We have several flavors of AOSP-based Android builds here on XDA-Developers, and each one of them brings something new to the table. It could be the originality of CyanogenMod that floats your boat, or maybe some of the advanced control features in Paranoid Android. Whatever your motivation to sail through the sea of custom ROMs on XDA, there is one thing that we are certain of, and that is that your ORD always wants more. But wanting more can sometimes make you feel a little like little Oliver Twist asking for more gruel at the orphanage–particularly if your device is not exactly the center of the developers’ universe. This is the case for Sony’s phablet, the Sony
Xperia Ultra GPe (Google Play Edition). Because of the lack of attraction to the masses, a somewhat high initial price tag, and its pure AOSP (plus gapps, of course), the Z Ultra GPe never really did see a whole lot of developer love.
There are a few unofficial builds out there for ROMs like Carbon and Slimkat, but that is it or rather I should probably say that was it. As of yesterday, XDA Senior Member Jiangyi has managed to successfully bring another contender to the AOSP scene for this device. OmniROM for this particular device is on KitKat 4.4.4, and it is an unofficial build until deemed stable enough to become “official.” Despite this, you can find all the support and relevant information, which you have come to expect from the team, which that has made this project grow since its birth last year.
The build itself is bound to have issues, particularly as the later versions of KitKat (4.4.3 and up) have been plagued with bugs due to the unlocking of the bootloader’s effect on parts of the device’s hardware, such as the camera (Sony Xperia Z1 owners might be able to tell a few stories here). Now, why would functionality of a GPe device be limited when the bootloader is unlocked… Well, that is anyone’s guess at this point. In any case, if you are feeling anxious to flash something (anything) onto your Sony Z Ultra GPe, now is your chance.
You can find more information in the original thread. If you are curious about the bugs, Jiangyi has provided a link to the official bug tracker. Please feel free to leave your feedback in the thread. Happy flashing!
June 27, 2014 By: egzthunder1
With the unveiling and release of Android L Developer Preview, Android 4.4.4 doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. While many people are quick to speculate about their carrier/OEM’s course of action with this latest variant of KitKat, many OEMs will undoubtedly skip this version altogether and go straight for L once it’s released in late Fall or early Winter.
Those eagerly waiting 4.4.4 will likely be happy to know that this OTA started rolling out on various devices earlier today–namely the Xperia Z1, Z1 Compact, and Z Ultra. It also made its way to the LG G Pad 8.3 GPe. Now, one more GPe device makes it to 4.4.4, and that’s the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition.
As expected from the rather short list of changes in Android 4.4.4, the update comes in at a paltry 2.9 MB. But don’t let the small size fool you, as this update actually fixes some features broken by the device’s 4.4.3 update. For those who aren’t aware, the 4.4.3 update earlier this month had a nasty side effect of rendering the camera useless. This was an issue present on a deep level, as it affected functionality regardless of camera app. Now, there are reports from various users stating that the camera is indeed fixed with this update.
If you were holding off on upgrading your Z Ultra GPe, now is a good chance to do give it a try. You can find more information in the original thread. The update itself has not yet been captured and mirrored, but it’s only a matter of time once more users receive it.
June 6, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android KitKat 4.4.3 has been released for the Nexus 5 and many more Nexus devices! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that OmniROM nightlies are now based on Android 4.4.3 and Google announced a new Project Tango tablet! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for OK Google for 3rd Party Launchers. Then, Jordan talked about Portal and Half-Life 2 on the Nvidia Shield. Finally, TK gave us a an Android App Review of Gallery Plus. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
June 3, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Today will undoubtedly be remembered the day of Android 4.4.3–at least among us die hard Android fans. Immediately following yesterday’s official release, we’ve seen quite a bit of Android 4.4.3-related activity. Early this morning, we saw the Android 4.4.3 OTA make its way over to the WiFi-only variant of the Google Nexus 7 (2013). Just a few hours later, we talked about all of the changes made in 4.4.3. Not too long after, Motorola began updating its “Moto” devices to 4.4.3. And finally, Google began rolling out the 4.4.3 incremental OTA to the flagship Nexus 5.
Now, we’ve just gotten word that Android 4.4.3 has started making its way out to various Google Play edition devices. The first to receive the updates are the Google Play editions of the HTC One M7, HTC One M8 (2014), Galaxy S 4, and Sony Z Ultra. For those keeping track, we’re still waiting for updates on the GPe variants of the LG G Pad 8.3 and Moto G. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if these updates surface rather quickly–especially the update for the G, in light of Motorola’s announcement earlier.
Naturally, these updates will make their way out to consumer devices via staged OTA rollouts. As such, not every device will be in the initial wave. However, XDA Recognized Contributor / “Resident Archivist-in-Chief” oldblue910 has an utterly fantastic series of stock OTA reference threads for all current GPe and Nexus devices.
Finally, HTC has gone ahead and published the GPL-mandated kernel source code for the two HTC GPe updates above.
Let’s not act too surprised at the expedient release of these updates. After all, due to the lack of OEM customizations and direct updates from Google, this is to be expected. That said, today’s a very good day for GPe device owners.
PS. Don’t forget to show your appreciation to oldblue910 for taking the time to maintain these OTA reference threads by clicking “thanks” on his thread OPs if you haven’t already!
April 19, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that a few days ago, Sprint jumped the gun a little bit in stating that Android 4.4.3 would be rolling out for the Google Nexus 5 in waves, starting on April 14th. Well, the 14th has come and gone, and the Nexus 5 is still without 4.4.3. And in fact, Sprint even removed mention of KTU84F from their support page recently.
Despite the temporary delay, we’re still quite confident that we will see this maintenance update’s eventual release in the relatively near future. And as if the mystery build sightings and Sprint’s support page weren’t enough, we’ve now gotten word that the Google Play edition of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra has received Bluetooth certification for its Android 4.4.3 update. The Android build number is KTU72, and the device-specific software version number is S1.3013.
Given Sprint’s retraction, as well as sightings on various Nexus and GPe devices, it’s highly likely that Google is holding off on rolling out the update until all devices in the current Nexus and GPe lineup are ready for the 4.4.3 goods. What are your thoughts, and what bug fixes are you hoping for most in this release? Let us know in the comments below!
February 14, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android KitKat 4.4.2 is now available for the unlocked and developer edition HTC Ones! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that CyanogenMod 11 Milestone 3 is available for 50 devices and their is now a way to turn your Moto G into a Play Edition! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for Complete Action Plus, Jordan taught us about ART the Android Runtime compiler, and TK gave us an Android App Review of Quickr. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
January 14, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that the highly regarded Moto G has been a major success ever since its launch a few months back. The device, which doesn’t delude itself with false flagship aspirations still manages to deliver a fantastic user experience. And perhaps more importantly, it does this at a price that doesn’t break the bank. Now, Google has just made the Moto G that much more enticing, by releasing the Moto G Google Play edition for the same $179 price that made the original device so ground-breaking.
Though recent Moto G purchasers may be upset to learn that a new GPe version is available, there will undoubtedly be ports made in no time, and we’ll be sure to cover them here on the Moto G section of the XDA Portal. Furthermore, the GPe variant of the G may not feature the same Dalvik and Bionic optimizations that make the current device so efficient. But if that’s the case, putting them back will be no issue.
At these prices, and now that there’s a GPe version, there’s almost no reason not to love the Moto G.
Let us know your thoughts on the newest member of the GPe family in the comments below, and make your way over to the Google Play Store links to get yours:
And of course, don’t forget to visit our Moto G forum, where you’ll be able to find all of the latest development work on Motorola’s fantastic little device!
December 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We first got word that 4.4.2 was being released to the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition earlier today, when XDA Forum Member cob2004 posted a few screenshots and detailed his experiences with the update. In addition to bumping up the Android version to 4.4.2, the 444.1 MB full install OTA also fixes a few of the very annoying bugs plaguing the device including not being able to access security settings and not being able to uninstall apps.
Along with the update, Sony has also released the corresponding open source files for KOT49H. These come in at a healthy 534 MB and can be downloaded over on Sony’s Developer World.
After a very slow trickle of a few devices initially receiving the update, the signed OTA update has now been captured and mirrored thanks to XDA Forum Member sfagundes! Instead of waiting for the OTA, you can sideload it now by grabbing it from this thread and then performing the adb sideload <filename> command, with your device in recovery.
If you’re a Z Ultra GPe owner, we can only imagine how hard you’ve been lusting for this update. Now that it’s finally here, did it end up fixing all the glitches for you? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!
December 14, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just yesterday, we wrote about how the HTC One Google Play edition had started to receive its Android 4.4.2 OTA and how the update links were captured for your sideloading pleasure. At that point, we knew it was only a matter of time before the same would be said for the Samsung Galaxy S 4 GPe. Now, that time is here, and the update has begun rolling out to SGS4 GPe devices everywhere.
The update for the GT-I9505G comes in the form of a 57.4 MB incremental OTA update, and it brings you to version KOT49H.S0001.131204. This update comes a day after Samsung posted the kernel source and modules to its open source release center for version ML4.
Although this is a staged rollout, you can get in on the action a bit early by downloading the update directly from Google’s servers (link courtesy of XDA Senior Member EthanFirst). Alternatively, Recognized Contributor Danvdh has also mirrored the update over at AndroidFileHost.
Have you updated your SGS4 GPe to Android 4.4.2 already? If so, how do you like it? Feel free to let us know your experiences in the comments below!
[Many thanks to everyone who sent this in!]
December 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just a few short days ago, we saw Android 4.4.2 roll out to the current Nexus fleet. And two days after that, Google published the source code and factory restore images for this latest version. Now, we’re happy to report that the Android 4.4.2 update has now begun rolling out to the Google Play edition of the HTC One.
The update comes in the form of a staged rollout, so not everyone will receive the update immediately. However, we’ll be sure to report back as soon as the update links are captured. However, that’s not all the news. In addition to rolling out the update to end users, HTC has also released the GPL-compliant kernel source code for the Android 4.4.2 update, as well as proprietary framework files for the device.
Developers looking to start building Android 4.4.2 from source for the HTC One should make their way over to the HTCDev Devcenter download links below:
Good job, HTC, on getting this ready so quickly. Have you received Android 4.4.2 on your HTC One GPe yet? If so, or if you’re impatiently waiting for your turn, be sure to share your experiences in the comments below. Also make your way to this thread in the the HTC One forums to get your hands on the OTA URL as soon as it is captured.
December 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Two new devices have entered the Google Play edition family. They are the LG G Pad 8.3 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Curiously, though perhaps indicative of Sony’s commitment to provide a true Google experience, they’ve dropped the Xperia moniker in the Z Ultra.
Both devices have landed in the Google Play Store, packing the same hardware that we’ve seen in their retail variants, but devoid of their typical OEM skins that normally obfuscate the Android experience. They both pack Android 4.4 KitKat, although it is unclear if they will have the newly released 4.4.1 or 4.4.2 goods.
The G Pad 8.3 GPe comes in at a relatively wallet-friendly price of $350 USD. For this money, you get a device packing an 8.3″ 1080p display, 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600, 2 GB of RAM, a 4600 mAh battery, and an all-aluminum back coming in at just 8.3 mm.
If the G Pad 8.3 GPe is the world’s first Google Play edition tablet, the Z Ultra GPe is the world’s first Google Play edition phablet. The Z Ultra GPe will set your wallet back a bit more, at $650 USD. For that price, you get a 6.4″ 1080p display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800, 2 GB of RAM, 7 bands of LTE, and a 3000 mAh battery.
You can get your hands on the two devices by visiting the Google Play edition Devices Page in the Google Play Store. You can also find direct links below, for your convenience:
Are you planning on making one of these devices yours, or would you rather buy the standard variant and load a GPe-derived ROM like what we’ve seen available for the other two GPe devices? Let us know in the comments below!
[Thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog for the tip!]
August 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Nine days after the release of Android 4.3, the update to the latest flavor of Jelly Bean has started rolling out to the Google Play editions of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One. Whether you’re building AOSP-derived ROMs for their vanilla variants or are simply an end user of their aforementioned Google Play editions, these are exciting times.
The two Google Play edition devices received their updates in a rather timely manner. Though the update wasn’t quite as expedient as it was on Nexus devices—most Nexus devices, that is. And as expected (and legally mandated by the GPL), the sources and framework files were made available before the OTA release.
Those looking to get in on the discussion should visit the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One forums. Inside, you’ll find various captured links for the Galaxy S 4 and HTC One OTAs. I’ve included one for each device in the links below. And if you’re looking to build a ROM for the devices from source, kernel sources and binaries for their respective devices can be found below as well.
HTC One – HTC Dev Center
Samsung Galaxy S 4
The interwebz are alight. Debate and argument is intense, following the launch of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, Google Play editions. The Google Play edition moniker, for those (such as I) who choose to reside under a rock, refers to the fact these devices come minus the manufacturer skins and modifications users are accustomed to, and instead ship with the “stock” Google experience, most commonly seen from AOSP or Nexus devices. A fair idea, it appears, although the launch has been met with controversy and debate over if these new handsets are a let-down. Why? Let’s take a look:
The final point I’ll cover is a long point. This does’t intend to cover every possible angle of argument over the Google Editions, rather give a flavor of what’s going on. I believe that to sum up the anger and defense being seen from different people, we need to look at a bit of history. The first “Google” phone was the T-Mobile/HTC G1, which brought Android to the market for the first time as part of the Open Handset Alliance. This device ran pure, stock, out-the-box, Android. And boy was such early “pure Android” ugly.
The next “Google” device was the Nexus One. At this time, the Nexus devices seemed to be more developer-oriented devices, used to give developers a reference device to work on the platform, and the latest version of Android. And herein lies the problem: Google has put their name to the “Nexus” range of devices.
I believe the problem is confusion. There are too many similar schemes on the go, with similarly confusing names. I have bolded these names to draw attention to the issue and confusion. First, there’s AOSP, the Android Open Source Project. If you build AOSP for a device, you’ll get a vanilla, plain experience on your device. It’s also entirely open source. Many of the device’s features won’t work without “proprietary binaries,” which are added into AOSP as binaries (e.g. graphics drivers etc). ROMs such as CyanogenMod, AOKP and ParanoidAndroid are generally derived from AOSP, and the sources for these are available to download and modify freely. If a device is supported by AOSP, it’s possible for the user to compile the ROM entirely, and thus ensure their device receives updates to the latest versions of Android (barring compatibility issues with the proprietary blobs, which may need updates for major revisions)
Next up is the Nexus range of devices. As mentioned previously, the Nexus moniker is for the range of (usually) Google-sold devices, which have easily unlocked bootloaders, and ship with vanilla Android, and prompt updates for 2 or 3 revisions of Android. There is an often overlooked distinction between Nexus devices and AOSP. The former has Google proprietary applications installed, and the fact a Nexus device is released does not necessarily mean it is available in AOSP. This was shown by Google when JBQ announced the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (LTE) wouldn’t be part of AOSP (at the time).
Now let’s introduce Google Play Editions. These phones are sold via the Google Play Store (like the Nexus devices currently are), but will have software updates delivered by the OEMs, rather than Google. They also feature modifications to the pure Android experience (e.g. the HTC One has a toggle for Beats Audio, and Sense frameworks in the ROM). To back this statement, the repacked Google Play Edition HTC One ROM weighs in at a whopping 432.29 MB. In contrast, an AOSP build with Google Apps weighs in at around 250 MB, even on an XXHDPI device. Clearly, these devices are not running the same software.
Still with us? I’d honestly be surprised if anyone is still able to make sense of this. I believe the issue here is to do with branding. There are too many terms being used to describe devices that have the “Vanilla Android” experience. Personally, I won’t be buying any of these devices, because I want proper AOSP support for my phones and tablets. Ironically enough, I don’t even run a “stock” ROM on my Nexus 10. Instead, I choose to use a compiled AOSP ROM with some changes. Ironically enough, the only two devices I use the way they came out of the box are Sony devices. Yes, Sony, the company that actively contributes towards efforts to make their devices compatible with AOSP.
Perhaps, just perhaps, I’ve found something here. The OEM with the most “usable” default software is also the OEM who makes it easiest for me to change to AOSP if I don’t like it, giving them a motivation to get their software right. Perhaps these Google Play Experience devices will help, and show OEMs that customers want more choice and the ability to run unmodified software. My biggest concern is that of the updates. Users are still reliant on their OEM for the kernel that Google includes in the updates, and there’s no suggestion any of these devices will find their way into AOSP. As such, I find it impossible to recommend a Play Edition device, at least until things are clearer. OEMs, unless you are Sony, give up on making software, and sell your devices based on the hardware. Put the device into AOSP, and stop worrying about software, let people who understand it deal with it.
Google could sort out this nonsense, and start being more bullish with their suppliers: “Want your chip in our latest phone, which will sell millions of units worldwide? Sure, once you open-source the drivers and agree to put them into AOSP. Not so keen? We’ll just give the contract to your rival then, no loss to us. What’s that? You’re reconsidering. How nice, but since you seem hesitant, we want the chip firmware in AOSP as well”.
The mobile market is frankly absurdly backward and defensive of their source code—almost as much as the graphics chip market. Dear Qualcomm, Samsung, and every other mobile chip maker: GROW UP. Make your code open source. Your rivals aren’t going to copy it or benefit from it because you are all working on the “next generation” right now. And if they do, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?