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Asus U.S. Prepares Statement on Bootloader-gate 2012, Asus Italy Tells Us Why It’s Locked?

The outcry over the Transformer Prime and its locked bootloader was clearly heard by Asus this weekend. On their U.S. Facebook page they have released a brief statement, which basically just tells you all to “relax” while they prepare an official statement with details or reasons as to why they have made this unfortunate move. Yeah, that’s comforting…or not so much. And we say that it’s not so comforting because Asus’ Italian page has gone ahead and dropped a statement of their own that actually does go into a bit of detail on their reasoning behind locking up their new quad-core tablet. 

Here it is (translated by Google):

We see that there was a bit ‘choppy sea of questions about some “hot”. We talk about issues with Prime. It is called the root block. About First it should be noted that the product is not yet available on our territory. So the problems that some (we want to emphasize) users have complained will not affect the units deployed overseas on our territory. Battery life is line with what was promised. Obviously, this parameter depends strongly on the conditions of use and maximum range is always referred to use “light” with all the energy saving features active. On the GPS is wrong to compare a product like Prime to a smartphone. First, because smartphones using 3G connectivity to download the table with the position of the satellites and then more quickly identify the satellites. What you can do even Prime WiFi, but only when it is connected. Secondly, because Prime does not come as Car Navigator, nor do we imagine that users will use it while walking the streets of the city, looking for a street or a shop. For those things are just smartphones. Finally speech root: our position in this regard is simple. The product is guaranteed as it is. Different firmware altering the basic functionality of the product or push the hardware beyond the standard frequencies will void your warranty and may threaten the reliability and proper functioning of the product itself. Basically to respond to some posts on the bulletin board: we do not delete the “post uncomfortable” because we do not have anything to hide. Delete spam, misinformation and the news is not official. Keep them on the bulletin board would be to confirm their content. But it is not. It is incorrect that a user who attends board ASUS Italy will find us to be informed instead of misinformation. We hope with this post that I made ​​clear the misunderstanding. 
The staff ASUS Italy

So that’s pretty much what every company that locks bootloaders has to say. They want their product to be used as they designed and do not want you putting custom software on it. Not only does an unlockable bootloader allow you to put on custom software, but it also kills the warranty of your device.  Mmmhmmm.

Hopefully the U.S. Asus team has something more appealing for us to read later today.

Via:  Facebook, Facebook Italia

Cheers Heath and Matt!

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  • http://twitter.com/ryocoon Kurtis Whittington

    I was with you until the Motorola comment and the second paragraph…

    Motorla devices have been locked down since day one, with the exception of the Motorola Droid A855. You have to bootstrap any Motorla device to load another ROM on it, instead of flashing it entirely. You are complaining about ASUS locking their bootloaders, and Motorola locks all of theirs yet you praise them. I don’t follow your logic.

    Second, they were saying that you _WOULD_ be using your phone as a navigation or GPS device, but not the tablet. I really don’t forsee you strapping your shiny tablet to your bike handle-bars, let alone trying to hold it while biking. (Well you could, and I could see how it culd be done, but it is a little unlikely compared to a phone-sized device). I do, however, agree the “properly informed versus misinformation” bit on their message boards was a cop-out.

    • Mikedeamicis

      ahem, I said HTC is unlocking their devices. Recent press release from HTC. I said I like my droid, the OG, and my bionic and that Samsung makes beautiful phones. So if I read your comment right, you still agree with me. And why would a tablet be to big for in car GPS? Lots of cars come with much bigger central displays that serve as the same things as a hrd mounted tablet that you cannot take walking with you. Nothing wrong with being ably to let your kids watch TV on netflix once you get to you destination. It is this shortsighted narrow mindedness that makes inferior products the way they are.  I always thought sales was supposed to be CUSTOMER service oriented.

      • http://twitter.com/ryocoon Kurtis Whittington

        The press release from HTC said “select” devices, but I agree with you on that. I do like Motorola’s hardware build quality, but they still do have locked bootloaders and no way to disable that. I’m not saying that a tablet shouldn’t be used for GPS. That is silly. If it has the capability, it should be used for whatever you can use it for. Also, one of the 7″ tablets would be perfect for that kind of in-car GPS duty (still might consider a bluetooth GPS dongle though for better readings and accuracy) A 10″ or greater might be a bit unwieldy to find a proper dock for it. I did say that using a tablet for navigation on a bike was a bit absurd though.

        My point still stands though with regards to other devices that you are considering over ASUS’s that happen to have locked bootloaders (especially in regards to Moto, who has no elective unlock method). Moto may have some nice devices, but you can’t take a high-ground standpoint with regards to Motorola and be talking about bootloaders in the same breath.

        Before you flame me in return, you might consider that most of what you said, I agreed with. You just went left-field on a few things (primarily having Motorola as a better alternative when the whole argument is primarily about bootloaders with regards to ASUS).

  • Jblackwell1014

    Part of what gives Google its identity is customization. We deserve the right to do what we want with the things we buy. I don’t understand why anyone would oppose the idea of freedom. If you oppose unlocked bootloaders, then don’t root your device.

  • Binglut9

    I have a better translatiion…..all of you that root plwase stop being whiney babies we have dwcided our product is better with it locked go cry somewhere else

  • Shopbuy11

    Did any1 notice on their FB page that the ICS upgrade will be out starting January 12?   Yes, I do read Chinese.   Also they are clearly indicating that they will provide unlock for the bootloader.  
    Glad I got the prime.   

  • EC8CH

    Hey Asus:

    Way to KILL all the positive Hype that has been building around the Prime.

    Welcome to the $h!tstorm of bad internet press that is locking the bootloader of an Android Device.

    • Stating El Obvious

      I’m sure they’ll be fine…

      • EC8CH

        Probably… but the tidal wave of positive press that has been formed around the Prime just came crashing down with this poorly executed decision.

        Like Kellex said, Asus should have known this is a big deal to the base of the Android community.  They maybe should have approached this subject a little more delicately.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah. I’m sure the “tidal wave of postive press” just “came crashing down” due to this news that maybe 5% of people buying this tablet will hear about. Do you realize that the vast majority of Android consumers don’t care whether a bootloader is locked?

          • EC8CH

            sure as hell came crashing down on their social media sites

            they’re rating and reviews also took a dramatic turn after this news broke.

  • Anonymous

    If it wasn’t for the keyboard dock (and the fact that my lovely girl friend is so excited to get me it) I would cancel my pre-order. Still partially considering it…

  • Anonymous

    Exactly, why even have the GPS then? What a jackass statement.

  • Anonymous

    Their Taiwan page says they are working on a software solution that will let you unlock the bootloader.  Quit freaking out, guys.

    http://www.facebook.com/asusclub.tw?sk=wall 

  • http://www.facebook.com/treswaters Tres Nugget Waters

    Here’s to hoping the “Nexus” tablet stays on track

    • Drazyw

      Yep!

  • Anonymous

    “Prime does not come as Car Navigator, nor do we imagine that users will use it while walking the streets of the city, looking for a street or a shop. For those things are just smartphones”  Thats your justification for the gps problems? How weak of an excuse is that? And please explain to me why you would “imagine” that we wouldn’t use it as a “car navigator” or “while walking the streets” or “looking for streets or shops”? Those are the reasons we want that feature in the tablet..

    • Stating El Obvious

      You’d seriously use a 10 inch tablet in your car as a GPS?  LOL…or walk around the city holding it trying to find things? haha…I’m not saying they shouldn’t fix it, but if you’re planning on using a tablet as a standalone GPS that’s hilarious.

      • Anonymous

        I use my 10″ Xoom everyday in my car as a GPS device, I’m in realty. It is mounted and serves multiple task for me that are more difficult on my phone or a small 4″ GPS. What is so hilarious about that?

        • http://www.facebook.com/nadeemqasem Nadeem Qasem

          yea i would love a tablet mounted to the car. and if the gps doesnt work then i obviously wont get that tablet. its much easier to see a 10″ screen then a 4.5″ screen especially when u have to glance quickly since ur driving.

      • Arthur Uscg

        Well, Captn, I will be buying a new car soon. Instead of paying the $1k+ for crappy OEM gps/ music player. I will be ripping the POS radio out of the dash and replacing it with a tablet. Google Maps allow you to download map data offline and not use your 3g data.
        Standalone GPS is sooo 2000s. Do you also have a built in car gps? how about a built in Car phone?

        smartphones and tables are computers and we should have full access to it. 
        The whole DRM arguement is crap. The music industry doesn’t expect my HP laptop to be “Lockec” from the factory.

        FTC needs to force service providers to stop subsidizing handset costs.

  • Meister_Li

    Even tho I love my Transformer (Classic), this will prevent me from buying any ASUS Tablet ever again until this is resolved. Just like Motorola, you’re not out of the Question ASUS, well done.

    • Stating El Obvious

      I’m sure ASUS will miss you.  Or not.

      • Anonymous

        Every missed sale opportunity is missed. Although a single missed sale isn’t a huge deal. A couple thousand missed sales is definitely something they would want to avoid. If the device owner wants to root, it will eventually happen. 

        But missing sales because of a temporary hurdle is not going to help sales. The same people who wouldn’t care if it isn’t unlocked, won’t care if it is.

        If ASUS doesn’t want to embrace the dev community, someone will. If HTC can make a competitively priced tablet, I’ll be on the lookout as they seem committed to the dev community.

      • Mikedeamicis

        yea, just like HP is missing all the sales opportunity because they are also arrogant and out of touch with today’s consumer. They blamed the platform for their inability to realize it’s potential.

  • Dukeuni

    Luckily my Prime was a Christmas present (still not here yet though…)  

    I was upset when I heard about the Google Tablet coming out, but then I Realized that 6 months usually means 9-12 months ;-)

    I would rather not wait up to a year for the google tablet.

  • Anonymous

    Nexus tablet this year at some point. Tablets are still niche enough that nobody really needs one. Holding out a few months is a minor inconvenience.

    • Mikedeamicis

      Exactly. I like the idea of a prime tablet for myself, maybe a sami for the wifee and 2 cheaper acers for the kids in about a year. All at once and all wifi with one 4g mobile hotspot for all data needs at home and while traveling, No more crappy fees at lame hotels that try to chrage you 5 bucks a day to use a modem. 

  • Anonymous

    I guess i’m one of those people who don’t give a crap, ICS is good enough for me…no need for me to add ROM’s, and I won’t do this on my SGN as well. 

    • Carl

      I didn’t think I was going to flash a custom rom on my SGN either until I got fed up with the horrible battery life.  Flashed a custom rom on and now my SGN lasts a good 20 hours or so on one charge.

      • Anonymous

        Which Rom? Battery life is the only thing making me consider loading a rom right now.

        • http://www.facebook.com/nadeemqasem Nadeem Qasem

          same here. which rom?

  • WormDoes

    Thanks to ASUS for saving me $500. Very nice of them

    • Drazyw

      Agreed, I’ll won’t spend $500 now.

      • Stating El Obvious

        You’ll wont?

  • Vire

    Hey ASUS, are you going to lock down my PC so that I can’t install Linux on it?

    • EC8CH

      exactly… if people don’t think issues like this are a big deal they should try and think of the implications if this was the norm back in the eighties and nineties when PC’s were taking off.

      • Matthew Merrick

        actually there are signs of windows 8 doing just that

  • Anonymous

    I was also going to get one. I have waited on buying an Android tablet just for this. Seriously disappointed. Really wanted a tablet with a full KB dock. And I won’t buy the old transformer wither b/c of this hooplah. Guess I am getting a Galaxy Tab.

  • camjcb

    I was on the fence for the Prime, but no longer.  I currently have an original Transformer but I will not give Asus any more of my money.  It works for me just fine as is.  I’ll wait for the mythical Google Tablet next year, thank you. 

  • Interstellarmind

    These companies are thinking they don’t want people complaining their devices suck after custom ROMing and kernelling and etc. That it will degrade the quality of the device, and thus the brand.

    What these companies are failing to realize is that unlocking bootloaders, ultimately, leads to their products working better, faster, and more reliabley.

    Idiots. ASUS, do not become like Motorola. Motorola will be limping in a couple of years just like it was before the OG Droid (OG put MOTO back on the map and your UNLOCKED device put you on the tablet map). Do not employ the same strategies as them, or you will be scrambling in 2 years time for $$. Us Android users made you and we can break you.

    • http://twitter.com/eatmode4life Ray Mendoza

      True. Besides their horrible design, I would not get another motorola device.

    • Binglut9

      Motorola is not losing money because they lock bootloaders

      • Anonymous

        It’s because every phone since the droid x has sucked or been designed to be obsolete by launch.

        • Mikedeamicis

          Actualy, My bionic kicks ass out of the box except for battery life. I may root it for better battery life if I hear of a rom that works for that. But it’s the 4G antenna draining the battery and i just turn it to 3G most the time unless I am gaming or browsing. My bioninc is faster at loading webpages than my timewarner over wifi at home.

          • Anonymous

            I got stuck with a droid x2 for a while. Don’t know you’re living with that screen.

          • nFans=iFans

            Newsflash!  The screen is actually quite nice with good color and contrast as well as being readable in sunlight after you get past the pentile hate hype and stop staring at the screen two inches from your face.

          • Anonymous

            I think you’re missing the fact I had the phone for five weeks. The screen sucked at any distance compared to my droid x. I’m not caught up in the hype but my own personal experience. It sucked.

    • nFans=iFans

      What you so cluelessly don’t understand is that Motorola locked their bootloaders for a reason.  You know what that reason was?  One of the main reasons was because of all the nitwits who screwed around with the original Droid and bricked it then proceeded to commit fraud by claiming warranty and demanding a replacement.  You do realize how much this costs a company right?  Motorola is probably making more money now just from less replacements since they locked the bootloader than they were before, even without all the arm chair hackers (aka the majority on this site) buying their products.

  • Anonymous

    I decided to pass on the Prime because of the backorders and then finding out that it had a skin on it.  Now I’m even happier with my decision to wait.  I am really hoping Acer brings it at CES.

    • mm777

      i got tired of waiting and got a toshiba thrive. lol.

  • balls

    but we want to void the warranty asus!

    • EC8CH

      exactly, after you peel that plastic off the screen the warranty is the next thing to go!

  • http://gplus.to/questioncom victor sanchez

    I also was planning on getting one, will def pass now. guess I’ll have to wait for the nexus tablet.Asus fucked up this time. 

  • Anonymous

    fail

  • Xray49er

    Mine will be here tomorrow, I spent $500 on this thing. Shouldn’t  I have the right to do what i please. So what if i void my warranty That is on me and my stupidity. We should just be given the option thats all.

  • Anonymous

    If you have no intentions of ever hacking it, does it really matter?

    • Anonymous

      Nope. But if you do, it matters quite a bit…

    • http://Twitter.com/eggoespada Eric Gonzalez

      Nope. If you don’t care to hack, go right ahead and get the device. It’s pretty solid with ICS coming this month according to ASUS. Just needs more apps — but that’s more of Android’s issue.

    • Anonymous

      Lets say you just bought a brand new car. You have no intention of ever modifying it or even doing any of the maintenece or upkeep yourself. But you discover the hood is completely locked and can only be opened at a certified repair place/dealership. Would that really matter? Would you not be outraged or at least a little alarmed? And don’t try and say “well that’s different” because it’s not. You’ve paid for a device, you should be able to do what you want with/to it. It’s a matter of principle, folks. And locked bootloaders do not encompass the open and free spirit of Google’s Android OS.

      • Anonymous

        I wasn’t trying to get into any merits of why’s and do’s etc.  I was only asking because my wife loves my Eee Pad transformer and wants a Tablet so she’s been eyeing this one and I know she would have no desire to every want to root it.

        that’s they only reason why I’m asking.

      • wsnydes

        while i agree with your example, if you don’t care if its locked or not then there is no principle in which to stand on.  it simply doesn’t matter to you.

      • Anonymous

        But as to his original question, if you have no intention of hacking the device, an unlocked bootloader isn’t even a consideration. Believe it or not, not all people require a custom ROM to get what they want out of a device.

      • Anonymous

        Having nothing to do with the topic at hand. New Mercedes Benz automobiles do not come with a dipstick, a tyranny stick, a drain plug, nor a port to add any of the aforementioned fluids. They do not want owners screwing up their cars. Lucky for me, my mother manages a Benz shop.

        • wsnydes

          so how does the shop add/change these fluids if there is no port to do so?

          • Anonymous

            I guess there is a port, just not a big fill hole like most are accustomed to seeing. You syphon the oil out through a hidden dipstick hole. Put new oil in the same way.

            Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless

            —–Original message—–

      • Binglut9

        it isnt the same…your not spending thousands of dollars on a phone and you can modify a car without giving up warranties etc

        • Sirx

          *SIGGHHH*

          Yes it is, and if you add the right rims/tires to your car, you WILL, in fact, void the warranty on it. 

      • Sirx

        Thank you for so aptly illustrating the principle here.  Kudos!

      • Anonymous

        Actually, I have relatives that would be OK with this as they’ve never opened the hood on their own car in their lives; in fact, they wouldn’t even know it was locked.

    • Raven

      I do not have that much concern with locking the bootloader if the device is easily rootable, but most are not. I have no interest in replacing the ROM, but I do need root access for legitimate reasons, and that is what so many people do not understand.  It is not “hacking” the device, it is using it to its fullest potential with things like the following:
      Titanium Backup – still an essential app.  Makes ASUS Backup look like a joke.  Not only do I use it simply for backup, but also for keeping my 3 different rooted Android devices in sync.
      Autostarts – removes unwanted apps from starting at boot improving boot time and time to usability by avoiding the initial load crush by everything trying to run at once.
      SonicWall NetExtender – legitimate app used to get through my company’s firewall to remote desktop to my PC at work and run my late night upgrades that requires root.
      Also, the ability to edit my hosts file to work with my home network and web servers is also very handy and can only be done when rooted.

  • Anonymous

    It’s really a shame. Asus was shaping up to be an exciting player in the Android arena, between the transformer series and the padphone.

  • Anonymous

    Is there primary concern overclocking burning out the processor or something? It seems to always go back to warranties.

  • http://Twitter.com/eggoespada Eric Gonzalez

    I get that, I really do. But ASUS, is it really your place to make this decision for consumers? If they want to mess up their device or use it for what it wasn’t designed for — let them be. Their warranty is voided and it becomes their problem.

    • Anonymous

      But its the many people that fight them after they void there warranty. I have seen threads, comments and posts about how to make a phone stock after killing it with rooting and sending them back for warranty replacement. Its that action that made them lock down things.

      Its a fail safe for them and a massive downside for us.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly. People abusing the system and then wondering why policies are put in place to restrict that abuse. It’s not rocket science.

        • Anonymous

          The problem is that the people who want to abuse the system will figure out a workaround to still abuse the system while the regular folks will be left stranded.

          This is the same argument for DRM. It only temporarily hampers the pirates and forever hassles the users who bought the content legally.

          • Stating El Obvious

            Comparing this to DRM is stupid.  The “regular folks” could give two shits about unlocked bootloaders.

          • Anonymous

            If you asked “regular folks” about DRM 5 years ago, they wouldn’t know what you’re talking about. But they probably would’ve been aware that they were unable to move music, but if unlocked bootloaders was the norm, it would make the process of running new ROMs easier, and more likely to be done by the “regular folks”

          • Stating El Obvious

            Doubtful.  Copying music and running a custom ROM are two wholly and fundamentally different things.  TO even compare them is laughable.  “Regular folks”, unlike what you sheep here think, don’t give a shit about hacking their devices so some basement dev can buy beer on Saturday night.  

          • Stating El Obvious

            I’m sorry, unlike what you android sheep think, “regular folks” have no interest in these things.  That’s why it’s the same 10 losers who spam every company who does things like this.

          • Anonymous

            I guess you’re able to speak for the millions of “regular folks” better than anyone else.

            To “assume” that making the Rom loading process easier wouldn’t lead to many more “regular folks” exploring the ROM world is making a big assumption.

            You see how I was able to make an argument without calling you any names?

        • Anonymous

          The policy put in place is the voiding of warranty. What the hell is this for?

          • Anonymous

            If you had read the original comment, you’d see that the abuse of the system is people bricking their device and still finding a workaround to the voiding of the warranty.

          • Anonymous

            That’s ridiculous. I’m to busy to read.

        • Stating El Obvious

          Precisely.  The morons who destroy their device because they want to “hack” it, then complain to Asus and make them give them a new device.  Android users are idiots sometimes.  Warranty/Insurance Fraud being one of the cases.

      • wsnydes

        as usual, its the few that ruin for the many.

      • Anonymous

        I still don’t see how hard it is to just give people the key and make them register their device so that Asus can not be held responsible.

        Coming from the Droid I really don’t remember a case where someone actually bricked their phone or broke it using something from root. I bet you at least 10x the people try to get water damaged devices by companies then people who return phones that were broke for reasons caused by root.

        And on that note. If 1% of the users root, we assume half of them are dumb, and we assume half of the dumb people break their phone and try to pass it off on the manufacturer that is only 0.25% of the people returning the device for problems caused by root.

        • Anonymous

          I agree with you wholeheartedly (as an OG Droid owner, I also recall that thing was essentially unbrickable), but your numbers are off. 0.25% of, say, a million devices is still 2500 units. That’s a lot of cheddar. I imagine, though, that the real numbers are quite a bit lower. I would say, anecdotally, less than 5% of the people who root have issues that lead to a manufacturer’s replacement, and probably less than 1% of users actually root and ROM (could be wrong on these, of course). If we assume 0.5% of the people root, and 4% of those return their tabs, that’s only 200 units. Hardly worth worrying about, if what they say is true.

          I bet it’s actually DRM crap.

  • Anonymous

    Whoever translated that needs to learn how to write.

    • http://Twitter.com/eggoespada Eric Gonzalez

      They probably just used a translation program. Languages never translate perfectly.

      • Mikedeamicis

        for those who don’t get it. about the translation. Google Translate is googles translation app available on all android phones and tablets. speech and text translation software in a bunch of languages. could possible get you killed in a 3rd worls country though.

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t you read the text preceding the translation?

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I did. Thanks for asking.

    • Anonymous

      “Here it is (translated by Google):”

      Dunno if this statement is new or not, but there you have it.

    • Finire

      A computer translated that…

    • Anonymous

      That would be Google translate …..

    • Anonymous

      The below comments are kind of awkward. :s

  • http://www.joshbroton.com KillaPenguin

    Was considering buying one. Not anymore. 

    • Anonymous

      I agree. I can even understand more about carriers trying to lock “subsidized” phones, but locking a wifi only, unsubsidized device is ludicrous.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve got one and it’s an awesome device.  That, and ASUS says they are working on a solution to let you unlock your own bootloader.
      http://www.facebook.com/asusclub.tw?sk=wall 

      • Anonymous

        Here is the last paragraph of that Translated by google

        The bootloader function block, the main reason is that many publishers requested media services security mechanisms to protect digital content (DRM digital rights management); In addition, in view of past experience of the first generation of flat deformation, crack users themselves (Root), after the machine may result in damage to the machine can not even use, so ASUS Extreme deformation in the offset above with the bootloader encryption protection to support digital content while protecting video rental functionality and stability of the machine. However, the same time, ASUS has heard many users still want to improve the use of authority, to unlock the bootloader needs, so Asus is also actively developing an unlock code as soon as possible, will be released after completion of program development, to provide Professional players more freedom and open platform to enjoy the ultimate experience in lithography Extreme deformation. (Using the unlock code unlock the bootloader protection, some digital video rental service will be unavailable, the machine is not longer protected bootloader, so the user must first agree to waive the original warranty, please pay special attention to the impact of users) 

        • Stating El Obvious

          There’s nothing better then the experience in lithography extreme deformation

        • Anonymous

          Reading this makes me comfortable too. I’ll probably keep the Prime stock for 3 months to make sure nothing is wrong then root when there is some feature I just can’t live without.