updated 12:00 pm EST, Tue January 3, 2012
ASUS Transformer Prime gets Android 4 timetable
ASUS posted word of a definitive timetable for the Android 4.0 upgrade on the Transformer Prime. The over-the-air update will be ready worldwide starting from January 12. ASUS hasn't said how quickly it expects the updates to finish, or if owners can push the update manually.
Simultaneously, ASUS also explained its decision to lock the bootloader. ASUS wanted the lock in place to support Google's copy protection and allow its YouTube movie service to play. It was also concerned that root access would "break the system completely."
An unlock tool was coming, ASUS promised. However, it would both void the warranty and likely break YouTube movies. No schedule was given for when the tool would arrive.
The unlock comes after a concerted campaign from users angry that ASUS had locked down the Prime. Despite not being attached to a carrier, the tablet is one of the few completely clamped down. Tablets like the Motorola Xoom shipped with unlocked bootloaders and let users load their own firmware or apps that wouldn't otherwise run in Android.
In the meantime, an 18.104.22.168 update would take on some of the camera focus speed issues, touch responsiveness, and app install issues. GPS issues might not be fixed in the near future; the metal unibody shell made truly high-performance GPS difficult, ASUS said. It removed the GPS claims from the product page to avoid setting expectations from those who might want to depend on positioning.