I'm back and so is my TF300. Altogether it's been 6 weeks in the repair shop. To be honest it's been rather a pain using the Asus warranty, but at least I had one. You know, they WILL NOT replace a faulty device no matter what. They just repair and repair and repair. Anyway, so far it's had a new main board and a new touchscreen installed, and I KINDA feel like I paid full price and got a refurbished machine and a huge pain in the @ss for my money, but THAT's another thread.
To continue with my mission:
I tried the method suggested by Good Intentions. The ONLY thing I may have done differently was I used the ww firmware version that was the counterpart of the currently installed Chinese version (aka not the LATEST) version. That might be why it didn't work, as I've read that installing NEWER firmware works better.
I'm pretty hesitant to install the JB update (ie the latest version) right now in case it's unstable and ends up causing further problems on this device, problems that will be no longer covered under warranty if I change out the firmware. If I switch to WWJB there's no way to go back to CNICS, simply so I can take it in under warranty again, huh?
I WILL try flashing to WWJB if no other options present, or if there are no new problems on this unit after two weeks (all the problems so far seem to have materialized within two weeks of purchase/repair).
Steps of My Attempt:
1. Format the external micro SD card
2. Download WW firmware (version V126.96.36.199 Only for WW SKU (Android 4.0.3)) from the Asus website.
3. Unzip it once.
4. Renamed the once unzipped file EP300_SDUPDATE.zip
5. Copy it to the external, freshly formatted, micro SD card.
6. Turn off the TF300
7. Put into recovery by holding down power and volume down.
8. Wait for the white lettering across the top left corner of the screen
The lettering read:
cardhu-user bootloader <2.10 e> released by "TW_epad-188.8.131.52.2-20120809" A03
checking for Android ota recovery
checking for RCK... press key [vol_up] in 5 sec to enter RCK
9. Press volume up ASAP
Received the message:
Booting recovery kernel image
Next, the screen changed to the Android robot guy with his belly panel open and a blue geometric shape turning around in there. Also a blue (progress?) bar across the bottom of the screen.
After a few seconds the Android guy lays on his back with a red triangle containing an exclamation mark above his belly.
Here the screen stops and I had to press volume down to restart the device, and it restarted with no problems and no changes.
I tried this several times without luck.
10. Then I tried unzipping the file one more time and putting both the unzipped once AND the fully unzipped files on the micro SD and repeated the above steps. The result was exactly the same.
Next I am going to retry this process, but this time rename the file to the same name as the Chinese version of ICS (rather than SD Update) and see what happens. Not sure what else to try though, short of attempting an update to WWJB.
Any further thoughts on how to flash to WW without updating or rooting?
Thanks for your suggestions, everybody. I plan on going through them more or less one-by-one from easiest to most complicated until something sticks :P