Potential fix for Transformer Prime GPS needs no dongles

There's a new GPS fix out there for Android devices (including a special build for the Transformer Prime) that promises to fix the issues many have been seeing with the location services from ASUS' latest 10-inch tablet. We know that ASUS is set to give out GPS dongles to users affected by the bad hardware, but we had to take a look at this potential quick-fix and see how it works for us. Note that you will have to be rooted at a minimum to try this, and the developer states that it doesn't work with all custom ROMs. We used a stock, rooted ROM for our test.

Buyer beware: Before we go any further, you'll need to know that the developer, crypted from XDA, is using his own NTP server. An NTP (Network Time Protocol) server is used to keep computer clocks synchronized on networks that aren't always the same speed -- like a mobile or Wifi network.  He explains that this allows for "better stability and speed by providing top-rated NTP servers", but doesn't explain how he guarantees this, nor why he feels his server is better. He also makes it clear that nobody should criticize or question him for doing so in his thread. Normally, that's where I would just close the tab and move on, but I figured I'd finish what I started here. I'll leave it to each of you to decide how much you trust this, but I felt the need to let you know ahead of time.

So I backed up a few files, and copied over the files for this fix. You can push them via adb, flash them via custom recovery, or do like I did and copy them in place and manually set the permissions. Sure enough, I got my first ever indoor GPS lock after about 45 seconds. Seeing this made me have to take it for a spin, so I grabbed the wife and took a little drive. Navigation was hit-or-miss (the device still won't stay locked while moving about), but I'm sure it found more satellites and locked faster outdoors than it did before. This fix certainly makes it locate those metal birds faster, but it isn't going to fix the whole issue for everyone. I'm very curious how these changes will work in tandem with any GPS dongle ASUS supplies, and if both will make the Prime a real GPS alternative for the car. I'm hopeful, and will test it again once the dongle's start shipping and I get mine. In the meantime, decide how you feel about the server situation, then give it a try if you're OK with it. It can't work any worse than it does now, right?

Source: XDA-Developers

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Hey, ASUS! How about you fix the Original Transformers random reboot problems! Yeah, that would be nice. Just sayin'.
  • +1
    Although, apparently it's an ICS bug.
    FYI, Asus asked some users to send some logs to figure out why it's happening so I guess they are working on it.
  • As the satellites move around you can't really compare results taken at different times (they will always be in different places than last time)...
  • So I have a question regarding how someone might be able to use their Prime as a GPS system without any data? I mean I could always tether but what would happen with no internet at all? And I think I tried while tethered to my phone and it wasn't very successful. On a slightly different note, what app is used to see how many satellites your Prime is connected to? I've always wondered this. Thanks in advance.
  • Use Gps test https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F... or, as Jerry is using, gps status https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F... And you can use gps without data connection. Just find an app with offline maps
  • Pre-cache the destination area before leaving. Personally, I don't need a GPS to tell me to drive many miles down the interstate until I get to the center of a big city, but I do value it to tell me where to get off of the interstate and through some neighborhood to get to the final destination. -Suntan
  • That's always been my beef with the "using the Prime as a GPS" crowd. You either need to know where you're going in advance and cache it offline, or you need data (probably via tethering). If I want to tether that means paying VZW an extra $20 a month on my Droid 4, so I just use the D4 for GPS instead. It locks on, no problems, and can get me the updated map info that I need. About the only real use I see for GPS on the Prime (for me, anyways) would be...sorry, can't think of any offhand. :-)
  • My GPS works great now. I got my TFP on Jan 3 and it would never find my position. After the last few updates I now get up to 12 satellites in about 10 seconds sitting on my couch. I feel like mine was all software. I've even used it for navigation in my car and it worked fine.
  • Doesn't sound like any kind of credible "fix" to me. Any positive reports will likely be a placebo effect.
  • I still don't truly care enough to root my Prime, especially to make it a giant GPS. I have an old GPS Bluetooth dongle lying around that i tried and it works great! Nothing hanging on the Prime. I use my G2 for my GPS needs.