When we first heard about the GPS reception issues the ASUS Transformer Prime tablet was going through, there was a good deal of concern that they would prove insurmountable, as ASUS seemed to have ignored basic principles of electromagnetic shielding when constructing the tablet; that is, if you seal an antenna in a metal box, it’s not going to be effective. Without designing the tablet to ensure the GPS antenna was in a location where it could receive a strong signal, we had our doubts about the Prime’s future as a navigation aid. Nevertheless, last week we saw an update arrive for the tablet with the promise of improved GPS performance. Unsurprisingly, reports from users post-install indicate that the update fails to deliver.
The update supposedly contains code that allows the prime to gather some satellite information over its data connection. From the sound of it, that means that constellation data the current locations of all GPS birds is what’s being passed-along. In theory, that could lead to faster lock-on times, especially when first using GPS, but there’s not much that it can do to help a GPS antenna with shielding issues.
ASUS still hasn’t confirmed that the Prime’s metal frame is at fault, and some users are apparently able to use GPS without issue, so this story is far from over. There’s still the possibility that software really is to blame here, and GPS functionality could be restored with a future update, but we won’t be holding our breath.