In addition to announcing that it would provide an unlock tool for the bootloader of the Transformer Prime, ASUS also revealed (in the same statement posted to Facebook) that the Android 4.0 update for its Tegra 3 tablet would begin rolling out on January 12.
In fact, this is one of the earliest dates we’ve seen for an official Ice Cream Sandwich update, aside from the Nexus S of course, with Sony Ericsson and LG having scheduled their updates for Q2 while Samsung has committed to a Q1 timeline for its Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note, without any exact dates confirmed yet.
ASUS also provided a changelog for the recent 126.96.36.199 update, which “improve[s] the focus of the camera, the fluidity of the touch experience, and the APK capabilities in Android Market”, and further clarified the GPS issues with the Transformer Prime: Due to its metallic unibody design interfering with GPS signals, it cannot provide “professional” GPS performance, which is why ASUS will no longer be touting its GPS capabilities on its spec sheet and marketing. Definitely a good move for the future, though it unfortunately doesn’t change much for those who already bought one.
Overall, a lot of (highly interesting) stuff buried in that one long statement. We’ve embedded it below for your reading pleasure.
Thank you very much for all of the support you have given to ASUS. Eee Pad Transformer Prime received excellent reviews and great demand when it launched in December 2011. Now, we are continuing to make the Transformer Prime available in the worldwide market, and doing our best to fulfill the incredible demand. ASUS strives to create the best products and provide the best service for our customers, and will be releasing an FOTA update for the Transformer Prime shortly. This update, version 188.8.131.52, will improve the focus of the camera, the fluidity of the touch experience, and the APK capabilities in Android Market.
ASUS has been working hard to make the highly anticipated Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich available on the Transformer Prime, and today, we have good news for you. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich FOTA worldwide update for the Transformer Prime will start from Jan 12th, 2012. Thank you for your patience and support through this process.
In addition, we would like to address your concerns related to GPS and bootloader on the Transformer Prime.
The ASUS Transformer Prime is made from a metallic unibody design, so the material may affect the performance of the GPS when receiving signals from satellites. Please note that this product is not a professional GPS device, and signal performance can be easily influenced by factors including, but not limited to: weather, buildings, and surrounding environments. Please understand there are limitations when using the GPS function. To avoid inconveniencing users who demand a powerful GPS device, we made the decision to remove it from our specification sheet and marketing communications. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
Regarding the bootloader, the reason we chose to lock it is due to content providers’ requirement for DRM client devices to be as secure as possible. ASUS supports Google DRM in order to provide users with a high quality video rental experience. Also, based on our experience, users who choose to root their devices risk breaking the system completely. However, we know there is demand in the modding community to have an unlocked bootloader. Therefore, ASUS is developing an unlock tool for that community. Please do note that if you choose to unlock your device, the ASUS warranty will be void, and Google video rental will also be unavailable because the device will be no longer protected by security mechanism.
Thank you for all the understanding and support for the ASUS Transformer Prime. Happy New Year!