Roughly two years ago, Sony Developer World released a story that outlined the process of pushing out an Ice Cream Sandwich-based firmware upgrade for the Xperia line, from source code release to software upgrade. Back then, the process consisted of OEMs waiting for source code release, at which time all of the work would begin. This would naturally lead to extended delays in firmware release, since manufacturers would have no time to prep the firmware release in advance of source code release.
Fast forward two years, and things have changed for the better, at least according to Sony mobile. Thanks to the Android Platform Development Kit (PDK), select OEMs are given access to certain source files and compiled binaries a few weeks in advance of source release in order to help spur the release process. The PDK also includes the Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) and information regarding Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) integration. A closer relationship with Qualcomm further enables the company to push out the firmware releases faster.
To get the full story, be sure to head over to Sony Developer World. It’s good to see Google and OEM partners making progress in the quest towards timely firmware releases. It’s still far from perfect, but baby steps are better than no steps._________