April 24, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
The Sony Xperia M2 is Sony’s affordable offering for early 2014. While not quite a lust-worthy flagship device like its big brother the Xperia Z2, the M2 is still decently specced, and it offers quite a bit to make it an ideal device for those who don’t need the absolute latest and greatest.
One of the nice software additions found on the M2 is its Smart Social Camera app. Luckily, XDA Senior Member xperiaz2 has ported it to all Xperia devices running either Jelly Bean or KitKat such as the Xperia M, SP, TX, V, Z, Z1, Z1 Compact, ZR, and ZU. The camera app itself offers automatic scene recognition with 36 predefined scene types, and automatic HDR mode. The addons then build on the camera app’s functionality by adding things like portrait retouching and intelligent capture, which can capture 61 frames in two seconds—even before the shutter button is pressed.
If you’ve got an older Xperia device running Jelly Bean or KitKat and you wish to run the latest Smart Social Camera app, head over to the ported application thread and give it a shot.
April 13, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Theming is an art. As such, making a beautiful theme is an extremely time consuming and challenging task. Preparing resources requires countless hours spent in a graphics editor app. Putting everything together into an application isn’t easy, but within XDA you’ll find a long list of guides and tutorials that help you understand the Android ecosystem better.
If you have some ideas regarding theming and don’t know where to start, you should read a guide written by XDA Senior Member SArnab©®. This guide explains how to create a theme in Eclipse for Xperia devices in step-by-step detail. The guide should work with Xperia phones running Android 4.3.
Every step is explained with screenshots and commentary, so you most likely won’t get lost while making your own theme. The guide author was also kind enough to provide all the necessary files and source code for the Xperia Pink Theme, which can be used for reference. And with a few relatively minor modifications, you can make a generic theme that works with every device—not just those by Sony.
This guide is a great starter for those looking to begin a journey in theming. So if you are planning to modify the look of your device, head over to the original thread and study it carefully. We wish you all good luck and no build errors!
April 3, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Although the Xperia SP isn’t yet in the list of devices scheduled to receive the official Android 4.4 goods from Sony, that’s not to say that the SP can’t still benefit from some rather substantial OEM love. Early yesterday, Sony began updating the Xperia SP to firmware version 12.1.A.1.201. While it’s not KitKat, it packs quite a few bugfixes over the previously released 12.1.A.0.266 build.
Just like the previous build, 12.1.A.1.201 is based upon Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. But according to Sony’s update page for the device, it brings an enhanced user experience, improved battery life, and software performance improvements. This, however, doesn’t tell the whole story, as it it seems to have fixed quite a bit more than the official changelog lets on.
For starters, 12.1.A.1.201 seems to fix many issues people were having such as the RAM bug, as well as problem with device overheating, battery usage, color LEDs, screen flickering, touch screen responsiveness, and more. Furthermore, users seem to report an increase in device speed after updating. But even after the update, Bravia Engine still seems to be broken, so hopefully this will be addressed in a future update. To learn more about the 12.1.A.1.201 update itself, head over to Senior Member Amin.HVS‘s update review and Forum Member Rushaan™‘s changelog threads.
So when can you install the update? Well, it’s currently making its rounds through various regions, so there’s a very good chance that your device will receive the OTA soon if it hasn’t already. That said, not every device in every region will have access in the first wave. Luckily, Forum Members Jozinek, chewlohseng, jnocomski, and UltraWelfare have pitched in to share FTF mirrors of the firmware, which can be flashed using Sony’s FlashTool.
Head over to the mirrors below to get started:
[Many thanks to Omessy7 for the tip!]
About a week ago, the Sony Xperia M started receiving its official update to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. While not KitKat, it at least proves that Sony still wants to show its mid-range device some official firmware lovin’. Naturally, many Xperia M Dual (C2005) owners wondered when the dual-sim variant would receive the update. Thankfully, that time is now.
XDA Forum Member navidhz first shared the news early yesterday, and it was later confirmed by Sony on the Xperia M Dual’s official firmware page. And just like its single-SIM sibling, the update brings Android 4.3 and a host of minor improvements such as a smoother UI, an updated battery stamina mode, new first party apps, and security enhancements. But unlike last week’s 15.4.A.0.23 update for the Xperia M, today’s update for the X Dual comes in at version 15.5.A.0.18.
The update is currently rolling out to consumer devices, and should also be available through Sony’s PC Companion. But for those who’d like to install the update a bit more directly, XDA Senior Member mbc07 was kind enough to repackage the update into a flashable FTF.
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter Titokhan for the tip!]
In recent Android releases, Google has become more and more unwilling to cater to the use of external SD cards. It was never quite clear why Google decided to abandon SD card support in their Nexus devices, but many believe this to be due to the added simplicity of removing another storage area.
While Google nixed the idea on its own devices, various OEMs decided to keep SD card slots in their devices. To use them properly, some modifications to Android’s source code were needed. And due to changes in how some later versions of Android handled SD cards, many applications lost the ability to access external SD cards. Luckily, Xposed Framework allows users to modify various aspects of their OS without messing around with the files themselves.
Annoyed by the external storage situation, XDA Senior Member defim created a module to fix the aforementioned issues. The only thing required to apply the fix is to enable the module in the Xposed Installer after successfully installing it on your rooted device.
If you are suffering from external storage handling problems on your Android 4.0.3+ device, make your way to the original thread and give this module a shot.
March 27, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
“What’s the time?” You probably ask yourself this question countless times during the day. One second later, you’re probably checking the time on your smartphone. However, the system clock in the status bar can’t be modified to much without digging into source code of SystemUI.apk.
Most things in Android can be modified without touching code. This is all thanks to XDA Recognized Developer rovo89 and Recognized Contributor Tungstwenty, who created amazing Xposed Framework. With this tool, even stock ROMs can be made usable and freed from inconveniences. The same applies to the status bar clock, which color can be changed automatically when a device is connected to Internet, thanks to XDA Forum Member stanbel and his Xposed module.
With this module, you will no longer require some pesky arrows showing whether the connection is established or not. If your phone has an access to the Web, the clock becomes green. If not, it is black. The module should work like a charm with all devices running Jelly Bean and KitKat. Since it’s a module, it requires your device to be rooted and you need to have Xposed Framework installed.
You can learn more about the module and get the APK by visiting the original thread. If you want to make your status bar clock a bit unique, make your way there to give it a shot.
March 26, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Although Android 4.4.3 is already undergoing internal testing, most devices other than modern flagships have yet to receive an official taste of any version of KitKat. In fact, it’s not uncommon for older or less powerful devices to be prematurely forgotten in update limbo. But rather than complain that they’re not running the latest and greatest firmware, we can at least be happy when they do receive some official firmware love from their OEMs.
The Sony Xperia M is one such device. Shipping with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean nearly a little under a year ago, the device is currently running Android 4.2.2. As of today, however, Sony has issued an OTA update that’s starting to make its way to consumer devices. No, the update’s not to 4.4.2… or even 4.4, but it’s a start.
Today’s firmware update comes in at version 15.4.A.0.23, and it bumps up the Android version to 4.3 Jelly Bean. According to Sony, it brings various improvements ranging from a smoother UI and an improved Battery STAMINA mode to various updated first party apps and security enhancements.
Naturally, this update is not available for every device on every carrier just yet. But thanks to XDA Forum Member 7lucky7, you can get in on the update before your time. 7lucky7 was able to convert the device’s SUS update files into FTF format.
Those looking to get in on the update a bit early should head over to the FTF firmware thread.
[Thanks to raghu and #superuser for the tips!]
The Android OS has been undergoing extensive development for over five years. Through the years, we’ve seen many useful features added, and many of these features were implemented in AOSP, while an equally large number have come from custom ROMs.
One of the main features added recently is profile support. It’s quite a useful feature to have on shared devices such as tablets. Every user can customize his or her profile with favorite apps and settings.
Not too long ago, we talked about a handy Xposed Module by XDA Senior Member safet.me to bring this to earlier Android versions. But if you still prefer to use APKTool, you might want to visit a thread by XDA Forum member durancharles27. With this guide, you will learn how to add profiles to various areas in your ROM such as the power menu or settings page. The method is really easy, and requires you just a few minutes of your time.
While far less convenient and seamless, using methods other than Xposed yields a few advantages. These allow the mod to be integrated into your personal ROM easily without adding additional applications and wasting space. Furthermore, you can do this without having to revert to Dalvik.
To learn more, make your way to the original thread and gather all the necessary information.
March 18, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that this was the Android 4.3 update for the device. Apologies for the mistake.
While several recent high end devices have finally been upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat, many are still running Android 4.3. The T-Mobile Galaxy S III is one of these devices. While it has just started receiving a new it finally received its official Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update.
The update comes in the form of build ID UVUENC2. And while it retains the same Android 4.3 version, it updates your baseband firmware. According to T-Mobile support documents, this 37 MB update is available both via OTA and through Samsung Kies. But if you intend on updating through either of the above methods, you can’t be rooted, and you must have at least 50% battery.
As the update is rolling out in stages, your device may not see the OTA for some time. Luckily, XDA Recognized Developer Synthetic.Nightmare was kind enough to mirror the update for those who would like to install the components manually. Furthermore, since he also includes the modem separately, you can install the update without the modem or the modem without the update.
Those looking to learn more about the update can do so by visiting the update discussion thread. And if you’re looking to get in on the firmware a bit early, head over to Synthetic.Nightmware’s firmware mirror.
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter titokhan for yet another tip!]
Sharing a tablet or phone isn’t anything unusual. Phones very often serve as relaxation tools, or easy-to-use Internet terminals from which you can easily access the web and keep in contact with people you love. At default, phones offer only one user profile, which isn’t ideal if you want to avoid potential changes to your device settings or keep your private data private.
User profiles were added to the OS with Android 4.2, but Google decided to put this feature on tablets only. This left phone users in search of alternative solutions. As you know, Xposed Framework can be used to customize your system and modify things not designed to be modified. XDA Senior Member safet.me ported the multi-user feature to any ROM with Xposed. The module does its job and allows the use of multiple profiles on phones, but two issues are known. The phone app will not work on newly created profiles and module works with AOSP lock screen only.
To test this module in action, go to the original thread. From there, grab the APK, install it, and enable it in Xposed Installer. After a reboot, your phone should support more than one profile.
March 11, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Sony released quite a few of interesting devices in 2013. One of the most successful was the Xperia SP, a device that easily can compete with Nexus 4 and other relatively powerful smartphones. Not too long ago, the Xperia SP was updated to Android 4.3. This gave developers an opportunity to cross more boundaries and limitations.
Xperia devices, although capable of being unlocked, are often locked by carriers. That makes developing for those devices harder, as custom kernels can’t be flashed. All Xperia SP owners with locked bootloaders now have a reason to smile. XDA Forum Member bagyusz used a method developed by XDA Recognized Developer KeiranFTW to create a build of CyanogenMod 10.2 available for locked Xperias.
The ROM uses 2nd-init method, which basically loads a second ramdisk on top of stock kernel. It’s not a new method and was used with an old line of msm7x27 Sony Ericsson devices in the past, but works great and even allows porting newer versions of Android with external kernel modules. A great majority of device features are working already, and the only noticeable bug is GPS. However, the build is quite early and this might be resolved at any moment.
If you are a happy owner of a locked SP, make your way to the development thread to try out some AOSP-derived goodness on your device.
[Thanks to XDA Senior Member mrjraider for the news tip!]
March 6, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Not too long ago, we talked about the HTC Sense-like DO Launcher. But at the time, XDA Recognized Developer doga.ozkaraca‘s application was in early alpha stage, and had much that needed to be done. Then, HTC found out about the developer’s work and decided to send a DMCA letter to take the launcher out of the Play Store.
Despite the hurdles, the developer didn’t give up and decided to make a new version of the launcher with quite a bit reworked, as well as much more stability. A few options have been added like a share button in news reader. And since the developer estimates that 80% of the bugs have been fixed, he now calls the current version a beta. The launcher itself hasn’t changed much since its initial release. Users are still able to read their RSS feeds on their home screens, check the weather forecast, and basically enjoy a Sense 5-like experience on non-HTC devices.
To check out the HTC lookalike launcher on your device, make your way to the application thread and give DO Launcher a shot.
March 6, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
The Xperia product lineup from late 2012 and 2013 was filled with many high quality devices. Good technical specification and substantial developer support made the Xperias T, TL, TX, V, and Xperia SP the right choice for many. And not so long ago, Sony finally released a 4.3 update for those devices.
According to most user reports, everything runs smooth and the newest firmware improved quite a few things without breaking others. But despite this, custom ROM and kernel developers weren’t able to get their hands on the open source files required for development. Having working source code definitely eases the process of porting new Android versions and ironing out existing bugs. Luckily, Sony complied with its GPL requirements and released the related files for kernel 3.4 in a timely fashion. The open source goods can be obtained from the official website as tar.bz2 package:
Kernels based on these files can be built with GCC 4.7 toolchain, which is available in Android’s source. If you want to build your own kernel, head over to the XDA University to find a comprehensive guide to get started with kernel development.