ASUS needs to phase out the Transformer Prime by the second quarter

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| January 12, 2012

Whether or not manufacturers need to slow down with the devices they release in a year is up to you. We’ve talked about it, others have talked about it, and we can probably say that it’s been covered. I don’t think “slowing down” has anything to do with ASUS’ latest move with their Transformer series of tablets. In fact, it isn’t about slowing down at all for them – they’ve got the timing down for tablets perfect. The problem is that they’ve made their first mistake by completely backhanding the early adopters of the Transformer Prime tablet, and shrugging it off like it doesn’t matter.

And, oddly enough, I’ve seen folks out there saying that ASUS hasn’t actually done anything wrong by releasing a better version of the Transformer Prime, or planning on releasing a better version of the Transformer Prime, so soon after the original device’s launch. And, perhaps they’re right. Perhaps, just maybe, ASUS is perfectly in the right to launch not only a better tablet, but also a tablet that fixes the first tablet’s problems.

And, see, that’s actually where I have the problem with ASUS’ plans. It isn’t because that they’re introducing a “high-end” model to their already “high-end tablet.” Nope, that makes perfect sense. After all, a higher resolution display and a better camera aren’t all that much to write home about. That, by itself, isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that ASUS is releasing a new tablet that has a new back-plate, which actually boosts the signals of the WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth connections within the tablet.

Boost them as much as they can be, anyway. And that’s not hard at all, considering the original Transformer Prime is dealing with some major connectivity issues regarding its WiFi and GPS. And this isn’t just a case where a few people out there are having a problem here and there. No, ASUS has confirmed that the issue exists, and they’ve put the blame squarely on the design of the Transformer Prime. So, they take off the GPS feature from the specifications list, apologize to purchasers and call it good. But, right after that, they go ahead and introduce a new tablet that fixes that whole construction issue.

It gets better though. Because, ASUS is quick to say that they aren’t replacing the Transformer Prime at all. Nope, this new series of tablets is being positioned above the original model, forever known as the premiere version of the tablet. Well, of course it’s the premiere version of the tablet; your first tablet is inherently broken, more or less. And, just to make sure there’s one more final boot to the rear, ASUS is going to continue selling the “broken” tablet, probably assuming that you’ll go for the pricier version of the device, because, well, it isn’t broken.

Here’s what ASUS should do: phase out the original Transformer Prime, so that by the time this new version lands in stores, that’s the only model you can get. On top of that, the manufacturer should also figure something out for early adopters. A price reduction on the new model. The ability to return the old model for the new one, once it’s released. Something. Anything, really. It is literally mind boggling to me that ASUS would think that selling a “broken” tablet, while promoting one that is fixed, makes any sense at all.

That’s what we’re looking at. So, we’ll see how ASUS handles this moving forward. Because, I don’t imagine that purchasers of the Transformer Prime are going to be all that quiet when the new model lands. But, we’ll see.