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Asus Taiwan Says Bootloader Unlock Tool is Coming, Ice Cream Sandwich Available January 12 (Updated: US Asus Confirms)

While we sit here tapping our fingers in anticipation of an official Transformer Prime bootloader statement from Asus U.S.A., we may have an idea as to what they plan to say thanks to their Taiwan Facebook page. Thanks to a translation by Bing (hah!), we come away with the understanding that Asus will create and release some sort of bootloader unlocking tool or “procedure” to give “professional-grade players more freedom and openness” on their device. Basically what they are saying, is that users who wish to take full advantage of their quad-core tablet, will be able to do just that. 

Here is the statement:

Cause you inconvenience, sorry! And bootloader function of blockade, main due to is many media service publishers requirements security protection of mechanism to protection digital content (DRM digital copyright management); also, has in view of past first generation deformation flat experience, user itself cracked (Root) machine Hou, may led machine damaged even cannot using, therefore ASUS in extreme deformation offset above plus has bootloader of encryption protection, to support digital content of audio leased function and while protection machine stability. But at the same time, ASUS also heard from many users still want to be able to increase permissions, unlocked bootloader demand therefore Asus is also being actively developed as soon as possible-only unlock procedure, subject to the procedures developed will release to provide professional-grade players more freedom and openness of the platform, enjoy the ultimate experience of lithography extreme deformation. (Use unlocking program unlock bootloader after protection, part of the digital audio/visual rental service will be unable to use, the machines are no longer protected by bootloader, users consent to give up the original warranty, asking the user to pay special attention to this effect) thank user support, and happy happy new year

I just find it so silly that it takes a social media mob and a dozen blog posts to get this to happen in the first place. Asus is making this sound like they had no idea that advanced users wanted to have more freedom with their device, yet, this was one of the driving forces behind the success of their original Transformer. And do they not read the news? We have only covered the fact that “advanced” users want more control during episodes of Bootloader-gate with HTC and Motorola for a couple of years now.

And in even better news, here is their statement on the upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich. The update could be available as early as January 12:

And the public expect Android 4 ice cream sandwich (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system, is scheduled for January 12 onwards also offer upgrade services worldwide.

Feeling slightly better about this device now? Hopefully the U.S. statement includes some sort of time frame that we can look forward to on the bootloader front.

Update:  The U.S. Asus Facebook page confirmed this statement from their Taiwan counterpart. Here is their statement on the bootloader:

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.

And on Android 4.0 becoming available on January 12:

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.

They also did not make the Prime to be a professional grade navigation device, hence the reason it has some pretty serious GPS issues:

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.

Considered this settled.

Via:  Asus Taiwan

Cheers Chris and Remington Bob!

  • Ryan C

    I lol’d so hard when on ASUS’s facebook page, they said “Are you looking forward to seeing what we’re going to announce at CES next week?” and every single comment was someone saying “UNLOCK THE BOOTLOADER ON THE PRIME ASUS!!”

  • Anonymous

    Are there workarounds for watching google movies on a rooted device?

  • Anonymous

    Asus, in case you read DL, Thank you to responding to our concerns. Even if it’s not our favorite thing to hear (the GPS issue is just going to be there) at least we know and can manage The bootloader and ICS news is fantastic and I for one thank you for the quick and reasonable response.

    There is a far better chance you will get $650 from me, please get these out in peoples hands, at stores, and available for purchase online and I think you will have great success. 

  • JPC776

    Wife just called to let me know that mine just arrived. Looking forward to some ICS goodness next week.

  • @readers:disqus  my best friend’s mother-in-law makes $95 every hour on the internet. last month her pay was $8370 just working on the internet for a few hours.Follow the instructions at Online Income solution and set up your account.. http://goo.gl/XLH8T

  • Dan Kemple

    now this is why i bought a TF201…because Asus continues to show that they listen to the customer.  I can understand if there are some issues with a 1st generation launch, it’s how you handle those that really makes the difference.  +1 for Asus!

  • Anonymous

    Indeed Google does control updates on the Xoom. Here’s hoping for the 3G/LTE versions of the Xoom that Verizon doesn’t delay the approval process too long.

  • Anonymous

    It will get it soon enough, considering that there is an AOSP build floating around the interwebz already for it: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1396718

  • Looks like Amazon already starts shipping ASUS Transformer Prime Tablets: http://2c9de.easyurl.net/

  • jbonics

    wow that was fast. i just started complaing yesterday and today asus man’ed up. thank you for having some balls.

  • MightyQ

    How about the Transformer… is it inline for some ICS love?

    • MightyQ

      TF101 that is

  • FortitudineVincimus

    But they f***** us on the GPS issue. Sold it & advertised it as having GPS. Never did R&D to make sure GPS actually worked with an aluminum back? Then offered no fix and removed GPS from its sites all over the world so new buyers couldn’t claim they bought it for GPS despite the fact all tablets have GPS that essentially works better. And this editing of the GPS off their specs does not fix GPS that is on the box and was in the specs the day 10’s of thousands of us bought it… bunk

    Maybe a savvy dev – under root – can improve the GPS to some degree as some looking into the files shows some of the related prop files for GPS are poorly coded and missing additional code elements. But as for now, we cannot edit those files with no root so this might help in 1 small way to eek out some kind of tick in improvement.

  • They handled this extremely well. They were honest and upfront about what they planned on doing. They were also quick to respond. I would love to hear Motorola chime in on why they haven’t given us the opportunity to unlock our bootloaders…

  • Anonymous

    BS. Xoom should get the ICS update first.

    • KevinC

      that’s up to google and motorola.  they released the source so asus could very well beat them to it.

  • vargus21

    That’s pretty bad if ASUS can get ICS on their tablet by next week but my original Xoom (a Google Experience Device) still has not gotten an update. Weak.

  • Anonymous

    I guess this puts Moto’s “Google experience device” on the clock. I still believe March/April, XOOM 1 will get a security update and then maybe June will get the end of life status.

  • QtDL

    Wow. Thanks Asus, nerds of the world rejoice!  Maybe I should get a Prime now? or wait for the Nexus tablet (hopefully rolling out around my birthday) 🙂

  • Chris

    So this means the Xoom will get ICS by the January 12th, right???

  • Blipp17

    any hope of the OG transformer getting ICS around the same time? please? 🙁

  • Sporttster

    Now HOW BOUT IT, MOTOROLA? We’re getting replys back quickly from some and YOU are ignoring us! We gotta keep up the pressure on them to unlock as they SAID they would. HTC can, Sammy, everyone apparently other than Moto on Verizon,huh. Quit lying , MOTO and unlock like you said you were going to!!!! We know now it’s not Verizon stopping you!!

  • Anonymous

    Internet has made “small revolutions” take hours, not days anymore. GoDaddy, Verizon, ASUS. The internet is powerful, and it’s power is based on its freedom which is threatened by SOPA. This is just one more reason to oppose that legislation.

  • EC8CH


    “Our GPS reception is so $h!tty we’re removing it from our spec list”

    sounds like they’ve given up on improving the Prime’s GPS issue.

    • Anonymous

      Does anybody actually use their tablet as their primary GPS/navigation device? If so, I will lump them into the same group as the douchebags* that walk around taking pictures with their tablets (primarily iPad owners) because they want people to know that they have a tablet.

      *Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the face, via your tablet.

      • EC8CH

        might wanna take it easy with a roundhouse kick this close to the president…

        secret service might get a little edgy.

        • Anonymous

          Thanks. Duly noted.

      • Anonymous

        I used it a couple times in the car tethered to my Droid. Was fun on our 10.1 but admittedly quite novel.

      • Anonymous

        I actually hoped to use my Transformer Prime in my vehicle as a Pandora, Navigation, etc.. device.

        I hope to be able to BT tether to save juice on the phone and perform all the tasks with the tablet.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    This gives me high hopes that Motorola is also prepping ICS to be released very soon for the Xoom. I’m correlating this with Moto’s recent announcement of a “project” they are working on being sent to a select few users for testing: 

    It seems Asus might beat Motorola to the punch in who will get the first legit ICS-ified tablet to market at the moment. Time will tell. Can’t wait.

    • Anonymous

      Thought google controlled xoom updates. Can’t seem to find the article on here anymore. it will happen.

  • Stating El Obvious

    US Statement says the same thing.  ICS January 12th, unlock tool being developed.

  • How about shipping these babies?

  • EC8CH

    “part of the digital audio/visual rental service will be unable to use,”

    sounds like piracy concerns of content providers is the big push behind locking bootloaders.

    Really… is pirating content on smartphones and tablets really that big of a concern considering how much more easy and prevalent it is on windows desktops?

    • Anonymous

      They don’t want you to root, then realize you can’t use Google movie rentals.

      I don’t think Asus has developed the tact for working with the Android market.  They want to be developer friendly, it’s very obvious; they’re just stumbling a bit on the way there. :).

      • EC8CH

        no doubt, Asus should have handled this announcement better.

        It’s also not Asus or Google who should be taking the heat, but the content creators and their DRM requirements.

        • angermeans

          I agree with everything you said but the last. You need to blame people that pirate software as that is the driving force behind both drm and locking things down. They have the rihht to protect their intelectual proprrty and i dont blame them for doing so.

    • Anonymous

      Is there a workaround for other devices? I really want to watch movies on it once it comes.

  • Jim Dandy

    Professional grade players. 😛

    • Anonymous

      Us professional grade players enjoy our ultimate experience of lithography extreme deformation

  • EC8CH

    This episode only further justifies my rational of waiting until mid year to see what becomes of the Nexus Tablet.

  • I breathe a poorly translated sigh of relief.

  • Anonymous

    All is right with the world

  • Anonymous

    Please quit freaking out, guys.  I had no doubt that ASUS would offer a solution to unlock the bootloader.  This thing is an awesome device, and well worth the money!  I just got mine two days ago and have barely put it down.

    • Anonymous

      if people didnt freak out they wouldnt offer a solution. its even says in there it was due to the response(freak out).

      • Anonymous

        There was no reason to freak out, just to express your opinions to ASUS.  People on here are claiming they are cancelling their orders, returning their already received tablets, etc.  That’s freaking out.  Making your desires clear to ASUS is not freaking out.

        • Anonymous

          do you really think a company will listen as well to a few people saying they would like something changed or do you think theyd listen a little better when their revenue is affected?

          • Anonymous

            Their revenue was not affected overnight in a 12 hour period. If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. ASUS has always been concerned about consumer satisfaction (at least from my experiences with them).  People taking to their social media sites and writing emails to them did the right thing.  People cancelling orders of arguably the first good non-nexus tablet over something that can easily be fixed via software update (or circumvented, if necessary), when everything else about the tablet is great, is maniacal.

          • Anonymous

            No s* their revenue wasn’t affected overnight. If you truely can’t see what I’m getting at then there’s no helping you understand but I’ll try to explain it one last time.

            ASUS knows what the enthusiast market wants. They’ve proven that with their core market with mainboards and the ability to overclock right out of the box. They knew people would be upset with a locked bootloader. If everyone had a response with something along the lines of “hey ASUS, we’re upset with your decision but we’ll buy your products anyway.” They wouldn’t have done anything about it, or at least would have been less likely to because their bottom line wouldn’t have been affected.

            With people responding that they’d return their devices or not purchase them at all, their bottom line(revenue) would be impacted. ASUS isn’t run by idiots, they wouldn’t wait for their revenue to be affected before they finally did something about it.

            It’s pretty much common sense at this point that the threat to their bottom line is what made them respond with a solution.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t disagree with you in the slightest about your theory.  That’s not my point of contention–ASUS would surely lose the sale on tablets from enthusiasts, and that is what motivated them to work on their bootloader unlock in the first place.  I’m intimately familiar with contemporary capitalist economic theory.  However, the idea that the world works in that simplistic of an economic context is fallacy.  ASUS saw that not unlocking the bootloader would not sit well with the “first-movers” and enthusiasts like you and I, but they likely saw very little hit to their bottom line.  We (hopefully) will be a small percentage of their sales overall. However, they stood to lose more in mind-share than profit, and realized this when we took to the virtual streets and pressured them to allow us to unlock the bootloader.  Being a smart company, they reversed their position (that they were apparently put in by Google and content creators).  But to say that people not buying their tablet / cancelling orders caused this is not true.  It was people telling them what they wanted that caused this unlock tool to go into development.  If you disagree with this, I urge you to look further into economics, beyond 101 supply-and-demand textbooks.

            And seriously dude, I’m not trying to turn this into a flame war. I’m just trying to point out that people cancelling orders didn’t make them change, but rather people taking to the virtual streets that made the difference.  Smart companies don’t wait to be driven into the ground with zero sales, they find the problems and fix them in advance.  The easiest way for them to fix problems they haven’t seen hit their bottom line is for us to tell them, en masse.  Because I wish to see companies continue to push the envelope with Android, I did my part to help them find the problem in advance.

          • Stating El Obvious

            LOL!  Their revenue was affected?  Damn you sheep put WAYYY too much worth in your importance.  They made this decision based on what their users wanted not the idle threats from some idiots who swore they were returning their Primes.  Gimme a break.

          • Anonymous


          • Anonymous

            I wasn’t going to buy it without the bootloader getting unlocked. Now I am. $600 to Asus.

          • Anonymous

            Right, but why did they know that the locked bootloader was the hangup? Becuase we told them–and so they’re fixing it.  Smart company.  This wasn’t  hitting their bottom line (yet).

          • Anonymous

            Also, if you want to blame someone specifically, it looks like your ire should go towards Google themselves.  ASUS’s American Facebook page says that it’s related to Google video rentals, which would mean it’s Google asking companies to lock their bootloaders by default–which, carrying this argument to it’s logical conclusion, means that you should stop buying and using Google products.  Now go hit their bottom line! Go Bing, and don’t look at any websites with Google ads!

            I apologize in advance for deliberately being an asshat.  I know you’re not necessarily the one out there demanding everyone cancel their orders, but I think we both want good companies making Android products to succeed, and at the very least I want to help them make the right decisions by listening to me and the other consumers without putting them out of business (or this business, specifically)!

          • EC8CH

            In order for Google to secure distribution of content I’m sure they are pressured into these requirements.  The blame as it almost aways does, lies with the content creators who drag their feet and make things as difficult as possible for their customers to protect their outdated sales model.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah I know. Sad. I almost wish Google would give these give these guys the finger, but since they are coming from behind and trying to build a legitimate contender for Apple’s iTunes, they are somewhat at the mercy of these old-world entertainment companies.  Shame…

          • Anonymous

            Not for long tho 🙂

          • Anonymous

            Fingers crossed for success!

      • mm777

        goes to show. “don’t piss off the consumer”

  • Wait, is the ICS update on the 12th also for the TF101?

    • I really hope so!

      • Anonymous

        was going to ask this as well. Shouldnt be too hard to build an image from source considering they dont have a skin for Honeycomb, and as the OEM they have the source code to all the drivers the device would need.

        please be (at least) this month!