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Asus Announces A Ridiculous Solution For Its Flawed Transformer Prime Android Tablet

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The Transformer Prime is a fantastic example of a product rushed to market. It was as if Asus was trolling consumers and yelling “First!” The tablet launched with a host of problems, many of which Asus fixed over the weeks following its release through a constant stream of updates. But some issues, like the poor GPS capability, were seemingly addressed through placebo updates. Asus was even caught removing the spec and feature from the Transformer Prime’s product page. Then, just weeks after the Prime hit the market, Asus announced a new family of Transformer tablets as if the Prime never existed.

But the biggest insult just happened today. Asus finally announced a solution to the poor performing GPS: A massive dongle that happens to use the same port as the Prime’s keyboard dock, preventing owners from using both at the same time. At least it’s free.

As I explained before Asus is still new to consumer electronics. Up until the Eee PC line, Asus sold just computer components. Even in this post-Eee PC era, Asus still doesn’t know how to properly handle a potential blockbuster product like the Transformer Prime.

The Transformer Prime was doomed from the start. Asus flubbed the launch with constant delays. When it did launch, it was very hard to find. Then, when early adopters finally got their little bundle of joy, the company was slow to respond to serious issues. In fact the tablet launched with so many bugs that it’s questionable if Asus even tested the tablet prior to shipping.

Now, over four months after owners started complaining about nearly nonexistent GPS functionality, the company announced a fix that involves a massive GPS dongle. Owners can sign up for one today, but there’s still no word when the accessory will ship. The offer expires on July 31st.

Thankfully for Asus, the Transformer Prime has been anything but a blockbuster product. A court document from a few weeks back indicated that Asus had only sold 2,000 units during the first two months it was available. Had the Transformer Prime lived up to the hype and sold as if it was a legitimate contender, this GPS issue could have snowballed into an antennagate-type nightmare.



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Matt Burns

April 16th

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Asus Fixes Transformer Prime by Making Transformer Prime Look Idiotic [Tablets]

Asus' super-powerful silver bullet Android tablet had one big problem: its GPS sucked. So Asus, instead of issuing replacement hardware that didn't suck, is handing out fat, ugly dongle attachments. Oh, and they block the tablet's dock connector, too. Sweet! More »


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Sam Biddle

April 16th

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The Court Transcript For the Hasbro vs. Asus Transformer Prime Case Is Hilarious [Asus]

Last year it was announced that Hasbro was going to sue Asus over the branding of the Transformer Prime; apparently, people all over the planet were confusing a tablet with shape-shifting robots. Now the case has been settled—Hasbro lost a preliminary hearing—but the court ruling is quite hilarious. More »


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Jamie Condliffe

March 28th

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Judge: Asus Transformer Isn’t Infringing On Hasbro’s Trademark – And Asus Reveals Embarrassing Sales Stats

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A federal judge has ruled that Asus’ Transformer Prime tablet does not infringe on Hasbro’s Transformers trademark, in spite of the suit actually making sense. Just “Transformer”, or just “Prime”, might have flown right by Hasbro’s lawyers without a second look — those are words, after all — but putting the two together seemed like tempting fate. As expected, Hasbro took Asus to task in December.

But the judge has initially sided with Asus, saying that people were unlikely to confuse the tablet with Hasbro properties, noting they had also waited too long to file the suit.

As a little kicker on the story, court filings have revealed that the device has produced pre-order numbers that are, shall we say, less than legendary.

It’s not entirely fair, of course, to compare a fragmented and developing ecosystem like Android tablets to the world leader, the iPad. After all, you don’t look at a new local restaurant and say “yeah well, McDonald’s has served billions.” Selling at that volume is by far the exception, not the rule. At the same time, Asus is a big company with lots of ambition in the tablet and mobile computing space, so we can at least hold them to the standard of a large and established company.

So when court filings reveal that pre-orders for this poster child for Android 4 tablets (and it does look great) total a whopping 2,000 units as of a month ago, it’s kind of a letdown. That and 80,000 going to retailers worldwide make the device seem rather minor even in comparison to other Android products like the Nook Color and Kindle Fire. Is there a space for “premium” Android devices running just plain Android? The market seems smaller than big players like Asus would like to believe — or at least it is not growing as quickly as they expected.

As for the lawsuit: it’s not over, the judge has simply rejected Hasbro’s request to have sales of the Transformer Prime device halted. The case will continue to trial, and of course Hasbro has already vowed vengeance. They have a new series of toys related to the Transformers Prime TV show coming out this month, and don’t need any pesky tablets hogging the spotlight.



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Devin Coldewey

March 27th

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ASUS Transformer Prime bootloader unlocking tool now available

As promised, ASUS has released a bootloader unlocking tool for the Transformer Prime. The tool is packaged in an APK that can be downloaded from the company’s website. Once downloaded and installed, the Transformer Prime will have the ability to run custom ROMS, however ASUS warns that unlocking your bootloader will void your warranty. “Once you activate the [unlock app] you will not be able to recover your ASUS product (“Original Product”) back to original locked conditions,” ASUS stated. “You also acknowledge ASUS does not guarantee service satisfaction to any Revised Product, including events involving paid service requested by you to be performed to the Revised Product.”

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Dan Graziano

February 23rd

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Asus To Transformer Owners: “Here Is Your Unlocked Bootloader. Happy Now?”

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The Asus Transformer Prime was the great, grey hope for many Android lovers – until they realized that the bootloader was locked it was impossible to upgrade or install a new bit of firmware onto the device. Asus has finally relented, allowing folks to download an unlocked bootloader and install it over the “official” Asus bootloader.

The best part?

2. Before you download, install, and use the Unlock Device App you acknowledge and assume complete risk to the quality and performance of this App, including but not limited to the following: once you activate the App you will not be able to recover your ASUS product (“Original Product”) back to original locked conditions;the Original Product with the activated App will not be deemed the Original Product; the Revised Product will no longer be covered under the warranty of the Original Product; the software of Revised Product will no longer be deemed the software of the Original Product and can no longer receive ASUS software updates; your purchased digital content may also be affected.

It is strongly advised that you avoid activating this App unless you fully understand and accept the risks that may arise.

Blam. Want your device to work as advertised? Go for it, cowboy, but don’t expect Asus to hold your hand and consider this thing junk, babies, because no warranty will cover it.



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John Biggs

February 22nd

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Asus Transformer Prime bootloader unlock tool landing in February

Asus recently confirmed on Twitter that an official tool for unlocking the bootloader on the Transformer Prime will be made available in February. The company didn’t give an exact date for when the tool would be released, but the good news is Transformer Prime owners have just a few weeks to wait until they can unlock the bootloader on the quad-core tablet. Asus originally promised that the tool would be made available after upset customers lashed out in January. An unlocked bootloader allows Android users to install custom ROMs and kernels, but it does come with several consequences. As we noted earlier this year, unlocking the bootloader will void Asus’s warranty and some services, such as Google’s video rental application, will not work properly. 

[Via Pocketnow]

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Todd Haselton

January 26th

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Asus Transformer Prime bootloader unlock tool landing in February

Asus recently confirmed on Twitter that an official tool for unlocking the bootloader on the Transformer Prime will be made available in February. The company didn’t give an exact date for when the tool would be released, but the good news is Transformer Prime owners have just a few weeks to wait until they can unlock the bootloader on the quad-core tablet. Asus originally promised that the tool would be made available after upset customers lashed out in January. An unlocked bootloader allows Android users to install custom ROMs and kernels, but it does come with several consequences. As we noted earlier this year, unlocking the bootloader will void Asus’s warranty and some services, such as Google’s video rental application, will not work properly. 

[Via Pocketnow]

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Todd Haselton

January 26th

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Asus Transformer Prime Users Still Reporting Major GPS Issue After Official Fix

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Right on cue, Asus started rolling out Ice Cream Sandwich to Transformer Prime tablets last week. The update not only brought Android 4.0 to the tablet, but also a fix for the lackluster GPS performance. But apparently the GPS is borked for some. Users are still experiencing poor performance and worse yet, some are even stating that the GPS no longer works in ICS when it did prior to the update.

The update reportedly enabled the tablet to obtain satellite information via Wi-Fi, which, in theory, should allow the GPS radio to lock-on quicker. But remember, as Asus previously stated, the Transformer “is not a professional GPS device.” So, you know, that means users shouldn’t expect certain functions to work as advertised.

The common theory prior to the update stated that the Prime’s metal back plate was interfering with the GPS radio. That could still be the case but it seems less likely now that satellite information is provided by a data connection.

Issues often arise after a product launch. Asus is not unique in this situation. However, the company is seemingly sweeping problems under the rug rather than directly addressing them. The company already removed all mentions of a GPS radio from the Prime’s product page (Amazon hasn’t though). Simply issuing a statement that the Prime is not a “professional GPS device” does not cover it. It speaks to the company’s inexperienced in the consumer electronic realm.

As many users point out on XDA, the Prime is still a fine tablet minus the GPS ability. Some users state the GPS works fine. But it’s completely broken for others. Consumers have a responsibility to hold manufacturers and companies responsible for their errors and mistakes. Only ignorant fanboys grin and bear it. The rest try to get issues resolved.



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Matt Burns

January 23rd

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ASUS begins to roll out GPS fix for Transformer Prime tablet

ASUS released an over-the-air update for the Eee Pad Transformer Prime on Thursday. The update will boost the GPS version to 6.9.13 and improve the tablet’s faulty signal according to user accounts. Since its release, the Prime has been plagued with numerous bugs that recently forced the company to issue refunds and extended warranties to dissatisfied customers in the United Kingdom. Numerous users at XDA-Developers have reported improved GPS connectivity without the need to connect to Wi-Fi, however there are a few individuals who are still unable to lock onto a signal. ASUS has not yet released an official change log for the update.

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Dan Graziano

January 19th

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