The Android 4.0 ICS Update Borked My Asus Transformer

ASUS Transformer Android 3.1 Update

Last week Asus released a much-anticipated firmware update for the original Asus Transformer tablet that upgraded the operating system from Android 3.2 Honeycomb to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Right after the update I posted a video review showing the changes, and at first everything seemed well and good, but now my Transformer has been having all kinds of problems since the ICS update. I’m ready to get rid of it and move onto something else if Asus doesn’t roll out a fix in the next couple of weeks.

What was once my favorite tablet hands-down now freezes up regularly, reboots for no reason, and sometimes gets stuck in a loop trying to boot, just showing the initial boot logo over and over and over, turning itself on and off. Battery life is very inconsistent too. One night it drains 40% overnight when left in standby, the next night only like 5%.

The stupid web browser still crashes all the time and I hate how they removed the user agent option so now mobile sites load all the time. Sure you can click the new “request desktop site” button but you have to do it every damn time because it doesn’t remember. What’s frustrating is that I have other tablets running ICS—the Kindle Fire and Ainol Novo 7 Paladin—and they still have the user agent option in settings. I don’t see the point in forcing a 10″ tablet without 3G wireless to use a mobile site. It’s stupid.

Other issues include massive slowdowns and general unresponsiveness, the homescreen flickers whenever the quick settings menu or recent apps list is opened, sometimes it takes Wi-Fi over 30 seconds to connect out of sleep mode (with Honeycomb it never took more than 5 seconds), and fullscreen flash video in the browser is not working well at all. It basically crashes the browser every time, or makes it slow and unresponsive so that you have to go into app settings and force stop the browser.

Anyone else having these problems? My Transformer was never rooted or modded in any way. Just pure stock. Maybe I should root it and flash a custom ROM. That would probably fix most these issues.

Another thing that really irritates me, and this has nothing to do with Asus but Android tablets in general, is the fact that Google forces us to use their stupid apps. I don’t use half their pre-installed apps and want nothing to do with them but since they are system apps you can’t remove them or even hide them. The only way to get rid of them is to root the device, which is wonderfully ironic considering most people root their tablets so they can add Google apps.

48 Responses to “The Android 4.0 ICS Update Borked My Asus Transformer”

  1. Wow Nathan, I owe you one here. I was going to buy a Asus Transformer (your model), case, and docking station based on your reviews. It seemed like an amazing device for ICS, and I really liked the specs you highlighted in your reviews. Thanks for posting about these issues. It would have been a sad day for me if after spending $550+ to find issues like this!

  2. Have you tried reflashing?

  3. I hope you can un-bork it by reinstalling Honeycomb. My message to Asus: Make a crash-resistant browser, Transformer needs it!

    • I found a thread at XDA where people are having the same exact problems. I’ve gone through and removed some apps I no longer use and removed a weather widget that I think was causing some of the freezing and unresponsiveness issues because it’s behaving much better now. It was a honeycomb widget so it may have had incompatibility issues.

      The problems seem to come and go. This morning it was running especially bad, which is what prompted this rant of a post. It’s working okay now. If it goes haywire again I’ll try a factory reset or find a way to re-flash.

  4. I updated to the next Android…can’t remember name…and really messed up my phone. Had to BU everything and reset to factory. Is working fine again. Don’t recommend upgrading!!!

  5. Interesting. I updated mine while in Argentina on vacation (Canadian user) and has worked bang on since then. My browser has never crashed and since the update the unit seems to run faster than before. My only complaint is that when you shut down, the OK tab has been switched to the right side where before it was on the left which was ideal for left handed people.

  6. Hey Nathan,
    I have the same tablet and I upgraded 3.2 to ICS as soon as you said its out. touchwood, I have not been facing a single issue. The browser works fine even with the maximum tabs opened. It used to crash on 3.2 sometimes, butit never crashes now. No start up issues, nothing. And as for responsiveness, I think its almost at par with ipad now, which is saying something for android (it still has a long way to go though).

    You have probably done this already, but this is what I would try f I were you:
    1) Backup
    2) Reset to factory defaults (it would delete all your data and apps and not sure if it takes you back to 3.2 or does a reset of ICS)
    3) Upgrade it again to ICS

  7. Although, yeah, that website setting that defaults to mobile version is damn dirty….. Wish they would remove that in a future update…

  8. Hey,
    Like Hellraiser I updated just as got a link to your review.
    Like you Nathan i have been experiencing loads of problems as well. I don’t demand so much of the Browser and i usually don’t use the stock one, no problem for me here.
    But the Rebooting, Looping, Inconsistent Batery usage (I think that it has a lot to do with the apps you have been using during that day, if not rebooted, happened as well in 3.2), Freezes, having to reboot because it just won’t move (continuous press on the powerbotton).
    I have more, so i will add some bads to your list. Two times i had a problem with the main screen. The icons just simple disapeared. They were there, but i could not see them…reboot.
    My especific tablet has a problem with the power button. If i am just with the tablet and it is powered off, it won’t power on, just useless! I have to “jump start” it with the cable, connected to a PC, charger or docking.
    Another one is when you are with the keyboard docking and you have a code to start. The numbers won’t show on screen, you have to use the keyboard… Don’t like this because i still use the touchscreen with the keyboard locked in.
    The thing with the change of the side of the buttons is really annoying aswell Elmar. Good one.
    My Polaris Office is not really working as well as it was. If i open the app i don’t have the option of doing a new document. I have to change the directory of search and then it will show on the top right (not even the options of the app). Another with Polaris is that it will not save changes when saving in the micro SD card, has to be in the internal memory.
    Youtube app has problems as well that still have not been fixed. When i search for another video during a playback, i can not do a space in the text,. it sends me to the thumnail list on the side of the paying video when i press the spacebar.
    Dispite all this Nathan, i think you should not sell. If you have the docking keyboard, you have the most versatile tablet on the market right now, untill the ASUS Fone, i believe.
    Truth is that i tend not to trust it. If you use it as a cloud tool it is perfect. Don’t have nothing in it that you depend on. Thats why the USB ports on the Keyboard are so important and make the whole difference.
    Sorry for such a long review…

  9. You should be happy to know that since ICS you can disable ALL non downloaded apps ( my first one was Google+ hehehe)

    About the update issue… try to uncheck the “mobile battery saving mode” voice in the Asus customized settings, you must have the pad docked to the keyboard to be able to do it

    Good luck

  10. I’m still holding out for the Eee Pad Memo 370T.

  11. I am have the same problems. The battery time was resolved by changing screen settings etc but many appt including mail keep crashing. Any news on a potential fix to the update issues?

    • Someone at XDA emailed Asus support and they said that a fix would be coming in a few days. That was over a week ago, though.

      My Transformer has been working fine now for the past 2 days. It’s weird. I did some things to it as mentioned above in the comments and something must have helped.

  12. Wow, I’m glad the mine doesn’t seem to be having any of these problems (knock on wood). Hopefully they’ll get a fix out asap.

  13. Yes, the update is broken.

    It doesn’t matter what the cause, ASUS has screwed up royally. When you are NOT #1, you just can’t afford a screw up like this. I talked innumerable people into a Transformer, simply by using it every day, everywhere. Since the update, more than a dozen, stupid, little problems have happened that never were a problem with the Transformer on Gingerbread. I can’t rely on it anymore. Even worse, ASUS is proving that you can’t rely on them. That ASUS has responded like a deer caught in headlights means that they have really stepped in it, especially after the Prime update debacle. No wonder people are getting rid of their Transformers. It’s not because of ICS on the TF101, it’s because of ASUS and Android. Bummer for ASUS, bummer for us.

  14. …and that’s why I will wait around for the iPad 3.

  15. Also having the same issues. Good thing is that ASUS confirmed couple of days ago that fix is on the way early next week. Also, you can disable apps that you do not use, without rooting. ICS comes with this awesome feature that allows you disable (freeze) and hide them. Google it!

  16. Just in time for the Asus Infinity tablet :)

  17. Well, I must say that I am relieved to read this and now have a clue as to why I have been experiencing so many issues all of a sudden. I am new to this whole tablet thing and I am a bit concerned because up to a few days ago, everything was fine. Several of ya’ll have mentioned that there will a fix by ASUS, so does this mean that our tablets will be back to normal at some point?

  18. I don’t know what some of you are talking about? I have had absolutely zero problems with my transformer. Since the ICS update things are faster, smoother, sleeker, more efficient in virtually every way. The main noticeable change is power distribution. Yes, booting the tablet up takes a little longer, but seriously…a little bit longer. I think it took 10 – 15 sec. to boot up before ICS and now it takes about 30 or 40 seconds. Go get a coffee and quite crying.

    I am more then happy with the ASUS tranformer. I use it to VPN to work or home to accomplish tasks as necessary. I’m in IT and use my tablet all the time. I don’t go anywhere without it. I’m happy with the new update and new look. The Kernel is solid and all my programs are stable, as well. If you are having issues with your tablet I suggest looking at your tablet and quit blaming the coding which is solid.

    • Interesting . . . people don’t usually get so defensive about something like this unless they had a hand in the product or a vested interest of some kind.

      A lot of people have clearly had problems, but not all. I don’t see why you would care if you haven’t. And it’s strange that you mention boot up time and sloppy code when I’ve seen no one complain about either.

  19. Thanks for the info, my Asus tablet is experiencing the shut downs and I thought it was something I had done wrong.

  20. I was very happy with my transformer on honeycomb !

    After Update to ICS, I had reboot, application freeze or force quit and battery drain.
    I decide to make a factory reset.

    It seems to be better, but I still have reboot, freeze and battery drain (no more force quit).

    I’m just dreaming to go back to 3.2 wich seems to be inpossible. I’m waiting for info from asus.

    Too bad, it was a really goot tablet in 3.2

  21. Experiencing the same problem. Takes longer to power on especially since I didn’t power it off but put it to sleep. Another issue flash was acting crazy last night. Had to uninst and reinstall 3 times. No a fan of the new updates and the constant powering issue

  22. I have been having the same problems as described. My browser would start loading a page then close and go back to the home page. Battery life is inconsistent, drains overnight while in standby. Pages seem to take a longer time to load even in Chrome. I have gotten frustrated to the point I use my wifes iPad instead. I would really like to get back to using my TF. It was working so well when I first got it around Christmas.

  23. Another firmware update was available yesterday (march22). I updated this morning — all of the issues of freezing, rebooting, and glitchy battery life seem to have disappeared. I’m not entirely certain about the battery life (not enough time to test it), but the freezing/rebooting have definitely disappeared. I can play some of the games I could not previous to the last update (City Story/Farm Story).

    Hope that helps….

    BG

    • Hope you have better luck than I did with it. I got the update a while ago (there’s a post about it around here somewhere). It seems to have helped somewhat but I’m still getting random reboots in sleep mode and I found it frozen on the boot screen again the other day…

  24. Well, I’m really stuck now. I allowed the upgrade this morning. It worked for a while but now it (self)rebooted and froze on the boot logo. No way to power down! I guess I’ll have to wait for the battery to drain.

    • Just hold down the power button and it will eventually turn off. Then you may have to hold it again for many seconds before it will turn back on.

  25. I just realized that everything you (Nathan) are saying happened to your Asus tablet, is exactly what is happening to my tablet (Asus) especially going off and coming on again on it’s own and this is really annoying. I can’t even power it off or on. What do you guys suggest i do?

    • HELP! What did you do to make it stop turning on and off. I can’t get it to stop looping on and off.

      • Holding the power button for several seconds always worked for me.

        • I try but the definition of insanity keeps playing in my head. Repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I press it for several seconds and it turns on again and just keeps looping…repeatedly. I want to just toss it out the window. I wonder if I just leave it uncharged for a few days perhaps it will fix itself.

  26. I upgraded my Transformer to ICS when it came out, and I’ve had nothing but problems. Gmail crashes frequently, browsers crash often, the tablet locks up and requires hard reboot on occasion. Never had a problem under 3.2. I did do a factory rest, minimal app installs, but still have problems. I’m giving up on the google tablet platform, they are not an operating system company obviously, they are an advertising company.

  27. Did any of you have a problem with opening all the apps after the last update?
    My Asus seems to go crazy…

  28. Ditto, ditto, ditto… I *loved* my Asus eePad Slider until this happened. It is basically bricked now. I have a $600 paperweight. At first after ICS it was unstable and doing weird things. Now, after half a dozen factory resets following directions to “fix” the issues, it barely gets through the initial setup before it dies and shows the wifi signal so low it can’t even connect to get its own damn updates. Right this moment I am googling “how to reflash to honeycomb…” -_- I love this little thing. I want it back. :*( Of course the Slider is the second-class citizen so who knows when or if it will get patched. :(

  29. My ASUS tablet has been acting up for about 6 months now. Initially I had no problem watching videos on websites, now I can’t watch them at all (e.g: abc.com “watch episodes” and end up using splashtop streamer to access my regular computer upstairs and watch the video that way. Any browser I use is SUPER slow and wireless on it in general is horribly slow. Any suggestions appreciated.

  30. My transfomer tab has had no problems since the ics update, i have now rooted the device, installed revolver ics rom and also overclock the cpu to 1.6 ghz . this tablet is amazing and its very rare if anything goes wrong, battery life is good and overall performance is superb. I would highly recommend.

  31. Since the ICS update my tablet has been unusable. It keeps crashing randomly, and for no apparent reason all of the icons will disappear from the home screen. It is still within it is 1 year warranty and I tried to reason it to the store (UK), and got the response below. Anybody know if there is any legal recourse against the store and/or manufacturer in cases like this?

    Response (Lorraine Veitch) 29/05/2012

    Good Morning Mr Phelps

    Thank you for your further email regarding your Asus tablet.

    Upon speaking to the Manager of our Colchester store I am advised that diagnostic checks have been completed on your product and no fault could be located. It was thoroughly tested and confirmed to be working as it should and within the perimeters of the manufacturer’s specification. We can only comply with our engineer’s diagnostic inspection. Our Multi media Department did suggest that running too many applications in the background can cause the problem you are having.

    However, in view of your dissatisfaction, as a precautionary measure, arrangements have been made to return your tablet to Asus for further inspection and diagnostic check. Upon the engineer’s report a decision will then be made as to what action will be taken to resolve the matter. Our store will contact you as soon as your product is returned from the manufacturer.

    Meanwhile, please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused.

    Regards

    Comet Group Ltd

  32. I’ve had the same problems since Ics… since the last update it’s better, no more reboots, battery drains… but still applications crashes, no more icons/widgetson my Home screen, Agenda crashing some times,…

    I hope Asus will solve that in the a next update.

  33. I agree with all the comments saying that the Transformer is almost unusable after the ICS update. The email app is almost unusable and freezes every few days after I do a reset. The Dolphin tab browser crashes all the time. The overall performance is absolutely sluggish. Apps crash all the time. Even the launcher crashes! None of these were issues before the ICS update. I don’t even see what benefits the TF got after that. Not sure what to do next, but this thing is almost unusable now.

    • I wrote this article quite a while ago and it’s odd to still see people experiencing a bunch of problems with the ICS update. Subsequent updates (I think there was even another one last week) have put my Transformer back into good standing. I don’t get freeze-ups at all anymore, and haven’t had it get stuck in a restart loop for a couple of months. The browser is still prone to crashing a lot, but then again it does that on other tablets too. I’ve started using Chrome instead.

  34. All of these “fixes” amd I still have issues with my tablet. A fw times a day (as I leave an app) the home screen loses all icons. I recover by cycling power. Very frustrating since this device was solid prior to ICS.

    I saw that AT$T (the dollar sign was intentional) has rolled out ICS for the Note and Skyrocket. In my home we have both and I hesitated on moving to ICS. Thast was a GREAT approach. ICS has crashed on both devices. Amazing to go through the forums and note how many different devices are experiencing similar issues. This is obviously not a hardware specific issue.

    As others have posted in the forums, apps are not the culprit either. The linux operating system has a protected area that apps cannot access. Since apps cannot access the protected area, apps cannot be the cause.

    ICS is the only common denominator here.

    Sadly,I am going to follow some advice on the forums, root the tablet, and roll back to gingerbread. At least everything worked on GB.

    What will Jelly Bean do to us?!

  35. I updated my Lenovo tablet to ICS from 3.x
    and started having problems too. Big battery drain etc…

    I then try doing a factory reset.

    Now it is all good again.

  36. Some 2+ years later and my ASUS TF101A goes thru cycles of crashing spontaneously rebooting, sometimes 2 to 4 times; then nothing for a couple days.

    I’ve read on several sites that you CAN root your TF101 and install Android 4.1.1 to 4.4. There are even a few YouTube videos on how to do this. I am fed up with the state this TF101 w/keyboard is in and that ASUS support for older Tablets is NON EXISTANT. I will NEVER buy any ASUS product after this. Which is odd to say because I’ve had both 1st and 2nd generation Nexus 7 tablets (both made by ASUS for Google) and neither has any problems and in fact been superior to any other Tablet I’ve owned including a 1st and 3rd Gen iFads. Clearly the credit goes to Google’s Nexus team, and even my 1st Gen Nexus 7 just received the Android 5.0 update. Anything from the jerks at ASUS for the TF series? Hell NO!!

    Check out doing the Android 4.x update on your TF series.

    • I agree. It seems that all ASUS cares about is getting 50 different tablets on the market. They don’t care about the older models at all. My TF101 died promptly after the warranty was up, the screen turned red and that was it. I also had a TF700, a supposed “premium” tablet. They screwed up the memory on it so it had problems too. The only way to make the tablet usable was to go in and disable all the ASUS bloatware, and they never updated the software to newer versions. The value of it dropped to practically nothing; it wasn’t even worth the effort to sell it so I gave it away. I will never buy another ASUS tablet again either.