Google Android and Asus Transformer Prime: Getting Bootloader Unlock, Jan 12 Android ICS Release

Asus responds quickly to modder ire and announces an Android 4.0 upgrade for its hot tablet, due January 12. But will it satisfy? Exec editor Eric Mack examines the issue in this news analysis piece. What are you hearing?

Transformer Prime

Transformer Prime

The Asus Transformer Prime is free. And it turns out it didn’t take much to loosen the shackles from this tablet’s well-reviewed tablet’s bootloader. It is also soon to get an upgrade to Google Android 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich on Jan 12, Asus reps say.

Word broke xda developers forum that just a 128-bit encryption key stands in between would-be modders and the customized Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime of their dreams.

Quite the party foul from the maker of one of the few celebrated Android tablets that some consumers actually seem excited about paying $500 for. A few hours later, Asus did a hasty aboutface on its Facebook page regarding why the bootloader issue in general.

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.

Translation: Google made us do it. But, whatever, you kids, just try not to break anything and stay out of the movie collection…”

In the same post, Asus announced that the tablet will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich starting January 12th.

I am hoping the upgrade will be good enough that there will be no need for modding or ROM flashing, but modders will need this device open. Let me know what you think as this story develops.