Nothing stirs the wrath of Android geeks more than a locked bootloader it seems. Following the revelation that Asus was planning on locking down the Transformer Prime bootloader yesterday, the company has changed tack, announcing that it is working on a bootloader unlocking tool.
It comes with a catch, of course - using the tool will void the Asus warranty and also stop American customers from accessing Google video rentals. Asus took to its Facebook page to announce the tool, as well as the promise that the tablet will get an Ice Cream Sandwich update on January 12. The full statement is below.
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 126.96.36.199, 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!
I'm sure this will make a small but vocal community happy...