author’s page :

  7. For those of you really needing gps on the tablet, search for TetherGPS, there’s also a free lite version.
    You can share your phone’s GPS to your tablet.

    Bootloarder unlocked, I’m gonna buy it.

    1. Heard this works well with tablets having no gps, like the Nook Color.

  8. Really I think they shouldnt put GPS in a tablet seems to just create problems and cause the price to go up. I would rather trade GPS for performance since newer cars and almost every smart phone has one. It’s nice to see the bootloader unlock tool although a shame it cripples the android market for music and videos.

  9. To bad they cant add some sort of external GPS antenna port or via USB.  Then folks that had a need for great GPS could use the antenna, and those of us who don’t care simply wouldn’t worry about it.

    Is there some sort of quality USB GPS unit that folks could use with Android if desired?  I am thinking there are some career fields where using a tablet to record data in the field along with good GPS data makes a lot of sense.

    1. There’s bluetooth GPS units, but I’ve not personally used them, so no specific suggestion; you’ll want to do some research before buying one :)

    2. I have a very good Belkin BT GPS.  But, (1) it’s one more thing to haul around and charge, and (2) it’s not worth anything without software on the tablet.  Why Asus didn’t think of mitigating radio interference on this design is beyond me.  Stupid mistake.

  10. Man, all that whining about locked bootloaders and how Asus was going to lose so much business. Turns our it wasn’t even Asus’s fault. Now you have your unlocked bootloaders and no warranty. Congrats

    1. “Turns our it wasn’t even Asus’s fault.”

      You honestly believe that? Please…

      1. Are you saying their reason regarding DRM isnt true?

        1. yes. the inaccessible content that they list is from freaking Google.  you cant use Google’s Video app on a rooted device.  That is *not* the same as saying that you *must* encrypt and lock the bootloader in order for it to work.  Ship the thing locked, and allow users to unlock.  The fact that they are going to put out a tool pretty much disproves the theory that they can’t allow it to be unlocked.

  11. For a tablet, it can be forgiven. The Padfone better have quality components.

  12. I’ll just paste what I wrote in a reply in the other post:

    (in regards to the bootloader)
    I’m perfectly fine with that. The fact that I will have that choice is all we wanted ASUS. I’m a big boy and can make adult decisions on my own and is why I chose Android.
    Thank you ASUS. 

    As far as the GPS is concerned, I’m not concerned about that. I have a perfectly good phone that has great GPS and locks almost instantly. I don’t see myself using my Prime for a navigation tool.

  13. Yeah I cant get my GPS to lock at all….I’m kinda pissed about it.

  14. Without a working GPS, how do apps like Weather Channel or Rainy Day know your location?  What about Latitude?  I suppose none of that would work?

    I don’t use my Xoom as a GPS for navigation purposes but I do have apps that use the GPS. If it limits functionality in other apps, that would be a deal-breaker for me.

    I wanted to upgrade because I like the keyboard dock.

    1. If you enable use wireless connection in the GPS settings you can get an approximate location, my prime gets between a 20 and 50 foot approximate lock, it works well enough for almost all apps, other than navigation apps, but I use my thunderbolt for that, so it’s not an issue for me, I understand it may be for some, but honestly when I bought it I didn’t even know it had gps

    2. It’s not that the GPS can’t get a lock, it’s that the lock isn’t accurate enough for navigation and the like.  It’ll still get a close enough lock for weather if WiFi isn’t close enough.

  15. So software supplied by ASUS that unlocks software supplied by ASUS on hardware supplied by ASUS will void the warranty? I’d like to see that upheld in court.

    1. What you’re talking about isn’t why the warranty will be voided. It’s what the end user does after it’s unlocked is why the warranty is voided. If Asus handled all of the rooting and ROM software, and it was done by someone certified by Asus to do it, and they still said it would void the waranty, then I’d agree with you.

      The problem is all someone has to do is get one thing in the chain wrong, like using a poorly coded kernel or ROM, or themselves screw up one step in the process. If third party software or a personal mistake ends up bricking the device is it Asus’s responsibility to repair or replace it and eat the cost? Every company has a little message in their terms and conditions that sets out what actions void the warranty, so it’s not like it’s limited to Asus, Motorola, or anyone in the mobile world. There are actions that void the warranties on home electronics, automobiles, software, etc. Being able to root is an advantage of Android, but people need to take personal responsibility for their actions and not expect a company to pay for their screwups.

  16. I’m only upset about the gps on the tablet because I’m still paying for the components of a gps system when I buy the tablet. If you’re not going to give me a feature, knock a few bucks off the cost!
    I don’t have a good reason for upgrading my original Transformer, but the part of this article that makes me angry is the mention of the Galaxy S gps issue which plagues my Vibrant to this day…I never saw a software fix. Ugh…

    1. lamest argument ever. if there was no GPS it would cost the same. they are priced as what the competition and market will bear.. not what it costs them to make it.

  17. @Allen
    I wish there were a way that you and others that post this crap could be banned from the internet all together.
    Please go away.

  18. Its made in taiwan…what did you expect…

    1. Asus makes some of the best and most reliable equipment I’ve used… and at a great price!

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