The Transformer Prime is a nice tablet. The GPS problems it suffers due to its all-aluminum case, however, are not. We've heard that ASUS is planning on alleviating these problems with a GPS dongle, and now we're finally getting a look at it. It's uh...well, it sure is a dongle

2012-04-15 22h06_22

dongl4 dongle3 dongle5

According to Land of Droid, this giant, we'll say, wand-looking thing, is the GPS dongle that's going to "fix" the Transformer Prime's GPS issues. Of course, from the looks of it, this dongle creates some problems of its own. For starters, subtle it is not. It's a huge, ugly block on the top of an otherwise gorgeous tablet. More importantly, it uses the same plug as the keyboard dock and the charging cables to connect to the tablet.

It's a little difficult to tell from these pictures if you would be able to charge/use your dock through the GPS dongle, or if you'd be forced to choose between a keyboard or working GPS. If I had to bet, I'd put my money on the latter. Thankfully, you Prime owners won't have to put any money on anything, as the dongle will be entirely free.

We should be hearing an announcement about this from ASUS tomorrow. While there's no real reason to doubt the veracity of these photos, I can't help but hope that this isn't the real device. Sure, the Prime has its GPS issues, but sticking this ugly thing on it and screwing with one of the best distinguishing features in the process feels like adding insult to injury at this point.


The sign-up page is now live! You have until July 31st to apply for the free dongle.

Source: Land of Droid

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

    when you installed discuss?

    I like it!!! 

    now back to topic if they have a working thing on their hands... why not a video? I mean those blurry ass pictures is all they could give us? if they want the story to be more easy to digest

    1. a video of the thing 
    2. better pictures
    3. a GPS test

    those are things that may prove this is the real deal 

    I can believe something like a GPS cant get a much decent looking thing....

    • landofdroid

      We don't physically have the device however we will as our source to do just that. It's worth pointing out though that he might not have a decent camera lol

      • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

        I'm sorry to put doubts on your source. I know all cameras come witth blurry mode for smartphone leak pictures. Hope you guys get a video or a demo showing it working, that would.be awesome (even with a blurry video)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Saturday night.

  • Awesomesauce

    Do many people actually use their tablet as a gps anyway? I have an og transformer and have used my gps once or twice. I just use my phone anyway. I think I would rather lose out on gps functionality and keep the awesome keyboard.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      I use the GPS in my Galaxy Tab fairly often.  To begin with, it's a bit necessary since there's a design flaw in my phone that makes the GPS relatively unreliable (the metal contacts connecting to the GPS antenna stop making positive contact after a while).  Not only that, but a tablet is absolutely awesome for navigation, you can read street names and make out details without having to practically hold the screen to your face.

      • http://rootzwiki.com/user/17721-ocentertainment/ Eric Ravenscraft

        Is it bad that I read this as "there's a design flaw in my phone that makes the GPS relatively unreliable: it's made by Samsung"?

        I don't even know if you're phone is a Samsung device. Is there a term that means "racist" but applies to smartphone manufacturers?

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          Hah, I knew somebody was going to say something about it being a Samsung phone. It's actually the HTC Inspire (Desire HD); the GPS antenna is on the removable panel with the LED Flash. Over time and with a bit of heat the semi-springy metal clips tend to not press tightly to the phone's contact points causing the GPS to only be accurate to within about half a block.  HTC is notorious for always having one design flaw in every phone (I've had 4 of 'em and my ex-gf had 3 others)...it's just a different flaw on each phone :)

          There is something very strange that of the 4 devices I'm currently using, the best GPS is in a tablet made by Samsung...WTF?!?!  It's faster to lock and more reliable than my iPhone 4, HTC Inspire and Nokia Lumia 900 (just got it on Friday, I'm planning to write a review shortly).

    • Kellic

      Are you kidding?  You may not realize how many apps you use every day on a tablet depend on GPS.  Hell even doing a Google Search uses GPS to refine local searches.
      The answer is yes.

      • ntcongit

        Most of the time every app use and should use Network Location, not GPS

      • Lavi

        Then go buy am GPS device.

      • Clamperson

        The Prime is a Wifi-only device. Wifi is used as a location service when no gps signal is available. HOW accurate do you want your location for Google searches to be???

      • Clamperson

        The Prime is a Wifi-only device. Wifi is used as a location service when no GPS signal is available. Unless you are doing a Google search for your neighbor's house then there is no practical use for a GPS on this device. I had an HTC Flyer P512 before my TP and not once did I need to use the GPS while on Wifi.

  • Jonathan Wong

    And I thought they said it'll be flush with it

  • GazaIan

    Quite frankly; the gps dongle could have been the size of a fridge and I still wouldn't care. It's free.

    • Kellic

      A steaming pile of dog poo is also free, doesn't mean you should accept it.

      • tylerbrainerd

        but does the dog poo provide location services?

      • GazaIan

        That's cool, but here's the difference, this actually has a use. Dog shit doesn't.

  • Kellic

    Dongle huh?  Dear Asus: Prepare yourself for a class action lawsuit.  This does not fix the problem, it bypasses it.  You should be doing a full on recall.

    • cybik

      At least they're fixing it. Many companies wouldn't be giving a rat's ass about what you think.

  • http://www.baronsofbullshit.com/ seriosbrad

    Is there going to be a new revision of the Transformer Prime with a built in hardware fix?

    • Protato

      The TF300 has a plastic cover and is $100 cheaper.

    • cybik


  • http://www.mobiletechview.com J_Dav1

    I don't use the tablet for GPS much, but when I do it's is not long. Don't have to worry about apps getting location. Network location reports right to my front door for some reason so 99% of the time I don't need GPS. I'll pick this up for free and in the off chance that I do need GPS I'll stick it on. They likely made it that big so it would lock into the dock's latch holes so it wouldn't get broken off, and destroy the plug. Although they could have still did a better job with it.

  • CoffeeGeeker

    Woah. This thing should have been the size of the hinge on Asus' origami cover, and not a mm more. What the heck are they doing? 

    And more to the point, they probably could have designed and manufactured something the size of a plug for the docking connector, almost flush with the body. Don't they just need a new antenna route? This bloody thing looks like it holds an entire GPS unit + battery + antenna.

  • Palmer Nyako


    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      This is indeed true.

  • Paramaster303

    I could just be being an idiot here but from what i have read regarding the prime, the main problem is the all aluminum case blocks signal for the gps, which was alleviatied for the iphone by putting in a plastic logo in a certain position on the case, is there no "unsanctioned" route of simply drilling a hole over the gps sensor of the case and filling it in with some plastic or other material plug that would allow the signal to go through for those that need their gps on their tablet often and need to use their keyboard attachment? Like i said not personally familiar with the device but have been keeping track of the updates as i have been looking to get a tablet.

  • cherideng

    the gps dongle could have been the size of a fridge and I still wouldn't care. It's free. 

  • Eddy315west

    this is the official dongle just look at the manual for it here


  • carnegie0107

    Hm. If this thing is free, I'll want one just in case.. but I don't know what everyone is whining about. I've always had good GPS performance on my TFP. Every bit as good as my Nexus One and Evo, and in many cases better. I mean, I see why the aluminum body would cause issues, but it doesn't for me. I'll probably take this thing with me on road trips in case I want to use GPS, just to help boost performance a bit. But that's about it.

  • Drayon

    At that size I would assume it also works as a wifi antenna or else they missed a big point.

  • Sorian

    If I get a tablet, my Garmin Mobile 10x will work just fine over bluetooth. It works fine with my old phone right now that never had a working GPS.

  • http://twitter.com/tripperdan99 Tripper Dan

    Wonder if they added wireless reception enhancement along with the GPS, that would be good. Of course messing with the keyboard dock is an issue with me

  • Blow

    how lame and how terrible.... i would rather have my asus transformer (TF101) than this tablet with a clunky add on or any add on for that matter... hahahah yay now im not bummed i have the older model!!!

  • Deltaechoe

    well the thing is i'll accept it but I never see myself using this >.>, if I really REALLY need gps on my tablet I have always been tethering from my phone and using network location seeing as the phone's gps location broadcasts over the tethering program I use and that pretty much solves gps problems.  Honestly though, when are you going to use GPs on such a large device when you aren't near a hotspot, when its like that unless you have some app that preloads maps for you the gps isn't going to be very useful