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Transformer Prime To Get ICS On January 12, Boot Unlocker Coming

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the more-than-meets-the-eye dept.

Android 168

symbolset writes "ASUS, maker of the popular Transformer Prime Tegra 3 tablet, announced via their Facebook page that Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will be available January 12th. In addition they are developing a boot unlocker which will void the warranty and break Google movie rentals, but will allow modding. They said, '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.' They also announced an intermediate software update to improve the camera and touch experience, and they're dropping GPS from the feature list for poor performance." Another article argues that the Transformer Prime is an example of ASUS struggling while breaking into a new market.

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168 comments

Paging SharkLaser (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581230)

Shame on you SharkLaser [slashdot.org] for not getting top post on a Google related article. What do you think you are paid for? Your weekly wage will now be reduce from $1.98 to $1.78.

Sincerely,

Your boss at marketing firm.

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (4, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581248)

Under that they have to prove that the 3rd party software broke the phone. Just in a car they can't just you put in a 3rd party radio in and say the engine warranty is void.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (4, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581264)

Under that they have to prove that the 3rd party software broke the phone. Just in a car they can't just you put in a 3rd party radio in and say the engine warranty is void.

The radio doesn't control the engine though, so obviously replacing the radio isn't going to void the engine warranty.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (3, Informative)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581342)

It all goes back to a law enacted in the 1970s that allows you, the automobile owner, the freedom to choose where and by whom you have your car serviced, all without voiding the car's warranty. So replace CAR serviced with source for apps. As under that law you can go to jiffy lube or any other place for a oil change and not be forced to go to the dealer.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (1, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581352)

I'm not saying your point is false, I'm pointing out that your analogy is false.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581374)

And yet the car companies have found ways around this.

One way was, they went to the reporting computers, but refused to release (even for a proper market rate cost) specs and reading programs that would allow the 3rd party service companies to interact with them. So when the 60,000 mile "service engine soon" lie-light came on, if you wanted it to go off, you HAD to pay the dealership a $100 "analysis fee."

Another way is how Volkswagen works. They simply refuse to sell parts to the 3rd party market, anywhere, and maintain control of certain things (brake pads in the 2008 Rabbit come to mind) with sensor chips "protected by copyright."

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (4, Interesting)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581600)

Replacing the firmware in a car can cause mechanical failure though, perhaps by causing a transmission to shift gears at the wrong time and strip a gear or making the engine rev too high. Replacing the firmware in a phone isn't going to make an antenna melt or crack the screen. If a hardware component fails that can't be due to a programming error, they shouldn't be able to get out of it by saying "the phone was unlocked".

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (5, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581656)

Replacing the firmware in a phone isn't going to make an antenna melt or crack the screen. If a hardware component fails that can't be due to a programming error, they shouldn't be able to get out of it by saying "the phone was unlocked".

Cracked screens aren't usually covered under warranty, but firmware can damage components by forcing frequencies that are not supported by those components, overcharging batteries, etc... Mind you Apple said they wouldn't cover jailbroken devices under warranty but in many cases they still did. So there's probably a good chance that if it's something highly unlikely to have been damaged by firmware they'll still likely cover it, but if you've bricked it you're probably SOL.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582030)

Cracked screens aren't usually covered under warranty, but firmware can damage components by forcing frequencies that are not supported by those components, overcharging batteries, etc... Mind you Apple said they wouldn't cover jailbroken devices under warranty but in many cases they still did. So there's probably a good chance that if it's something highly unlikely to have been damaged by firmware they'll still likely cover it, but if you've bricked it you're probably SOL.

That's because it's trivially easy to undo a jailbreak - you just put the phone in DFU mode, and click "Restore" in iTunes. Voila, jailbreak wiped.

ASUS, HTC, they know when you unlock the bootloader because you visit their website and enter in the serial number (the unlocks are keyed to the devices). So just that act already invalidates the warranty.

If you push the issue, they can probably check the NVRAM and determine if you really did or didn't apply the unlock (the unlock changes some variables to allow the bootloader to boot unsigned binaries). In the case of the ASUS, it looks like it clears the DRM key fields as well which breaks Google Movies and can't be recovered by flashing an official image again.

(Archos does this - using their jailbreak erases all the DRM keys and disables DRM functions which cannot be restored even using official firmware).

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (0)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581852)

How is the firmware going to shift the transmission without the clutch and strip a gear?

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (2)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583070)

Most electro manual transmissions (DSG, PDK, etc) work by this principle. The user just tells the CPU that he wants to change gear and the firmware does the rest, canceling the request if it is invalid. By that principle a badly written firmware could do much more than just strip a gear. Also in general you don't need a clutch to change gear, you need it to change gear smoothly and non destructively.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (1)

Malvineous (1459757) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583094)

Replacing the firmware in a phone isn't going to make an antenna melt or crack the screen. If a hardware component fails that can't be due to a programming error, they shouldn't be able to get out of it by saying "the phone was unlocked".

And it was only the other day that Gigabyte released a firmware update [slashdot.org] (in the form of new BIOS code) which stopped some of their motherboards going up in smoke.

As much as I support firmware modders still being covered by the warranty, the fact is that if the firmware is controlling voltage regulators or other similar devices there really is a potential for replacement firmware to cause physical damage.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (2)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583314)

Replacing the firmware in a car can cause mechanical failure though, perhaps by causing a transmission to shift gears at the wrong time and strip a gear or making the engine rev too high.

That's what you get for driving an automatic.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (5, Funny)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581644)

The radio doesn't control the engine though, so obviously replacing the radio isn't going to void the engine warranty.

That's just not true, any self respecting slash doter would hook their cruise control up to the BPM counter of the Audio system. And then they would pre-calculate a play list which will result in the required speed trough out the planned route.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583084)

Nah, you hook up the GPS to the BPM counter so that the instructions chic can rap to "teh beatz". you hook up the EQ to the RPM limiter to keep the engine in the correct harmonics (wouldn't want engine noise ruin that rap would you?).

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (0)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583046)

Under that they have to prove that the 3rd party software broke the phone. Just in a car they can't just you put in a 3rd party radio in and say the engine warranty is void.

The radio doesn't control the engine though, so obviously replacing the radio isn't going to void the engine warranty.

What if the radio had rounded corners?

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (5, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581362)

if you want to use a car analogy, use one that fits.

If you flash the rom on your ECM and your car stops working, you've voided your warranty.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581402)

what if you flash the in car DVD system to region free they have to prove that broke the car.

Also they can't say you can only use shell gas and they said you got BP gas and that broke your car.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581420)

what if you flash the in car DVD system to region free they have to prove that broke the car.

If you then have a non-functioning in-car DVD system then that wouldn't be covered under warranty, if you then have a cracked head then clearly that has nothing to do with flashing the in-car DVD system so that would be covered under warranty.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581836)

You missed the parent's original point. It's obvious that your point is correct, but let's say if you flash the rom on your ECM and your car keeps on working fine, but develops a completely unrelated leaky roof. Your warranty on the roof should still be valid.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582018)

It's obvious that your point is correct, but let's say if you flash the rom on your ECM and your car keeps on working fine, but develops a completely unrelated leaky roof. Your warranty on the roof should still be valid.

And what situation for the Android tablet is that analogous to?

dead pixels, dead buttons etc. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582496)

It's obvious that your point is correct, but let's say if you flash the rom on your ECM and your car keeps on working fine, but develops a completely unrelated leaky roof. Your warranty on the roof should still be valid.

And what situation for the Android tablet is that analogous to?

dead pixels, dead buttons, usb port coming loose from the mobo etc.

Re:dead pixels, dead buttons etc. (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583106)

hmm... you can AFAIC torture LCD screens via software (you would have to reprogram the screen driver chip though) that could produce dead pixels. Also USBs could be overvoltaged untill they start shooting flames, but I think that would need a device connected to them to actually close a circuit.
btw, I'm no expert on those two things so the above are speculations

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582546)

Does that means your car is bricked?

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (4, Interesting)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581584)

Per the Magnuson - Moss Warranty Act: "The statute is remedial in nature and is intended to protect consumers from deceptive warranty practices. Consumer products are not required to have warranties, but if one is given, it must comply with the Magnuson-Moss Act."

So your arguement could be invalidated by "warranty is not given if you change the bios".

This is not much different then a warranty being voided by the sticker being removed (as when a laptop is taken apart).

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (3, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581710)

Except a warranty was given at the time of sale. And changing the OS on a laptop doesn't void the warranty. Nor does flashing the BIOS. And many of the hardware components are designed to be user-serviceable.

I think claiming that changing the software/firmware/BIOS on a computing device is a legitimate cause to void the warranty is a big stretch. I can see charging a nominal fee to re-flash the device if it gets bricked but not abandoning the device entirely without first proving that the non-OEM software caused a hardware failure.

The fact that this is even an issue befuddles me. They're selling these devices, not licensing them or leasing them.

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581722)

So if i modify the firmware to overvolt the CPU and that burns it out it should be cool to claim it under warranty?

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (0)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582448)

Except for "proving that the non-OEM software caused a hardware failure", dumbass coward.

How much change in infrastructure? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581882)

They're selling these devices, not licensing them or leasing them.

Yet. How much change in the quote-unquote "sales" channel would be needed to shift the business model from ownership to a two- or three-year lease?

Re:Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582824)

The whole point of the Magnuson-Moss act is to eliminate such gotchas as "warranty is not given if you change X."

To use a car analogy, I can change the firmware in my car without affecting the warranty on the rest of the car. If something mechanical breaks, it is their duty to either fix it under the terms of the warranty (in compliance with the Magnuson-Moss Act) or prove that my modification caused the failure.

Saying "we won't fix it because you poked it funny, and we don't understand funny" isn't a legal option for them.

However, saying "we aren't going to fix your engine because your firmware removed the rev limiter, leaned the mixture and advanced the timing, causing the burnt rings and broken valves in your motor" is perfectly reasonable and valid -- as long as my firmware modification actually did those things. And even then, it's up to them to show that to be the case.

hardware parts stay under warranty regardless (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582484)

of what you do.
also manufacturer defects will have to be covered(this goes _past_ the so called warranty).

DRM Language (5, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581250)

Google video rental will also be unavailable because the device will be no longer protected by security mechanism

Why do they insist on this kind of language? Why can't they just say that, since the content providers don't trust you, they won't do business with you because they can't assert any control over your device? I know it sounds Stallman-ish but it's not about protecting the device at all, that's an outright lie. And it's not about protecting you either, it's about protecting content providers from you because they don't trust you. They really need to change their attitude towards their customers (not consumers, customers).

Re:DRM Language (2)

SalsaDoom (14830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581304)

You know why, man. Because that makes the content providers sound like assholes, and those are people they are loosely in business with. Obviously your version is the accurate honest truth, but this is business and marketing where honesty and truth are of little use. You can't actually go to a customer and say, "I'm locking this down because I think you'll try and fuck me later.", they'll tell you to get out.

The content providers *are* assholes. This is generally known to most people who care even a little bit about the topic. Who *rents* a movie on their phone anyway? I guess people do but it always struck me as a bit insane. This is just business speak. Yes its annoying, but even I do it when talking to customers. Its the language of the land.

Anyone who knows why they might want to unlock their bootloader can probably translate from business-to-normal speech transparently anyway.

Re:DRM Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581606)

people with hdmi out on their phones? just a guess....

Re:DRM Language (5, Funny)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581428)

The DRM is protecting you from watching the sheer dreck that is coming out of Hollywood these days passing for movies. It's protecting your wallet, your time, and in some cases, your sanity.

How you can find such protections objectionable is beyond me.

Re:DRM Language (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582526)

These days?

Go watch Beach Blanket Bngo or Juke Girl.

No, things didn't just randomly turn to shit.

I'm more shocked that a jailbroken iPhone hasn't compromised Apple's video offerings but Google is scared shitless about rooting.

Re:DRM Language (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581450)

hear, hear.. they really need to include bittorrent and newsserver support out of the box preferably with a user-friendly client. You know.. because they totally trust you not to use them to download the very movies and series that were otherwise made available either for free or for a fee under a deal with the content license holders.

Re:DRM Language (2, Informative)

CyberDog3K (959117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581748)

In at least some cases I know of, the "security mechanism" is used to encrypt and secure payment credentials (cc info, etc) on the new droids. While I am not asserting that this is the case here, it's not impossible that certain apps will fail to work because they can't safely store or access your private data on an altered machine.

Re:DRM Language (4, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581750)

Also, this is weird. Netflix and Hulu+ are able to work on rooted Android devices (they may not be able to run on ICS yet, but that's besides the point).

How come Netflix and Hulu+ have more liberal policies than Google?

Revenue stream; more established brands (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581894)

How come Netflix and Hulu+ have more liberal policies than Google?

For one thing, they already have a monthly revenue stream, unlike Google which appears to be pay-per-view. For another, Netflix and Hulu Plus have more established brands, and major film distributors are more likely to work with more established brands.

Re:DRM Language (1)

Zebai (979227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582136)

I have a feeling that this is an intentional feature break. I'm sure somebody will soon figure out how the bootloader is unlocked and provide an alternative means to do so without disabling phone features.

Re:DRM Language (4, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581862)

You are not google's customer.. You are google's product. Their customers are people that buy ad-words and other advertising to show to you.

Re:DRM Language (5, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581900)

You are not google's customer.. You are google's product.

If you are renting movies or buying apps from them then you are their customer, just like if you're a Netflix or Hulu subscriber you are their customer.

Re:DRM Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38583370)

You are not google's customer.. You are google's product.

If you are renting movies or buying apps from them then you are their customer, just like if you're a Netflix or Hulu subscriber you are their customer.

No. The movie / music buying / renting business is not profitable for them but they don't care because all that matters for them is to use their monopolistic position in the search business to destroy all competition in the other businesses (phones, tablets, etc...) so you're not really their customer. You're their product.

Ad vs. PPV (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581912)

You are not google's customer.. You are google's product. Their customers are people that buy ad-words and other advertising to show to you.

Since when are Android Market movie rentals fully supported by advertisers? I thought they were pay-per-view.

Re:Ad vs. PPV (0)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583472)

Since SHUT YOUR MOUTH, that's when! Don't try getting this nutjob thinking logically - it doesn't work. He has drunk the Kool-Aid.

Re:DRM Language (2)

Divebus (860563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582384)

That's proper wording. The device will no longer be protected from you!

You aren't the customer, either. You are in fact the consumer. Google's advertisers are their customers and you and your data are what's for sale to them. The conduit for Google scraping your data is no longer protected if you jailbreak.

Re:DRM Language (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583020)

> Why do they insist on this kind of language?

Because English isn't a first language.

They probaby meant something like:

"Google video rentals will also be unavailable because the device will be no longer protected by a security mechanism.

You'd expect large companies to run press releases past someone with basic English comprehension, wouldn't you? I don't know what it is about definite/indefinite articles. They don't seem very complicated to me. Perhaps they just don't exist in some other languages, like the retarded male/female "the" you get in French and German.

AC to get FIRSTY on Jan 3, Boot in You Face Coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581298)


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FffF

ffFFfff

FffF

Ffff


PppPPp

Pp Pp
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

this must be... (3, Funny)

spyrral (162842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581376)

some definition of popular I'm not familiar with.

Re:this must be... (1)

ghn (2469034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581418)

+1

Re:this must be... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581470)

Most popular Android tablet. If you ignore the Kindle fire.

Re:this must be... (4, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581472)

You aren't familiar with the definition of popular that includes so many people preordering that, by the time release day hits, Amazon has a 5-7 week backlog, which continued to grow until Amazon has to stop accepting preorders? Nope, that doesn't sound popular at all.

Re:this must be... (2, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581684)

some definition of popular I'm not familiar with.

Yup, popular is one of the more decepticonly versatile words in the English language, but I believe it's being used optimusly in this case, though.

Re:this must be... (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581860)

Well. That's just prime, then.

Fucking crybabies (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581406)

A company makes it easy for you to mod their tablet, and all you can do is whinge. Reading these comments, I doubt they will bother next time around.

Re:Fucking crybabies (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583156)

This comment is severely underrated.
What the **** happened? Are Locked devices the new cool?
Is the next generation of hackers only interested in writing fart apps?

Re:Fucking crybabies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38583276)

I actually own one of these tablets, and considering the amount of various faults and bugs this device (and especially it's accompanying dock/keyboard) has, I would *never* want to lose my warranty, considering that I've had to send it back for repairs twice. To me, and anyone with a brain, this boot loader unlock is pretty much useless if it voids your warranty completely.

That said, I do appreciate the gesture, and it will certainly be handy when warranty expires and no software supoprt is given anymore, I would problably want to put CyanogenMod on it or something.

The tablet thing is old already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581408)

Give me something to be excited about. I see tons about the hardware and the OS but the apps are just a bore. Do I really need a gadget for ereading and netflix?

Re:The tablet thing is old already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581442)

Give me something to be excited about.

Perhaps some shock therapy will do as excitement?

Google movie rentals ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581422)

Did I miss something ?

When did Google begin renting movies ?

Re:Google movie rentals ? (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581502)

When did Google begin renting movies ?

A while ago. [gigaom.com]

Oh, no, no google video? What ever shall I do? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581446)

"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.'"

That's OK, I'll just pirate the movies for free without the idiotic DRM and not give anyone a dime. How's that working out for you, corporations?

Re:Oh, no, no google video? What ever shall I do? (0)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581902)

believe me, they know that people like you were doing that already. no loss.

Re:Oh, no, no google video? What ever shall I do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582108)

I've honestly been looking for a way to pay that's as convenient as piracy. I really have. When I can teach my parents how to pirate easier than to teach them to use netflix and have the movies actually show up on their TV -- well, that tells you something.

Re:Oh, no, no google video? What ever shall I do? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582726)

Maybe you're bad at explaining? Streaming from Netflix is loads easier than explaining how bittorrent works.

Re:Oh, no, no google video? What ever shall I do? (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583088)

The selection, on the one hand, is relatively poor, but on the other hand you don't need to maintain a library.

Re:Oh, no, no google video? What ever shall I do? (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583176)

no it isn't. You have to sign up for netflix, which requires usage of a keyboard. Whereas torrent delivery is so streamlined by now that (given somebody sends you a link to a movie torrent on a torrent site) you can go through installing a torrent client , DL and watch with use of only the mouse (or manically waving your hands around in the living room in front of a kinect, if that's what your deal)

Asus is doing it wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581526)

Want to do Android right? Lookie Samsung.

I returned my Asus Transformer after almost a month of waiting around for bootloader unlock and root. Samsung's Android coup is due in large part to the fact that their own developer tools are leaked out, they pay close attention to the homebrew community and even hire some of the top developers. I'll never buy an Asus tablet again, no matter how great the hardware. It's my tablet, I should be able to root it - end of.

Security mechanism? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581532)

Just finished watching this youtube speech by Cory Doctorow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HUEvRyemKSg

"Security mechanism" = root kit + spyware.

Its in everyones best interest to use real language and not marketing/propaganda speech. Root kits and spyware is not security.

It's a start. (2)

Dremth (1440207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581542)

It's nice to see more and more manufacturers providing the option for customers unlock the bootloaders for their Android devices, but does it really have to void the warranty? I mean, can't they determine if a failure was a direct result of unlocking the bootloader? If you unlock your phone's bootloader and then brick your phone trying to install some weird crap, then it's clearly your fault and shouldn't be covered by your warranty, but if your screen dies or your battery explodes, it probably has nothing to do with whether or not you unlocked the device's bootloader.

Re:It's a start. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581744)

This.

ASUS pretty clearly wants to minimize service costs, which means trying to avoid having an engineering staff dedicated to solving software issues. Support services, though, can make a distinction between hardware faults like defective batteries and software issues. This ought to be more clearly spelled out, and warranty service for manufacturing defects shouldn't be voided by software changes.

The only intersection of software and hardware that could provoke trouble would be the possibility of drivers frying some component or bricking the machine. That was always a possibility before (hence legends of XFree86 being able to explode monitors). The best solution would be for manufacturers to built fault-tolerant hardware with firmware that doesn't permit bonkers input values to fry/brick things.

This is probably much more about avoiding a running battle to secure the DRM: using the warranty as a carrot to keep the risk-averse away from unlocking the system software and circumventing the DRM keeps the lion's share of the buyers locked down. The ones who are going to jailbreak the system (and probably the DRM) are the ones who have enough technical knowledge to feel secure without a warranty. The carrot is the important part: the stick (trying to keep *all* systems locked down) is where the company would start pouring 80% of its resources into something that affects only 20% of cases. This lets them avoid that battle, look like nice guys for letting modders do what they want, show some good faith towards the content providers, and keep costs down. Wise move.

Re:It's a start. (1)

mkremer (66885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581964)

The problem with your idea of building hardware that that is fault-tolerant is that it would be more expensive. There is no way around that since both in the design and test of the hardware more resources would need to be used.

Also the BOM and manufacturing costs would most likely also go up.

Most consumer devices are too cost and time sensitive for this.

Just got mine... (4, Insightful)

Fez (468752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581572)

I just got mine this afternoon, ordered just before Christmas from Best Buy and it came today. So far, I'm impressed with it.

I will probably not root the thing, and have no interest in custom ROMs, so aside from the impending ICS update it's great for me as-is.

I've been playing on it non-stop since I pulled it off the charger about 3 hours ago and even with all manner of app installing and game playing it's barely below 75% charge.

Re:Just got mine... (4, Informative)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581936)

I just got mine this afternoon ... I will probably not root the thing.

I suspect you feel that way simply because you haven't had enough time to see how limited it is without rooting it. Basically step outside the realm of any task that has an app for it and you'll need to root it. As an example i had to root my Asus Transformer to log in to an openVPN network. It's a fairly simple task that even my phone can do but the Transformer can't do it without root access (yes, it does support l2tp without rooting but i needed openVPN).

Re:Just got mine... (2)

Fez (468752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581980)

OpenVPN would be nice, but I have had an android phone for over a year and have had no desire or need to root that, either. It supports IPsec in a way that works fine for me, as does PPTP.

Though the Transformer Prime doesn't have the "Advanced IPsec" options my Droid X does, unfortunately. (Perhaps ICS will bring that... would be nice)

Re:Just got mine... (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582962)

Supporting one specific app that is not in the usage case for 99% of the prospective owners does not make a device "limited". I too have rooted my device, but I honestly couldn't name a single application that actually would need it. Titanium backup maybe, but there's an application that any normal person who doesn't flash new firmware every week could very easily live without. Why I rooted? Well it was just a feature of the rom I installed.

The reality is quite on the flip side. Every advertised feature works. Nearly all of the applications on the market work. Things as basic as stock tickers to advanced network discovery clients, ssh clients, remote desktop, file managers, applications which manage the system like task killers, and applications which fundamentally modify the behaviour of the phone like noLED as well also work on non-rooted devices.

There's a few cases where some apps work better than others on rooted phones due to different methods of doing things, such as the program Adfree is neat on a rooted phone since it modifies the host file rather than staying memory resident like other adblockers, but on the whole there is very little that you can't do on a non-rooted phone even as an advanced user.

Re:Just got mine... (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582120)

Did you get it with a dock? Have ASUS actually got a battery indicator for the dock battery yet?

Re:Just got mine... (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582260)

Get the Dual Battery Widget. [android.com] It's free.

Re:Just got mine... (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583308)

I know, I have it already. It's just another example of ASUS being bone-headed by making a tablet with two batteries and only displaying the charge status and levels for one of them.

Re:Just got mine... (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582736)

I just got mine this afternoon, ordered just before Christmas from Best Buy and it came today. So far, I'm impressed with it.

I will probably not root the thing, and have no interest in custom ROMs, so aside from the impending ICS update it's great for me as-is.

I've been playing on it non-stop since I pulled it off the charger about 3 hours ago and even with all manner of app installing and game playing it's barely below 75% charge.

It really depends whether you use it as a tablet or a netbook. As a tablet, it's a nice device. As a netbook, Android is the most painfully limited OS I've seen. You can install the GNU tools and a terminal emulator, but it's not long at all before you start to really miss the functionality of a proper Linux distro.
I have a first gen Transformer dual booting Kubuntu, and I only ever use Android for things the Ubuntu kernel doesn't yet support.

Re:Just got mine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582974)

How is the GPS performance?

Can't find any (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581574)

Asus *uck*d up this product launch big time. This device is nowhere to be found.

This is all fine, but can... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581628)

...it run the Linux?

Re:This is all fine, but can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582146)

...it run the Linux?

Yes... Android runs on Linux you idiot.

Re:This is all fine, but can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582510)

Yes... Android runs on Linux you idiot.

Whoosh! Whoa, did you see that? Oh, you just missed it.

Oh...snap!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582842)

The boy jus got SCHOOLED!!!

just a question, (5, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581678)

Why is it that they will not let you access their service on a rooted phone/tablet but I can use their service on a Pc which I have admin access to and in the case of browser based delivery such as hulu or netflix I have the source code of the browser through which they send their content that they think they must protect so dearly. What is the deal? I am far more likely to pirate on a Pc then I am on the phone by far.

Re:just a question, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582636)

Too late to "fix" the computer market.
Not too late to "fix" the tablet market.

It's really the same as with marijuana and alcohol, many people ask why you allow alcohol which in most ways is more dangerous than marijuana.
The answer is that alcohol is so spread out that it can't be stopped.

I'm not certain I agree with that logic, but the point is that if something is already free, locking it up causes an outrage if it's popular.

As a token of appreciation... (4, Interesting)

api_syurga (443557) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581776)

and since I'm on the market for a touch pad device anyway, I'll buy this one, even if don't end up modding it. After the purchase I will inform their customer representative that the decision to buy their device is owed partly of them upgrading to ICS and boot unlocking.

Voting with my dollars.

ACER + eeePCeee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38581834)

I once had a 486 running NT 3.51 and was trying to get the audio working, I wrote ACER about it and they made a driver for me in less than a week. I've LOVED ACER after that. I would be suprised if they won't unlock the eeePCeee . If they don't they must have some hidden reason not to. Anyway, in this horrible world where everything seems to be going to hell, it's good to see firmware opened up! If ACER is reading this. I only ask they do the right thing, and god bless your company.

ASUS != Acer (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581946)

It looks like you're confusing two similarly named oriental computer manufacturers. ASUS == Eee PC subnotebook and Transformer tablet. Acer == Aspire One subnotebook and Iconia tablet.

Now I'll buy two (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38581966)

One for work and one for fun.

Nice ... (1)

garry_g (106621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582682)

Seems like they are listening to their (prospective) customers ... I so want one ;)
Also, as long as they supply timely updates, and there's no bloatware on the pad, there's no real necessity for unlocking (n.b.: I rooted and re-flashed both my Android phones within days (and hours in case of the second one) of getting them ...) ... so let there be ICS and JB (whatever the next version is called - was that going to be Jelly Beans?), and the users will be happy!
Now if I could only find a decent place to get on in Germany ...

3G version (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582806)

Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a 3G version of this tablet.

They should really come up with a standard small USB slot (similar to the express card, but smaller and USB-only) that would allow them to use the same tablet hardware for WiFi, GSM, LTE, WiMax, and CDMA devices. An industry-standard would be nice, but even an ASUS-only standard would be good. That way, they only have to get FCC approval once for the tablet, and they could keep their inventories smaller too.

Dropping GPS support? (1)

larppaxyz (1333319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38582832)

What? They mean that after upgrade, there will be no GPS available anymore? That sounds like severe hardware issue and they try to blame software.

Re:Dropping GPS support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38582984)

What? They mean that after upgrade, there will be no GPS available anymore? That sounds like severe hardware issue and they try to blame software.

Did you RTFA? ASUS said they removed GPS support due to poor performance of the hardware, they didn't blame software. Read:

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.

Re:Dropping GPS support? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583338)

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.

It's still causing inconvenience. Did they remove the GPS or just remove it from their literature? I guess I'm NOT buying this device, but waiting for Prime+1 where they can get the fucking GPS antenna right. They should have fixed this before going to market. Huge fuckup for ASUS.

GPS? (1)

felix85 (987753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583016)

Now are they going to reimburse the owners of the device for the removal of a feature that was advertised when they bought it...?? If I remember right another company (Sony and the other os feature if you didn't know) did that once and there was an outrage (for some). Not that the GPS is a major feature but removing it after it is released and in the customer's hands detracts from the value of the product.

Hey tablet vendors - pay attention (5, Insightful)

gru3hunt3r (782984) | more than 2 years ago | (#38583286)

Hey tablet vendors - pay attention, Asus isn't just catering to the home user - they're catering to the corporate IT user.

Our employees don't need Google videos ..
But to get OpenVPN on android 4.0 I (currently) need to root it.
Making rooted devices is incredibly appealing.

ASUS - Nice job!
Guess which device just went to the top of our "IT recommended devices" list for employees.

Can't wait to see it - if this device officially "supports" roots .. in the sense that I don't have to worry about you deciding to remote kill + brick the device then we'll just make this the only device employees can receive reimbursement for.

God I can't wait for a decent Windows 8 tablet. This android ipad walled garden policies *crap* is so incompatible with the company I work for. While I'm not a microsoft fan, at least they understand business.

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