Asus has responded to demands for an unlocked bootloader for its its latest Transformer Prime tablet.
It turns out that DRM is the culprit – at least, that is what Asus says on its Facebook page:
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.
My guess is that most modders will cheerfully unlock their bootloaders and ditch the DRM. That said, I am not clear why this should void the warranty unless it is software related.
Asus has announced the Transformer Prime, a quad-core tablet which comes with a mobile dock. The tablet looks like this:
but it docks with a keyboard to become more like a laptop:
The dock includes a keyboard, USB port, SD card slot, and an additional battery. Asus claim a battery life of 18 hours for the tablet when docked, or 12 hours for the tablet alone.
Specs for the Transformer Prime include 32GB storage, 1GB RAM, micro HDMI port, front and rear facing cameras (the rear camera can take full 1080p HD video), light sensor and gyroscope, GPS, combined audio and mic-in jack, and of course wi-fi and Bluetooth.
The real star of the Transformer Prime though is NVIDIA’s new Tegra 3 SoC (System on a Chip).
Tegra 3 includes a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU and a 12-core GeForce GPU, compared to its predecessor the dual-core Tegra 2 with its 8 core GPU. It also supports double the amount of RAM: 2GB rather than 1GB. Anand Lal Shimpi has a great overview here.
The Transformer Prime is set to arrive in the UK in early January with a recommended price of £499 inc VAT. It will run Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
Perhaps I have spent too much time with the Windows 8 preview over the last month, but I cannot help thinking that this would make an excellent Windows 8 tablet. I like the idea of the keyboard/dock which also forms protection for the tablet screen; with Windows and Office this might be the only device I need when travelling.