ASUS Preps GPS Hardware Add-On For Transformer Prime Owners – Arriving Mid-April?


Show me a Transformer Prime, and I’ll show you an owner who has no doubt been unhappy with its GPS performance. In fact, owners of the ASUS Transformer Prime were pretty vocal about this defect which, when investigated, turned out was caused by nothing more than poor design. ASUS acknowledged, then tried to fix the issue by providing a software update for the tablet that was met with mixed response. Even then, there were still many owners demanding a fix — whether that meant sending the tablet back to the factory for hardware modification or a straight refund.

Well, ASUS isn’t ready to quit Transformer Prime owners seeking better GPS performance from their tabs just yet. As it turns out, ASUS could be issuing an actual hardware fix by way of a GPS dongle that will patch things up, free of charge. A user on XDA posted an email exchange between him and an ASUS product manager detailing the dongle, describing it as “minimal” in design, and will sit flush against the tablet, connecting to the tablet’s proprietary input. The ASUS product manager also mentioned the dongle should be available sometime in mid-April but wasn’t sure how it would be distributed.

What’s more, the email also mentions that there will be new and improved Transformer Prime models featuring enhanced WiFi performance and will be identified by their serial numbers that begin with “C3.” I’m sure this wont come as welcomed news to current Prime owners but maybe this will drive potential customers to finally make a purchase. What do you guys think? Is the dongle enough to make up for ASUS’s hardware “defect?” Is everything even Steven’s, or do you think there’s more that should be done?

[LandOfDroid | XDA]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Honestly who really uses their tablet as a GPS anyways? What are you going to do mount a $500 tablet to your car window with a suction cup?

    1. Well, just for one use, while riding on a bus or a train, a tablet is a much better way of seeing what is over the horizon than is a phone. I’ve used my 10-inch tablet for precisely that. It would be useful in a taxi as well.

      Why are you even asking for excuses, though? GPS was part of the sales contract. Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet owners are going through a similar thing. I just sent my tablet back to get the GPS and a broken power button fixed. I do use the GPS on my tablet.

      As to data signal, google maps will cache maps, and WiFi tethering to a phone will get you the satellite/aerial imagery.

      1. It’s not a big deal. You will get a gps lock with wifi assist and in the cases where you are on the move, it’s more convenient to use your phone. 10 inch tablets are not carry everywhere devices. For that use a large screen phone, 7 inch tablet or the Galaxy Note. I’ve had my Prime for 3 months, use it daily, and have never needed the gps. gps is just icing on the cake. It’s not one of the main reasons you get the $499 Prime. The new ipad at $499 with less memory does not have gps either. That’s their main competition. It’s a non issue.

        1. It doesn’t matter whether you use it or not. If it’s there, it must work, I completely agree with shonangreg. Otherwise don’t sell it as a GPS enabled device, doesn’t matter if the price is the same or $2 less.
          And I totally respect Asus for acknowledging and taking care of the problem.

  2. I have used a mount for when I had a xoom… actually it works quite well..

  3. What’s the point? Why do I need GPS accuracy on my Prime that badly. Since it’s a wifi only tablet, it’s not like I’m gonna find continuously open access points to feed me mapping data. Course location addresses most things you need location services for. This is easily accomplished via the wifi or manually putting in a zip code. This whole thing is way overblown. ASUS should be spending their money on finding ways to make awesome tablets cheaper.

    1. Maybe you don’t, but last I checked you didn’t equal everyone.

      There are other map/nav apps out there aside from Google Maps that do not need a data connection since map data can be stored.
      Never owned a GPS device before have you? They have no data connection either.

      1. You, sir, are the exception. NuLLnVoiD is correct.

        1. If he was so exceptional, Asus probably wouldn’t concern themselves with a fix to make him happy.  You keep talking about perspective.  Let people have their own.  Wanting a device to do something it was designed to do doesn’t make a person unreasonable.  It’s great that your device is meeting all of your needs.  But don’t shoot people down for wanting a functioning GPS on a device that is supposed to have a functioning GPS

          1. ASUS should have gone the Apple route and not even put in GPS. That would have shut the whiners up and gotten them more sales. Pandering to Android spec-mongers is a losing battle. GPS in a 10 inch tablet is entirely impractical for all but the biggest nerds out there.

            Here’s a perspective for you:

            Ask 100 tablet owners how many of them use the GPS on their tablets.

            You’d be lucky to get one.

            Oh, and by the way, my Prime’s GPS worked great after the OTA update. Thanks ASUS for being so responsive and so quick! And thanks for helping the few others who are still having issues by providing a hardware solution! THANKS ASUS!

            I still never use my GPS though…

          2. I’m with you on almost every point.  Any time I’ve used our Prime, the GPS has worked perfectly.  I am one of the nerds who mounts a tablet in his car uses it as a GPS, but acknowledge that I am in the minority.  However, if there were truly so few people who wanted to use it and so few people that were having trouble do you think Asus would be going through all this trouble?  It’s their call, and they are fixing it.  There is no need to call the people asking for it “whiners” just because you don’t need the feature that, for them, is broken

        2. so he’s right for assuming he knows what all tablet owners want/need because of his own wants/needs?

          Thats not quit how the world works. Everyone has their own wants and needs. Thats what makes us different.

          Its a sad sad day when I’m considered part of the minority for wanting my device to work as it was intende to…

      2. I never claimed to be everyone. It’s my opinion. I’m not sure where you went off the ranch and assumed otherwise. However, most tablet users have little to no use for the GPS.

        Great, you are using one of the offline NAV apps. You would be the exception, not the rule. So go ahead and put in your request for one of the dongles. Just don’t inflate yourself by trying to put a verbal smackdown on someone you don’t know. It only makes you appear to be unnecessarily aggressive and therefore rude.

        1. I didnt go off the ranch. If it appears I did, I appologize. Its difficult to get someones tone thtu just text.

          You said whats the point and why you need it. I mearly pointed out that maybe you dont, but you dont equal everyone. I pointed out alternate apps and gps devices because it sounded as if you felt that a data connection is needed inorder to use gps.

          Also, if im just just in the minority, there wouldnt have been as big a backlash about it. You cant just assume most tablet owners dont care/use it just because you dont. Many people do use/want/need woorking gps on there gps enabled devices.

          1. I agree. It is difficult to read tone on a typed message. My apologies as well. Tablets tend to be content consumption devices which is why GPS was never a big selling point. However, as you have pointed out, Android users can be quite vocal. Unlike iOS users, we love to tinker and get the most out of our machines. While I ask what the point is, it’s because I haven’t had a need for it. It seems you have. So, for that; I’m glad that ASUS is addressing your need. My own opinion is that I still wish they had spent the money into making more tablets as great as the Prime but cheaper. That way a little bit more market share can be taken from Apple.

  4. I’ve used my tablet (not a Prime) for mapping more than once in my car with hotspot. Couldn’t have don it without GPS. I’d be pissed if GPS didn’t work. If my tablet GPS didn’t work I’d be demanding that it be fixed, exchanged or refunded. My question would be does the dongle have a pass through for power. If not then the dongle wouldn’t be an acceptable fix.

    1. Except it would be acceptable ;-)

    2. That’s ridiculous. Why would you need to have gps when you’re charging it? At least your Prime charges while plugged in if you’re using it. Unlike their closest competition, the new ipad that doesn’t charge if you’re using it too. Perspective please. Asus is doing a great job dealing with customer concerns. My prime has only gotten better in the short time I’ve had it. You can’t say that about the new iPad. Apple continues to publicly deny any problems with the new ipad.

    3. You mean pissed like the original Galaxy S GPS issue? Talk about FUBAR!

  5. I think the commenters are missing the point. Asus messed up by selling faulty hardware to consumers, and this remains one of my biggest pet peeves. If your going to half ass a product, then expect half ass sales. Asus needs to fix the hardware issue rather than supplementing the problem with a stupid dongle.

    1. …this IS fixing the issue. fill out this form and they set something up to send you a doohickey that plugs in the back of the bastard. Voila. Fixed. For FREE. Shut up :) What more do you want? Your money back? OK sure give back the tablet and they can return your money at a certain set rate equal to the amount of time you had it. Oh dont want that? You want it free, fixed and now? Quit crying. Its GPS on a big ass tablet. Your a fucking tool if your walking around with a 10inch plastic bastard wondering where the fuck you are. get a map and move on with life. besides i owned a vibrant. if anyone should be entitled to anything from anybody to fix faulty GPS hardware it was the Vibrant owners.

    2. Perspective. Not everyone is having gps issues so asus is going above and beyond with supplying a free custom fit dongle. That’s not half ass by a long shot. My prime has only improved. The latest firmware update gave us ethernet access via usb port. That’s more useful to me at work than robust gps signal. I would perfer if they would give users a choice of whether they wanted a usb ethernet dongle or the gps dongle. Ethernet usb dongle please.

    3. @37125c148cbae52fafe2aea344a7ee4f:disqus – It’s hilarious to me that the iPad andiPad 2 didn’t even have GPS at all, were more expensive, yet no one complained or called it “half-assed.”

      As for someone who actually owns a Prime, I have never used the GPS on it or my OG Transformer. Tablets are far too large for practical use of GPS and these tablets are wifi only anyway, which means you would have to be paying for the mobile hotspot on your phone to use in on the run anyway- which most people won’t do. THEY WILL JUST USE THEIR PHONE’S GPS!

      I got the OTA fix months ago, and my GPS works fine. I still never use it.

      This is just another example of Android spec-mongering. ASUS should have just stopped including GPS altogether like Apple to shut up the whiners.

      1. The problem to most people was that the device was advertised to have working GPS.  They feel they were mislead and indeed they were mislead.  The fact is that ASUS has aknowledged the problem that a majority of users are experiencing.  Also everyone keeps talking about using your tablet for GPS and how stupid it is.  Let’s not forget that many apps rely on being able to determine your location.  If you are not near a WiFi hotspot, sometimes these apps are rendered basically useless or take so long to get your location you could of figured it out faster another way, or maybe it is just frustrating.  Add to those problems the fact that ASUS announced an upgraded Transformer almost immediately after admitting the GPS problems.
        While I still praise ASUS for their record of speedy updates, and despite the GPS WiFi issues pretty darn good hardware, at an amazing price point, I do believe they badly bungled the Transformer Prime.

        1. The new iPad doesn’t work as advertised either, it has even more issues then the prime, like how wifi connections completely drop at 10 feet from router, reaches temperatures 120+ F , only 7-8 hours of battery life on heavy use takes 3-4 times longer then a Prime to fully charge the wifi version doesn’t even have gps , and it was advertised to work on 4g, but then discovered it only works on u.s and Canadian soil hell apple still hasn’t fixed the problems they just came out and said that’s how its supposed to work, and that’s coming from a supposedly high end manufacturer at least Asus is giving it their best, when we found minor glitches with the Prime Asus sent out a update 4 days later, when we asked for an unlocked boot loader , Asus came out right away gave their reason to why they had to ship it that way then sent us a unlocked boot loader , how is that for support

          1. Did you read my post?  It has absolutely nothing to do with the new iPad, don’t know why you brought apple into this.  Apple’s poor record does not make ASUS’ huge oversight(shipping a product with a non-working feature they advertised) any less.  They both messed up. I agree ASUS is trying hard to placate their unhappy customers but the bottom line is that this was an obvious build design problem that should have never EVER made it out the door with flaws like this.  If you read my post you noticed I said I still praise ASUS for the things they have done and done very well, but the deployment of a device with such an obvioius design flaw is a huge oversight that should’ve never happened.  I will still choose ASUS over almost any other manufacturer, but it’s pretty clear to me they made some pretty big mistakes with the Transformer Prime.

          2. I was only using apple as an example the point i was trying to make is that every device that has ever been released by anyone, has either not met expectations or has had a design flaw that was overlooked, there is no perfect device, the most we can hope for as a consumer is for support in helping to fix those problems that it does have and asus is doing an amazing job compared to pretty much every other manufacturer. for instance the galaxy tabs had screen issues, are made of low quality materials, are sometimes laggy due to hardware and touch-wiz ( but they barely even tried fixing any of the issues- and their really bad with updates) , Motorola device are big bulky not as great when it comes to internal hardware and their even worse then Samsung when it comes to updates, they stop supporting device within 6 -8 months of release) and lets not even mention battery life on most of those devices. for what it is the Tprime is an amazing device but people are way over exaggerating the problems, like screen bleeding, every single tablet device on the market has screen bleeding. the wifi problem in the Tprime had nothing to do with aluminum backing it was a software issue reading the wifi signal except people whent ballistic about it but when the new ipad released and the wifi doesn’t even work half the time people are just  like “we can accept that”. when comparing it to every other device, issue wise we have it way better then the rest of them.  

          3. We’ll just have to disagree. The difference to me is that none of the other manufacturers used those flaws as selling points or features. Many people disagree about touchwiz on the tabs. All the OEMs have done a better job updating their tablets than their phones, it’s alot easier when you only have a few models.
            I love my prime and I think ASUS has done the best they could do in supporting the device, but the design should’ve never made it out of prototype testing without noticing this obvious flaw and correcting it before advertising and mass production.

  6. What about the damn wifi?

    1.  You must not have a Prime. It was fixed months ago.

      1. Many people are still reporting WiFi signal degradation when simultaneously using WiFi and BT.

  7. Might wanna add, only owners who registered there device on the ASUS Members site are currently recieving the email application for the kit.
    Not everyone is fond of going online/sending in registration forms for their electronic devices.

    Not sure about how this will effect those who did not register their devices or ho ASUS will get this out to Prime owners who never registered.

    Also Chris, I sent in a tip a little while ago about new info on the Padfone.

  8. Don’t ever see myself using a tablet as a GPS! Maybe a smaller one

    1.  You mean like a phone?

      What a concept!

  9. Let’s not attack each other about how people choose to use their devices.  Clearly, some people find GPS on a 10″ tablet useful; others do not.  This fix will make some people happy.  For others, it will be a non-issue.  No need to criticize others for their personal preferences.  Thanks.

  10. I am so glad I returned mine because of lock up issues. It’s not that I needed GPS it’s that I paid for it and it didn’t work, the tablet was really a toy for me since I didn’t really need it and as a toy you expect everything to just work(especially at that price point). That’s the bottom line. Ended up with a Samsung 7.7 wifi from Hong Kong and love it. Of course I will be entertaining the TF700 when they fixed everything, but I really wasn’t happy with ASUS for this and I really like ASUS.

  11. At least they are doing something, rather than nothing.

  12. I’ve never used the GPS on my tablet so i don’t know how well it works or doesn’t, and at this point don’t much care. that being said, I feel that the dongle solution is a bad one. the reasoning is simple; if it did matter to me i would have to make a choice, either have GPS functionality or have a USB port. while I personally or you personally may not have use for one, the other or both, both were part of the original design and functionality and I am certain that there are people out there who would use both. 

    honestly, i think that the best solution would be shipping them back in to be repaired or replaced, or traded in store for this “newer model”. the trade ins could then be repaired and sold as referbs and the company is still making money while making the customers happy. 

  13. My GPS performance is great.  However, good for ASUS for continuing to try and resolve the issue, the dongle is a step that no other manufacture with GPS issues (we all remember the Samsung G1 line debacle) has taken.  This is why ASUS is far and away the best customer support oriented company in this business.

  14. My wifi works great but for the people who dint have a working one I think they should get one of those new Prime models , considering its a defect with the device

  15. i rather wait for the TF700 or TF300 with GPS and 4G which announced in Barcelona.

    it supposed to launch sometimes in the 2Q of this year 
    maybe it is worth to wait until may or june rather buying transformer prime

  16. Asus is ” manning up ” which is TONS more than other smartphone/pad companies. I respect them now more than ever. The dongle should be quite fine but I’d take a longer power charger even Better ! Say , 6 or 9 feet …??? ( and while you’re at it how about a 20% off coupon for your 7″ Nexus Tablet …??? ). just my $.02 / wishlist! I SURE am Lovin my TransPrime !!!

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