Asus Transformer Prime Bootloader LOCKED!

We’d like to welcome our first guest writer, Andy Stetson, to Ritchie’s Room. Andy has been a frequent contributor to the comments section of the Transformer Prime articles, and when he offered to contribute more formally to the site after he received his Prime, we were very excited to have Andy on board. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of Andy’s articles in the future. In the meantime, Andy will be here to discuss and reply to your comments in the spirit of our website. Enjoy!

If you recently purchased the Asus Transformer Prime, and are eager to start loading some custom ROMs on it, grab a Snickers, because it may be a while. Some developers over at XDA have found the bootloader to be locked and encrypted with 128-bit AES Encryption.

What this means to the development community is that only firmware that has been signed by Asus will be able to be installed, that is until the bootloader is unlocked, or a backdoor has been found, like 2nd-Init for some Motorola devices. No overclocking, No Ubuntu, No possibility of Windows 8.

You may be asking, “What can we do about this?”. If you recall a while back, there was an uprising toward HTC for unlocked bootloaders, and it worked, as they now have a tool for unlocking bootloaders for all devices released since September, as well as a few older devices. Below are a few places where you can voice your opinion to Asus.

Sound off on their Facebook Wall
Assault with Tweets
Email Customer Support

And finally, Sign the “Asus: Unlock OUR Bootloader Transformer Prime” Petition

Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think!

Multiple Sources: Rootzwiki, AndroidPolice, Engadget, Gizmodo

Comments

  1. Reece says:

    @Peter

    I see no need for an attack on ASUS for voiding the warranty if a user chooses to root their device.

    It’s no different than installing another 2gb of ram into a notebook. This too will void your warranty. HOWEVER.

    It is stated that the warranty is void if the fault is caused by the alteration, and I believe that the same would go here.

    I have dealt with ASUS in the past when it comes to claims and service through my work and I would highly doubt that they would reject a service on a faulty switch or hardware piece if you have rooted the device and loaded a custom rom.

    With that said, I believe it to be common sense that if you were aware of such things and a piece of hardware did go faulty, simply unroot and restore to factory firmware and all will be good, no questions will be asked.

    ASUS are leading the way with tablets, as they should, they deserve the recognition they are finally getting, they have patiently been sitting in the background for years now making hardware for others to stick inside a box and put there name on it.

  2. yadin says:
  3. Peter Cupitt says:

    As an owner of the Transformer TF101, I found it’s GPS to work very satisfactorily and I would expect the Transformer Prime to work equally as well (Not better, just AS WELL). I do NOT like this voided warranty garbage they are coming out with and do NOT appreciate the threat of no Google video rentals since I can’t have them anyway (Living in Australia makes us bottom of the food chain). SO….. leave out the empty google threat and I see a company I have been appluading become quite a dissapointment. PERHAPS I’ll just wait for the next company to bring out a tablet with Quad core and 2Gb of ram with a WORKING GPS, a company that sells a product that I can do with as I please with out threats or excuses !!!!! My money can stay in my pocket just as well as it could sit in their bank ;-)

    Peter

    • Andy Stetson says:

      What they are coming out with is a known fact. Even rooting your phone (or tablet) will void your warranty. Point blank, it is what it is.

      As far as the bootloader goes, with most devices, Google Videos won’t work if your device is rooted, it’s just something you give up by rooting. This isn’t something done by Asus, that’s just how it is. There have been workarounds in the past for this, and there will probably be again.

      And not saying it’s the right thing to do at all, but there are ways to unroot and relock the bootloader, to return your device to a stock state, and essentially restore your warranty.

      Think about this, Asus originally locked out the bootloaders, which locked out development. By them putting out the unlock tool (like HTC), it is allowing development, to the extent of new kernels, or even running Ubuntu, or Windows 8 on your Prime.

      So what they put out aren’t threats, it’s just, how it is. Its the price you pay for rooting/unlocking your device.

      I’m happy to give my money to a company who supports development, albeit late. Remember this, they locked down the TF101 as well, it’s just that exploits were found for it by the Development community. And if you were one of the users to do this, it voided your warranty.

      The thing about this process, like HTC, is then your device [probably] goes into their system as being unlocked. But be rest assured, there will likely be devs taking the unlocker and cracking it so that it can be done without the tracking.

      • Peter Cupitt says:

        I hear what you are saying, but I tend to think there is a lack of trust in their hardware if it voids the warranty IF I use a different OS (which I wouldn’t anyway). Any OS only accesses the hardware to achieve a useable input/output for use by the user. What other OS or “flavour of Android is likely to harm the hardware?
        Part of my frustration is for Google too, the “warning” (see I didn’t call it a threat this time) that I could not then use Google movie downloads if I root my device is of absolutely no concern to anyone in Australia as we are Global Second Class Citizens and don’t have that option to begin with.
        ASUS as well as ALL the other manufacturers need to treat us all as customers not people whom they will allow to use their product in it’s original form in exchange for a “Sum of money”. Really, let me decide. If their original product is THAT good, then i won’t be likely to change it in the first place.
        I still love my Original Transformer even though it’s locked. Don’t get me wrong. It is just time for consumers to really be heard.

  4. Andy Stetson says:

    Since I can’t edit my posts yet, i’ll put this down here:

    ASUS made this announcement on their facebook page with regard to the recent update and ICS update as well as the GPS.

    “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 8.8.3.33, 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!”

    tl;dr: Bootloader unlocker coming, Not meant to be a professional GPS device, and ICS on January 12!

  5. Ritchie says:

    Andy, It looks as if your efforts have brought some results – Asus have announced they will be unlocking the bootloader along with the upgrade to ICS.
    Well done and a great example of a community action with real results.
    Ritchie