Asus' Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the world's first Nvidia quad-core Kal-El tablet. It will also be one of the first tablets to get Google's new Android operating system — Ice Cream Sandwich. Follow on below for the entire story of this much anticipated tablet.
Android 4.0 coming to Asus Transformer Prime on January 12th, bootloader unlock tool to follow
It's been a big week for the Eee Pad Transformer Prime — Asus released yet another firmware update for the tablet, and now we have official confirmation that Android 4.0 will be coming starting on January 12th. Asus made this announcement on its Facebook page alongside news that it will be providing owners with a bootloader unlocking tool. The presence of a locked bootloader had been a major point of contention for users since it was discovered a few days ago, so it's good to see Asus responding so quickly. The company noted the lock was in place to enable Google video rentals, and that users will have voided their warranty and be unable to rent videos if they use the bootloader unlocker.Read Article >
Asus also addressed the GPS issues that some owners have been dealing with, noting that the Transformer Prime's metallic unibody was contributing to problems with signal lock-on. The company stressed that the tablet "is not a professional GPS device" and that it won't be highlighting GPS capabilities in marketing and specification sheets going forward. Unfortunately for those who already picked up the tablet, it sounds like today's firmware might not make much of a difference in the Transformer Prime's poor GPS reception after all.
Asus pushes out another Transformer Prime firmware update to fix GPS troubles
We've really enjoyed our time with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, but it seems some users haven't been so lucky. GPS lock-on has been confirmed as suspect, and while Asus released a firmware update last week to improve stability, there's another over-the-air patch making the rounds. This update to build 126.96.36.199 purports to "enhance GPS speed" by automatically downloading satellite locations tables over Wi-Fi; other changes include improved touch response and better camera focusing (an issue we took note with in our review). Strangely enough, the details for this firmware only appear to be posted on Asus's Germany Facebook page; the support page for the Transformer Prime only has the previous update (188.8.131.52) available. We expect that'll change soon, but in the meantime we'll be updating our Transformer Prime to see if we have the update and if the GPS lock-on and other issues have been improved. We'll report back with what we find right here — stay tuned.Read Article >
Update: Firmware 184.108.40.206 downloaded and installed on our Transformer Prime without a hitch, and the camera focus was indeed significantly improved. GPS lock-on was a bit of a mixed bag, though — it locked onto a GPS quicker than our Galaxy Nexus in one test, but in another the Galaxy Nexus locked on to six of eight satellites, while the Prime only managed one or two out of five. Overall, despite continued GPS issues, this firmware update seems to be worth installing.
Jan 2, 2012
Asus Transformer Prime bootloader is locked, say xda devs
As if Asus didn't have enough software headaches with the Transformer Prime already, it's now added one entirely of its own making: an angry homebrew community that has just discovered that the Prime's bootloader is encrypted. A 128-bit encryption key stands between eager Prime modders and the ability to load custom ROMs of their own, which has been greeted with an understandable mix of disgust and frustration.Read Article >
HTC was the most recent other company to dabble with encryption-locked bootloaders, which incited enough of a customer backlash for CEO Peter Chou to personally reverse course and promise that bootloaders on all recent HTC phones would be set free. Inspired by that course of events, there's now a thread on the xda-developers forum advocating a similar strategy be adopted with Asus, urging current and potential owners of the quad-core Eee Pad to take to the social media soapbox and decry Asus's decision.
Dec 19, 2011
Asus Transformer Prime now shipping from some retailers
After many rumors that the Transformer Prime was delayed, Asus assured us that the quad-core Tegra 3 tablet would start shipping this week. It looks like the company stuck to its word. We've heard from a tipster (thanks, Ben!) that Amazon has started shipping the quad-core Tegra 3 tablet to those who pre-ordered the device, and there's also news that TigerDirect Canada is shipping it out as well. However, there are also reports coming in that Best Buy has delayed its pre-orders by one to two weeks, and we've reached out to Asus for comment. We'll let you know when we hear more, but in the meantime be sure to check out our review.Read Article >
Update: We've received Asus' statement:
Dec 16, 2011
Eee Pad Transformer Prime UK pre-order begins today at £499, includes keyboard dock
Asus has just informed us that the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, its latest and arguably Android's best tablet to date, will be going up for pre-order in the UK starting today. Currys, HMV, PC World, Carphone Warehouse, Ebuyer, and even Tesco.com will be ready to take your order in exchange for £499. Yes, that price includes the keyboard dock as well! The actual release date has been left strategically off the press release, but Asus expects to be shipping these pre-orders out in January and also makes a solemn promise to soon deliver Android 4 to the Prime via an over-the-air update.Read Article >
In the UK, the Transformer Prime will come with 32GB of storage plus microSD expandability and 8GB of cloud storage. No mention is made of any other SKUs, such as ones with 3G or without the transformational laptop dock, so for now we'll have to assume that this is the only option Asus will offer.
Dec 1, 2011
Asus Transformer Prime US release date official: Dec. 12 online, Dec. 19 retail
Although earlier rumors had pegged US availability for the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime a bit sooner, Asus has let us know that it expects US online availability for the tablet beginning on December 12th and December 19th for brick-and-mortar stores. Those release dates could change slightly depending on how many pre-orders Asus needs to fill first, but it looks like a sure bet you'll be able to pick one up before the year is out. Unfortunately, there's no word yet on when the 3G models will arrive in the US.Read Article >
Pricing will be $499 for the 32GB version and $599 for the 64GB version, with an extra $149 on top if add in the keyboard dock. Curious to know whether this 10.1-inch, quad-core, Android 3.2 tablet is worth that much money? Look no further than our comprehensive review of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. You can also check out Asus' promotional video for the tablet below.
Dec 1, 2011
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime review
What does a laptop in the post-PC era look like? Is it an ultrabook with familiar internals and software in a dramatically slimmed-down shell? Or is it possible to use a modern mobile OS like Android, energy-efficient chips, and build something that bridges the gap between the portability of a tablet and the power of a laptop? Leave it to two companies with deep roots in the PC industry — Asus and Nvidia — to take a stab at that question with the Eee Pad Transformer Prime. It’s the world’s first quad-core Tegra 3 tablet, and not only does it have double the power of today’s dual-core ARM processors, but like the original Transformer, it's available with a keyboard dock that transforms the tablet into a more traditional laptop. On top of that, the $499 device (with 32GB of storage) has been slimmed down from its predecessor and given both an 8-megapixel camera and a brand new SuperIPS+ display. You can see why the package sounds like the perfect blend of tablet and laptop, but is it? Do the added cores enhance the user experience? And as a tablet, is it primed to take on the iPad — the frontrunner in this post-PC competition? Those are big questions, all of which will be answered in the review below.Read Article >
Nov 22, 2011
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime with Ice Cream Sandwich teased in a short videoRead Article >
You know what can top a homemade, out-of-focus video of Ice Cream Sandwich running on Asus' old Eee Pad Transformer? An official video of ICS running on Asus' new Eee Pad Transformer Prime. Nvidia has just released a polished (yet insanely short) video of the new quad-core Tegra 3 tablet running Android 4.0. While the tablet won't launch with the OS in early December — shipping units will boot up Android 3.2 — Asus has promised an ICS helping before the end of the year. And it looks like it's going to be well worth that short wait. Of course, the demo is very staged and only a few things are shown, including a five second look at a game called Riptide which uses all four cores, but from what we can see everything runs insanely smooth. On top of that, some of the new ICS features — creating folders, etc. — look quite useful on the big screen. We could go on and on about this, but we will let you get to the video below while we try and track one of these down to do a proper video hands-on.
Nov 22, 2011
Transformer Prime available for pre-order on CDW for $536.99 (update: Amazon and other retailers, too!)
Last time we checked our calendar, early December was right around the corner, which means one thing for us Android tablet lovers: Transformer Prime time. While we still don't have an official release date from Asus, signs are finally starting to point to the impending arrival of the world's first quad-core tablet. CDW has the 32GB version of the Honeycomb tablet up for pre-order at $536.99 (slightly more than the previously reported $499) and our tipster was told by the retailer that it would ship in 10 days. Additionally, last week we saw the tablet quickly listed on Amazon (see below) and pulled within the hour. Now we realize those aren't exactly release date confirmations, but it certainly looks like a number of retailers are getting ready to stock up on some thin 10.1-inch tablets and keyboard docks. Hit the source link below for the CDW pre-order and stay tuned as we try and dig up the official shipping date.Read Article >
Update: Look what just reappeared on Amazon. You can still pre-order,
but note that these are listed as temporarily out of stock.Asus has also chimed in on the retailers taking pre-orders — B & H, Best Buy, GameStop, and Tiger Direct in the US, and Future Shop and NCIX in Canada should all have the Prime up for order now.
Nov 9, 2011
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: the first quad-core Tegra 3 tablet arrives in early December for $499
Obviously, the biggest change comes on the inside. The tablet is the first to have Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 processor (formerly known as Kal El), and while we have tons of details on that right here, the most important thing you need to know is that it promises five times the performance of Tegra 2. But that extra power doesn't mean extra weight or a hit on battery life, in fact it means the opposite. The tablet has been significantly slimmed down to .33 inches (8.3mm) and it's said to last 12 hours on a charge. Not to mention, with the keyboard dock's 22Wh battery attached, Asus is claiming 18 hours.Read Article >
Beyond that, it has jazzed up a lot of the exterior hardware. In addition to a new Zenbook-like design, which is coated in hydro-oleophobic coating to prevent fingerprint smudges, Asus has added an 8-megapixel camera with a flash and a back-illuminated CMOS sensor. To boot, Asus claims its new 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800-resolution Super IPS+ display has been improved for outdoor viewing and that new SonicMaster Technology significantly improves speaker quality.
Nov 9, 2011
Nvidia Tegra 3 official: a 1.3GHz quad-core chip with five times the performance of Tegra 2Read Article >
Tegra 3 promises to quintuple the performance of Tegra 2 with its four-core Cortex A9 arrangement while also tripling its graphical capabilities with a new 12-core graphics processor. That's a great deal of power for when you need it, but Nvidia has also added a fifth, low-power "companion core," whose role will be to keep things running during standby and other low-intensity modes. That core reaches a maximum speed of 500MHz and can take care of lightweight tasks like audio streaming and some forms of video playback. Anything more demanding than that will kick in the first of the more powerful cores, which can run at speeds of up to 1.4GHz by itself, with dual-core and quad-core modes, each topping out at 1.3GHz, kicking in depending on workload.
Nov 2, 2011
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime hits the FCC
There are very few surprises left about Asus' Transformer Prime — at least on the hardware front — but that doesn't make its FCC passing any less exciting. Indeed, the first tablet to have Nvidia's quad-core Kal-El processor is making its way through the regulatory stomping grounds just ahead of its November 9th launch date. Besides the back cover diagram (pictured above), the documents don't reveal much, unless you consider the presence of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to be shocking. We know it isn't much, but hey, at least we know it's headed here very soon. Now we just need that pricing confirmed, Asus.Read Article >
Update: Wireless Goodness dug up some shots of the Prime's innards. They don't seem to be on the FCC site anymore, but you can check them out here.
Oct 27, 2011
Asus Transformer Prime pictures surface
The images also don't clue us in about whether or not it will run Ice Cream Sandwich, but the November 9th release date may just beat the Galaxy Nexus to market, so our best guess is that it will launch on Honeycomb. Asus Chairman Jonney Shih did say he expects Ice Cream Sandwich to hit tablets by the end of the year, let's hope that the Transformer Prime makes the cut in short order.Read Article >
Find another image below and a couple more at the source link.
Oct 20, 2011
Asus' Jonney Shih announces Transformer Prime tablet, coming November 9th with Tegra 3Read Article >
Wondering about the whereabouts of the Eee Pad Transformer 2? It's right there in Asus Chairman Jonney Shih's hands -- except we're hearing it's called the Transformer Prime. (Hasbro might have something to say about that.) Shih took the stage this morning at Asia D to talk about the company's direction and brought along a suitcase with its new quad-core Nvidia Kal-El tablet inside. Like its predecessor, the Transformer 2 has a 10-inch screen and keyboard dock, but this slate measures just 8.3mm thick, and sports USB and mini-HDMI ports, an SD slot and a 14.5-hour battery. Shih said it will be arriving on November 9th, though he didn't specify it would be launching with ICS. That said, he did say that he expects ICS to hit tablets before the end of the year. Check out the gallery after the break as well as Asus' teaser video and the AsiaD recap. In the meantime, we will be trying our hardest over here to get a hands-on with that slim looking tablet.