Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Unlock, Backup Blobs and Enable nvFlash

Unlocking The Asus Transformer Prime TF201 on Jellybean 4.1.1

This tutorial will show you how to unlock the bootloader on the Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Tablet, running Android 4.1.1 jellybean, along with backing up your blobs and enabling nvflash. You can just unlock the bootloader and happily go about flashing roms, however if you brick your tablet you have no way to then recover.

Now that the AndroidRoot team have given us the tools required to gain access to our blobs and nvflash we would be silly not to back them up at the same time. If the worst did happen and you brick your Transformer Prime TF201 at a later date, you can then recvover it and are not left with an expensive paper weight.

The information in this tutorial is based on the excellent work by the AndroidRoot team over at: https://www.androidroot.mobi/pages/guides/tegra3-guide-nvflash-jellybean/  I have simply covered the whole process from the initial unlocking, to backing up our blobs and finally gaining nvflash access.

In this tutorial i use Windows 8, however you will be able to follow this perfectly on Windows 7, and earlier versions of Windows too.

Unlocking the Transformer Prime TF201 on Jellybean 4.1.1

To get started we are going to unlock the Transformer Prime TF201’s boot loader, this will allow us to flash custom roms and recovery images, so lets get started.

  1. Download the UnLock Device App V6, unzip this and then copy this to your Transformer Prime TF201  internal memory.
  2. Install the APK like you would any other app.
  3. Load theUnlock Device App, and agree to the terms and conditions

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Unlock

This is where you could either be happily on your way, or waiting for the Asus servers to respond for hours, weeks or even months going by what some people have said on the XDA forums. I kept getting a network connection error trying to unlock my prime, my network connection was fine. Apparently this is an extremely common, and annoying problem. After a lot of messing about I gave up, came back to my prime later and managed to unlock first time.

You will be asked to verify your Google account password to unlock, if you have two factor authentication enabled you will have to generate an individual app password on the Google accounts settings website to enter here. With two factor authentication your normal Google account password will not work here.

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Unlock

All been well your device will re boot and unlock its self. From now on when your Transformer Prime TF201 boot’s you should see a message in the top left of the screen stating “This device is unlocked”.

Backing up your Blobs and Enabling Nvflash access:

Now your Asus Transformer Prime is unlocked we have enough access to backup your blobs and enable access to nvflash, this essentially will allow you to recover your Transformer Prime if something really bad goes wrong at a later date, essentially making your Tablet un brickable.

You will need to download Fastboot, which is part of the Android SDK, i have provided it as a download here to save you messing about installing the SDK

Download: Fastboot

To keep things simple unzip and copy the contents of the fastboot.zip to C:\fastboot

Next download Flatline for the Transformer Prime (hosted on androidroot.mobi)

This also must be unzipped to the C:\fastboot folder too.

The contents of C:\fastboot should now look like this:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Fastboot Files

Now switch your Transformer Prime off, hold the volume key down on the left hand side, and press the power button. You should now see the boot menu.

Using the volume down button move along to the USB icon, then press volume up, you should then end up in fastboot.

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Boot Menu

Connect the Transformer Primes USB cable to your PC, it might be an idea to check in device manager to ensure you do not need to install any drivers:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Windows 8 Drivers

If you do need to install some drivers the Universal Naked Driver 0.72 worked fine on Windows 8.1 for me. I did however have to re start Windows in test mode to allow the unsigned drivers to be installed.

Download Universal Naked Driver 0.72

Presuming you have drivers installed and are now ready to go Open up a Command Prompt window in C:\fastboot, to get to C:\fastboot you can type “cd C:\fastboot” without the quotes and press enter.

Type fastboot -i 0x0b05 flash recovery flatline_tf201.img

The Flatline recovery image should be flashed to your Transformer Prime:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Flatline Recovery Flash

A blue bar will also be shown on the Transformer Primes screen indicated that flashing succeeded.

After the flash process has completed you will need to reboot your Transformer Prime TF201  into recovery mode.  It is important that you reboot completely rather than directly enter recovery. If you don’t there is a risk that this process could fail.

This time powering the Transformer Prime TF201  on with the volume button held down select “RCK” on the boot menu to launch the Flatline recovery:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Boot Menu

When in the recovery select advanced:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Bootloader Flash 1

Then select wheelie:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Bootloader Flash 2

Note: this process could brick your device, so remember you are doing so at your own risk, i will not buy you a new tablet if you brick it.

So agree that you could harm your device:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Bootloader Flash 3

Finally click on Step 1: Flash AndroidRoot BL, this will flash the AndroidRoot custom boot loader:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Bootloader Flash 4

The Transformer Prime TF201  will power off. Power theTransformer Prime TF201 back on and allow it to boot normally into Android. Once the device has fully booted please turn the Transformer Prime off, then reboot the device back into recovery mode.

Once your prime has booted into recovery again, you need to select “Step 2: Generate wheelie blobs” from the wheelie menu in the  advanced options:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Bootloader Flash 5

This will generate your nvflash blobs and if a wifi connection is able to be initialised, it will upload the blobs for safe keeping to the AndroidRoot webserver (there is nothing confidential about your encrypted nvflash blobs). After blob generation is complete, please follow the on the screen prompt to retrieve your blobs from the /data partition.

With the Command Prompt window still open in C:\fastboot type adb pull /data/media/AndroidRoot

You should have the following 7 files download from your Transformer Prime:

  • recovery.bct
  • create.bct
  • bootloader.ebt
  • blob.log
  • blob.bin
  • pt_restore.log
  • pt_patch.log

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Blobs Backup

It is important you back all these files up in multiple locations, do not loose them. If you brick your prime it will be your only way to recover.

Using Nvflash:

We now have all we need to use NvFlash

To use Nvflash reboot your Transformer Prime  into APX mode, this is done by holding down the volume up key when powering the Transformer Prime on. If successful the screen should remain blank and be detected over USB by your computer as an NVIDIA APX mode device.

If you have Windows 8.1 you will likely need to go to device manager and install the Universal Naked Driver 0.72 for the NVIDIA APX mode device.

  1. Download Nvflash
  2. Unzip nvflash to C:\nvflash
  3. Copy the 7 files we backed up earlier in to C:\nvflash also:
  • recovery.bct
  • create.bct
  • bootloader.ebt
  • blob.log
  • blob.bin
  • pt_restore.log
  • pt_patch.log

Now if we open a Command Prompt in C:\nvflash this will allow us to boot our Transformer Prime in to Nvflash by typing:

wheelie --blob blob.bin

If successful the Transformer Prime TF201 will boot into nvflash mode and the bootloader screen will appear on the device.

The screenshot below shows the contents of C:\nvflash and the output in the command prompt from the boot process:

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Nvflash

We now have three more important backups to make, type the following commands to backup your bricksafe.img, factory-config.img and unlock-token.img

nvflash --resume --rawdeviceread 0 2944 bricksafe.img

nvflash --resume --read 14 factory-config.img

nvflash --resume --read 7 unlock-token.img

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Nvflash

Store these backup safely along with your blob files.

That it, you have now unlocked your Transformer Prime TF201, and created the relevant backups to recover your tablet with Nvflash in the event you accidentally brick it.

Please note the tools and a lot of the information in this tutorial has been provided by the Android Root website https://www.androidroot.mobi/pages/guides/tegra3-guide-nvflash-jellybean/

I have simply tried to document everything, including the initial unlocking of the Transformer Prime from start to finish, with screenshots and detail to allow a less experienced user to complete the process with confidence. Nothing here would be possible without the hard work of the Android Root team.

Hopefully my experience of unlocking and preparing my Transformer Prime TF201 for custom roms has given you the confidence to do this with your own tablet too. Sadly Asus have not issued an official update for the Transformer Prime TF201 since my guide on How to Root Transformer Prime TF201 After Jellybean 4.1.1 Update, which i wrote well over a year ago now. I think its safe to say if we want newer versions of Android custom roms are now a must. Now we can backup our blobs and access nvFlash i thought this was a good time to finally unlock my prime, given the only benefit to keeping it locked was OTA updates from ASUS.

Asus Transformer Prime TF201 Unbricking:

This is something that gets asked a lot in the comments, i cant personally share my experience with unbricking  the Prime TF201 as i have never bricked mine, and dont intend to try and do so. However i did contact someone on the Android Root Team as to why no information was available on recovering from a brick, basically depending on the brick they could be several different things that need to be done, so the Android Root team recommend you contact them directly for assistance with unbrcking.

To quote part of the email i got:

We purposely left out the advanced guides as we feel it’s just not possible to write something generic. In most cases, people tend to mess things up more when following random unbrick guides.

We prefer people stopping by the irc channel on freenode.net #asus-transformer and get hands-on help to avoid any unnecessary grievance.Android Root Team

So with that in mind install an IRC client (mIRC works well in Windows) then connect to freenode.net and join #asus-transformer.

My only concern is the Android Root Team might not be around forever… so if someone ever does go through the unbricking process i would personally love to see a blog about this.

Doom 3 Android Port, Complete with Internet / Network Play

Doom 3 Logo

Doom 3 the epic science fiction horror first-person shooter game, originally released in 2004 on PC has now been ported to Android.

Doom 3 is set in 2145 on Mars, where a military-industrial conglomerate has set up a scientific research facility to research into fields such as teleportation, biological research and advanced weapons design. However, the teleportation experiments inadvertently open a gateway to Hell, resulting in a catastrophic invasion by demons.

The Android Port of Doom 3 requires a high end Android device to play smoothly. A nice bonus is the Doom 3 Android port even has functional network play. I was successfully able to use my Android device to play multiplayer with Doom 3 running on my Windows 8 based PC. I imagine this will also work over the internet if you can manage to enter your serial number on the Android version of the game.

I tested the Doom 3 Android port on my Asus Transformer Prime Android Tablet. With the lighting effects switched off the game ran rather smoothly, even with 4x AA (anti analysing) enabled. However with the advanced lighting effects enabled Doom 3 ran extremely jerky to the point where it was not really playable.

Doom 3 Android Port Gameplay:

I’ve created a gameplay video showing the Doom 3 Android Port running on my Asus Transformer prime Android tablet, the video includes a networked game against my PC and the first few minutes of the single player campaign:

Doom 3 Android Port Setup Instructions:

So you have seen the video and want to try get the game running on your tablet? here’s now!

First you will need the original Doom 3 installed on your PC, if you are installing from a disc copy you must also download and install the Doom 3 1.3.1 patch. If you own the game on steam just download Doom 3 and follow the instructions below.

On your Android devices internal memory or sdcard, a folder called diii4a must be created in the root of the storage device. Inside this folder copy the base folder from the Doom 3 install on your PC to your Android device.

Doom 3 Android, Base Folder Copy

 

Next download gl2progs.zip and unzip this folder inside the base folder on your Android device, you should end up with the following folder structure on your Android device \diii4a\base\gl2progs

Doom 3 Android gl2progs.zip

Next download the configurations.zip and unzip the two files inside the base folder, as seen below.

Doom 3 Android Configurations

Doom 3 Android Port APK Download:

Now you have file data files for the Android Doom 3 port on your device you need to download the Doom 3 APK and install it

Download Doom 3 Android APK

Unzip this somewhere on your Android device, it doesn’t really matter where as long as you can remember whereto locate it.

Doom 3 Android APK

 

Finally install the APK with your favourite file manager:

Doom 3 Android APK Install

 

After you have installed the Doom3.apk you shroud be able to load Doom 3 up from your app draw and enjoy the game.

Doom 3 Android Screenshots:

Doom 3 Android Gameplay Screenshot

Doom 3 Android Gameplay Screenshot

Links:

If you can read Russian head over to the forum where the person working on Doom 3 for Android is posting updates.

Dolphin Android – An Android GameCube / Wii Emulator

Dolphin Android - GameCube / Wii Emulator for Android

Dolphin Android is a port of the popular Dolphin GameCube / Wii Emulator to Android devices.

Essentially Dolphin is an open source emulator that allows GameCube and Wii games to be played on devices other than the respective consoles. At the moment Dolphin is capable of full speed emulation of almost all Wii / GameCube games on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Dolphin for Android however is still an early alpha and will not emulate any commercial games at present, it is however capable of emulating a few GameCube and Wii tech demos on your Android device.

So although you will probably not be playing Mario Kart Double Dash, Super Smash Brothers or your other favourite GameCube / Wii games with Dolphin Android any time soon its quite possible you will be able to one day.

The developer states the Dolphin Android port is in pre-alpha status, so to expect slow speeds, graphical glitches and a myriad of problems with it.

To use Dolphin Android your Android device must:

  1. Support OpenGL ES 2 (99.8% of the Android Market)
  2. Have at least 1gb of ram

With lower end Android devices approaching 1gb of ram as standard and dual core processors been pretty much standard in Android devices now we could all be enjoying our favorite Wii / GameCube games on our Android devices with Dolphin Android in a couple of years time.

Dolphin is licensed under the GNU GPL v2 licence and the full source code is available to download through the public git repository at: https://code.google.com/p/dolphin-emu/

If you fancy having a mess about with Dolphin Android, download the Dolphin Emulator for Android Pre-Alpha from Google Play.

I have personally had a mess about with Dolphin Android, however couldnt even get any of the tech demos to work on my Galaxy Nexus. Depsite that i think Dolphin Android will be a project to keep an eye on. When GameCube / Wii Emulation is finally possible on Android many classic games will be playable on the go!