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Asus to Transformer Prime Owners: “Teach Me How to Dongle”

The GPS feature, or should I say lack thereof, for the Transformer Prime is finally going to be put to rest by Asus. After a few OTA update attempts to tweak the tabs software to communicate better with satellites, Asus is resorting to shipping out dongles for every registered Prime owner. Sounds awesome, right?

We will be releasing a dongle shortly that will address the GPS function and be a fully usable GPS that will lock onto many satellites and keep their lock with wi-fi active.

GPS dongle will be provided for free when it arrives. ETA is mid April for this and we are setting up a process for it. We will inform you once the process is complete and the dongles here.
It will look similar to the hinge from the dock. Where it will be a flush fit on the bottom of the unit if held in landscape matching the color of your Prime chassis.

The dongle will be a “flush fit” on the bottom of the device when in landscape mode, but there is no telling if you are still able to hook up the laptop dock while using the new hardware. According to the above email, it looks like we can expect the dongle this month. Big props to Asus for manning up and finally taking care of this issue.

Via: Engadget

  • Don.o

    I do a great deal of business travel, to locations around the U.S. I’ve never been to. I often use the GPS features of my Prime to locate places near me when it is time to get something to eat, or for sightseeing when I have the time. Unfortunately, I have to take the Prime outside for it to properly lock on to my position. Yes, I am annoyed by this but it really isn’t that big a deal for me. I have had dedicated navigational GPS units (TomTom/Garmin) for many years and most of them all require a clear view of the sky for them to properly lock on to the satellite positions. Even those units can lose my position when I’m driving in a downtown area with lots of tall buildings. I was in downtown Dallas very recently and the Garmin decided I was going backwards. The GPS signals are very weak and they don’t penetrate buildings made of concrete and steel. I’ve seen both the Garmin and TomTom 3D navigation display slowly spinning when it loses the GPS signals. I need to remember my next turn is just two blocks up or I’d be lost until the unit was able to regain the signal.
    Comparing the Prime to my Evo 4G phone, I can see a significant difference in each units ability to lock on to the GPS. There is enough of a difference that the dongle will be required to make up for it (though I don’t have it yet, so I can’t say for sure it will fix the issue). Very often I can be in a hotel and my phone can lock on to my position whereas the Prime has no clue.  I have been on the 2nd floor of a 10 story hotel and my phone had no issue locking on but the Prime could not. I live in the top floor of an apartment complex and the Prime still can’t pick up the signals through the ceiling and roof. My phone, it locks on almost instantly, usually 5 seconds or less and is precise to within 20ft or so (often dead on).
    I have a GPS Travel Recorder (made by Qstarz) and this thing can lock on to my GPS position almost anywhere. I use it to geo-tag all the photos I take with my DSLR.  Years ago, I had handheld GPS units that couldn’t even maintain my positon when I was outside in a grove of trees. While the technology has improved GPS signal reception, I am used to knowing that I may or may not be able to lock onto my position when I am indoors.

    Did I expect the Prime GPS to always work indoors? No. Do I use the Prime for in-car navigation? No. Should I expect the Prime’s GPS to be at least as good as the GPS on my phone? Yes. Does this issue give Asus a black-eye? Yes. Will I use the dongle when I receive it? Yes, i will probably test it but doubt I will carry it with me everywhere. I doubt I will be able to use the dock with the dongle attached and I leave the keyboard dock on all the time. I see no reason to detach it just to attach the dongle and obtain my GPS position. I can still use my phone to locate my position and any places I want to visit/see/eat at or photograph while I am traveling.

    • Don.o

      Additional note, I do have hopes the dongle will attach to the port on the keyboard dock. I might then keep it attached until I need to charge them.

  • Hyper67584

    Ok unlike some companies they are trying to address the hardware issues of their equipment and not just tuck tail and run or blame the consumer but I would rather have my tab working right from the go without having add dongles and whatnot. Will they halt further construction to add the correction to the hardware to eliminate the need of a dongle completely?

    I own a Toshiba thrive and I did look at the TP with a bit of “got to have it” but I am glad I held off.

    So yes it is good to see this issue being addressed but what is next or is that it?

  • yangyang266


  • gilmourd

    OK, so I looked at the Engadget link… It says “GPS Extension Kit Apply & Inquire”… I can’t seem to find said page myself. Anybody else see that?

  • harryharry

    I love my prime.  I see no situation where I would use GPS on it.  That’s what my phone or TomTom is for. 

    I had an iPad 1 and enjoy the experience on my Prime way more.  Fewer force closes, and I don’t miss anything app-wise.  Actually, I don’t miss anything about the iPad, period.

  • Ryan C

    To sign up go here: https://vip.asus.com/login.aspx

  • And Apple took how long to fix the Grip of Death? Asus at least admitted there was a problem, Apple’s response has been an exasperated “Fine, if you THINK you have a problem, here’s a rubber bumper that will isolate you from our fancy antenna…”

  • Chris G

    I would have said I don’t use my tablet for GPS before my last trip abroad.  Without a cell based data connection, GPS takes far too long to load on even my Galaxy Nexus.  So if this will give me a nice strong signal quickly, I don’t mind pulling it out of my pocket in certain situations where I need a GPS walking around a city.  Of course the precache is too small to be very effective for driving.

    Looking forward to the update and improved performance from a device that has not let me down much yet.

  • William Lassen

    I’m still a bit confused as to what you guys are even using your Prime’s GPS for. I’ve had my Prime for 3 months and used its GPS approximately never, since it has WiFi only (there’s no 3G version). I’m not going to go navigate in my car with it, since it doesn’t work with no internet.

    GPS seems to me to be a non-feature of these tablets. If it needs location for something, it usually gets a perfectly decent one from Google Location Services based on the current wifi access point anyway.

    • Hans

      you can use an offline gps app like navigon or something.

      • MKader17

        You can also load your navigation before you leave and the GPS will follow it the entire trip.

  • Azndan4

    Crappy song

  • Transformer

    They better send them out to the TF101 owners as well. We were the ones shafted big time by ASUS. Not to mention the other numerous amount of problems with the TF101. Pay attention ASUS, TF101 owners are requesting this as well!

    • AlexKCMO

      Troll alert.

  • how do i register mine?

    • That’s what I was wondering.  How do I make sure I am registered properly?

    • Andilicious217

      Here is where I went to register mine: http://goo.gl/vFLVk

  • Splat

    I really hope Asus isn’t making the Nexus tablet.

    • I really hope they do.

    • Justin

      I hope they don’t either. I was excited about the Nexus tablet until the news about Asus making it. So many blind followers on here. Why defend a defective product. By the way, the first Transformer has WiFi and GPS issues too. I doubt Google can fix the hardware problems an Asus built tablet will have.

      • shnickburton

        Asus has been around for a long time young guns. I have bought many satisfying products from them along with my tablet. I am certainly not a blind follower.

        • DanKemple

           Honestly ASUS did screw the pooch with the GPS issue on the TF201. I would have to assume Google will test at least a few of these devices if they are putting their name on it. Also ASUS definitely has the best specs and styling of any Android tab out there. Plus I love the dock option making it virtually a laptop/tab. IF (and that is a big IF) ASUS has worked out the tablet QC issues and really tests the tablet, they have shown they know how to innovate and stay current/ahead. I’d be looking forward to it.

          • Noyfb

            Who else has good hardware to make a nexus tablet? Why can’t google just take motorola hardware and put google software on it? 

          • DanKemple

             Thing is design and components wise ASUS is better than Motorola.

  • EC8CH

    Was that a “Teach Me How to Dougie” joke?

  • Btrbver2

    MNever had a problem with mine…

  • don’t use my tablet for gps. i only need one disembodied female voice telling me where to go, and my car already has that.

  • Spartan

    Big props to Asus? Seriously? More like epic fail in their engineering and QA. Nobody checked the gps function before mass producing this thing?

    A few not working properly, i can understand. But enough to warrant a dongle is just embarrassing.

    • At least they did more than tell users they were holding it wrong.

      • FortitudineVincimus

        I guess you forget how they started to sneakily remove all GPS mentions from websites and product info and also removed the quick access GPS button in an update.

        they screwed the pooch on this big time.

    • No, what is embarrassing is saying you are holding it wrong and offer a free bumper.  The first step to fixing an problem is to admit you have a problem. Then fix it.

      • GotSka81

         To play devil’s advocate, the first step to fixing a problem is to not allow it to happen in the first place.  I give Asus credit for doing everything they can to fix the issue they created, but Spartan has a point…an issue of this measure should never occur in the first place.

        • You comment made no sense. How can the first step to fixing a problem not allow a problem to happen? Then there is no problem.  Just like the new iPad shouldn’t have WiFi issues, should charge correctly, shouldn’t heat up, this that etc. But it does, and I am a proud owner of a Transformer Prime. I have never used GPS in a tablet ever, and didn’t buy it for that reason. Wifi works fine for me, and I can’t complain.  No product will be perfect, and there will always be flaws, no matter how long you take perfecting a product.

          • GotSka81

            Lol…that’s my point entirely.  I will agree that bugs and small issues will slip through, but for a function of the tablet to not function at all is a pretty big problem.  Its also not one that appears over time…from what I understand it has never worked for the bulk of the Primes.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Prime is a piece of crap (it’s one of my favorite tablets out right now), but I am saying that it appears Asus rushed the product to production before it was ready.

          • I wont disagree with you that is was rushed, but I have had it since Dec and I have had no WiFi issues. It can’t be all the Primes is some worked and some didn’t. The majority of the bad batch did though out way the good, but at least ASUS is fixing it.

          • GotSka81

            The problem in this situation isn’t the Wifi (which I have heard doesn’t work very well either), it’s the GPS functionality.  From my understanding, poor physical placement of the chip inside the unit causes the GPS signal to be extremely slow to get a lock, if at all.  This is a design flaw, and I personally find it unacceptable (as I do with any manufacturer) that something so flagrant would go unnoticed.  To be fair, yes, they are fixing it (HUGE credit there), and yes they did withdraw any mention of GPS functionality from advertising…but the fact remains that this massive issue slipped through because of poor management of the project and/or QA.

      • Lamar

         Okay, we get it. You don’t like Apple and yes the antenna issue was handled very badly. Spartan isn’t talking about Apple though.

        So going back to the topic, Asus still sucks at making an Android tablet. The first transformer had WiFi and GPS issues (no fix still) and the second Transformer also has WiFi and GPS issues.

        • I dont hate Apple. I own almost every Apple product you can at the moment. Your comment is kinda funny actually.

          ASUS is fantastic at making them. Have you seen the XOOM, then seen the Transformer Prime? The difference is night and day.  Not only in design, but in performance.

          And guess what? The iPad 1 has Wifi issues, iPad 2 has Wifi issues, and if you can guess where I am going with this, the iPad 3 has Wifi issues. So, Apple sucks at making iOS tablets then I guess right?

          • CoryDobak

            Please, get your unbiased, fact toting ass out of here.

            We don’t do well with facts’n’stuff.

          • I loled. 😀

          • K.C

            What a bunch of biased bull Sh**, there are no problems with the wi-fi ion the iPad, only a few being reported with the new ver 3.


          • You do not share my opinion therefore you are an idiot. Is this what they call Troll Science?

  • Jinesh Patel

    So glad I sold mine before the resale value went down the drain. It was a great tablet but with two major flaws. Off to get the iPad….

    • ApplesNAndroids

      You really won’t regret it. I sold my XOOM for a new iPad.
      a lot of tablet ready applications. Makes for a great experience.

      • Logan_jinx

        That’s the only thing that prevents me from making the jump to android on a tablet basis. I have a first gen iPad, and aside from it only having 256mb of ram, it really runs really well after two years of heavy use. The apps are the only thing that really concers me about android tablets. After seeing a few tablets getting upgraded to ICS a lot of my original cores that I had with honeycomb have been eliminated. ICS is an amazing tablet OS. I may probably be able to commit to an android tablet after google announces their new nexus tab this summer

        • ApplesNAndroids

          And if you do decide to go the Google route, if you absolutely wanted to you could still sell your first Gen iPad for a decent junk that would likely pay for your new Google tablet. I got a great deal on my 3rd Gen iPad, so i couldn’t pass it up. Good luck with your endeavours. Cheers!

      • Jinesh Patel

        I know. Android has its strengths but tablets are not one of them. At least not yet. Unless you think Kindle fire is a tablet and not just a glorified e reader. 

      • Ajbrosentertainment

        I own the iPad and I hate it. For one thing all the apps are expensive, and I have to pay 10 dollars just to get it to work with my printer. I don’t understand how people can say that this thing will replace a computer. It can’t do a lot of things a computer can.

        • ApplesNAndroids

          I don’t know what type of printer you have but mine worked out of the box with my HP.
          also, the apps do tend to be a bit pricier but they are all quality applications. You don’t see much of the same on android tablets, or largely with android in general and I like my razr quite a bit.

          • andrew z

            So because Android doesn’t have good Tablet Apps, the high prices that you pay for Tablet Apps with the iPad are justified…?

            Just like how our education system is so great in America; spending more money per child than any other country justifies our incredibly mediocre ranking alongside some 2nd-world nations. 

            Your reasoning makes sense. Totally.

    • Bigsike

      Have fun with that lol

      • Jinesh Patel

        Thank. I will have fun using apps that are actually tablet optimized. 

        • Fry me some eggs after using the iPad for an hour. The back gets pretty warm.

          • William

            How much of a idiot are you, it’s been proven that the iPad 3 is even less warm then most Android tablets.

            Love the virtual spin you put up, you fantasy land is going to really upset you when reality sets in chief.

        • mons

          Enjoy the apps that aren’t optimized for tablets and can’t scale.

          • Ajbrosentertainment

            Enjoy paying 10 dollars for an app that is free on Android.

    • You gay bro?

    • Down the drain? You know they are going for $499 and up on eBay, some used…..?

    • I’ll throw in my .02 for the opposite. Just a short example list here.

      I have a ipad2 and its just OK. I wouldn’t say apps are better and anything that isn’t iPad optimized(quite a bit of actual useful apps arent contrary to what some people want you to believe) appears in a small iPhone size square in the center of the screen, where on android it scales and you might not know it isn’t optimized for a tablet if nobody told you. Force closes are just as prevelant(less acceptable on iOS IMO because they have so few devices to make compatible). Apps are more expensive for seemingly no reason. You’d have to buy all your apps again(downside for some, annoyance for others.)

    • Robsmith Nikon

      I gave up on the idea of an Android tablet and bought the new iPad. Very satisfied. If apple would get rid of the garbage that is iTunes I would be 100% happy. I love my android phone… But my original Motorola droid runs like crap and my iPhone 3 runs like a champ. Apples stuff seems to stay pretty stable… So the limitations of apple stuff does seem to come with an upside.

  • Lacockanostra

    Yay! This is why I want them to make a phone on Verizon.

  • FortitudineVincimus

    I got your dongle right here…

  • Droidzilla

    You know what they say about the size of your dongle . . . 

    It has no direct relationship between size and your GPS reception. Get your minds out of the gutter.