December 30, 2012 By: jerdog
When you purchase a device, it’s always desirable to be able to use it as you wish. Sadly, this is often not the case. This is because most of the time, people purchase devices with a carrier subsidy. What this means is that essentially the carrier is letting you purchase the device at a reduced rate, say $300 off suggested retail, with the terms of a contract stating you will stay with them for (usually) two years. This guarantees that they will keep their ARPU (average revenue per user) over that time.
The trade off is that if you break the contract, they will charge you an ETF (early-termination fee), which adds up to the same amount they “discounted” the phone for, prorated of course. Usually rolled in with that trade off is an agreement between the manufacturer and the carrier that the bootloader is locked, giving the carrier the full control of the device instead of you. Of course, with the talented developers here at XDA-Developers, bootloaders are often hacked, returning the control of the device to the user.
What often doesn’t happen though is manufacturers deciding to give you control of the device on their own, which is exactly what Sony has done with their beta flash tool they call “Emma.” Sure Samsung “leaked” ODIN, but that’s entirely different. This is Sony creating a tool and freely making it available, and then going the extra step to show you how to use it. The tool is for the Xperia S, Xperia Arc, Xperia Arc S, and Xperia T, with more devices to be added in the future. Emma is essentially a “return to stock” tool that will work regardless of what software you currently have installed on your Xperia device, though it does require the bootloader be unlocked which Sony is again more than happy to show you how to do. The other requirements for the tool are that you have Windows installed and a current version of JAVA.
You can use the tool to choose between different stock versions of firmware, which the tool will automatically download for you from Sony’s servers. There are some quirky things with the tool however, with the connection to the Sony servers being temperamental and general JAVA issues. That said, the tool is still in beta, so head on over to the discussion thread to address any issues you might be having and to download the tool.
December 24, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
The latest generation of smartphones has included a range of new displays of varying resolutions and densities. While having access to higher quality displays is a good thing, it is bad when those with older screens don’t get to enjoy the same toys as those with newer screens. One such instance is the very popular Theme Chooser, which is included in CyanogenMod-based ROMs. The newer screen sizes often receive themes compatible with CM9, 10, and 10.1, but themers don’t always add in support for older resolutions. Now, Sony Xperia Arc and Arc S users can use a modified Theme Chooser that allow the use of themes for alternate resolutions.
XDA Senior Member dzolcp released a mod that makes HDPI and XHDPI themes work on the Xperia Arc and Arc S. The mod is not overly complicated, as it’s just a modified themechooser.apk and thememanager.apk. However, it allows users to apply HDPI and XHDPI themes as they would any normal theme, without having to tinker with their device’s DPI.
It should be noted that this is only for ROMs that already have Theme Chooser support. As per the norm, this won’t work on a stock Arc or Arc S ROM. As dzolcp explains:
this mod is just another theme chooser template and it will not work with any rom that not support T-Mobile Engine Theme Chooser
So if you’re running a ROM that has Theme Chooser and you want to flash some of the newer HDPI or XHDPI themes, this is the mod you’re looking for. For download links and install instructions, go to the original thread.
Efforts to compile Android 4.2 ROMs for various devices have been well under way. Now, we’re starting to see some their release around the forums. This includes CM10.1, the Android 4.2 version of CyanogenMod. Now, Sony Xperia Arc and Arc S users can give unofficial CM10.1 a try.
XDA Recognized Developer Zackconsole released the build for the Arc and the Arc S. The ROM is pretty stable, although that shouldn’t be surprising, since 4.2 isn’t an enormous update over 4.1. The issues are pretty standard, and include:
Anymore? Please Report(Don’t get to test as i need to return the device)
Despite the small number of issues, Zackconsole doesn’t recommend people use this as a daily driver because it’s still in its alpha stages. In other words, only give it a shot if you’re willing to bug hunt and help make it better. Users have reported that it is working nearly as well as the device’s CM10 builds, so it may not be very long before the ROM is stable enough to run daily.
For more info, check out the original thread.
October 31, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Over the last month or so, developers have been coming out with various ROM mash-up kangs. So far, we’ve brought you news on the Xperia Pro Pacman ROM and the Galaxy Ace mash up ROM. This time, it’s for the Sony Xperia Arc and Arc S.
As expected, this ROM selects some of the best features from CyanogenMod, AOKP, and ParanoidAndroid. However, XDA Recognized Developer Zackconsole has added a fourth element to this mash up—the inclusion of MIUI. So along with the goodies from the other three AOSP giants, users will have some MIUI goodies as well. The full, and gigantic, feature list includes:
Multi-switchable view either vanilla/miui/anything
SMS & MMS
Camera Recording 720p
UMS USB Connection
MIUI Music/Explorer/LBE Guard(Security)/MiuiVideo
Miui Launcher(FreeLauncher Supported)
This is definitely an interesting option for those who are tired of the usual ROMs, and want to try something new. There are a few bugs associated with the ROM. However, it’s usually something fixable and nothing overly serious. This is more than ready to be a daily driver.
To learn more, go to the original thread.
Finding a good set of tweak can sometimes be difficult. While there are popular choices available, some users would prefer to have many such tweaks in a single package. This is exactly what Supremacy Script by XDA Senior Member emwno hopes to accomplish.
It was initially released for the Sony Xperia Arc. However, the script should be compatible with most devices. A few of the features include:
-Better ram allocation
-More free ram (clearing cache)
-UI processed by GPU
-Loopy smoothness tweak
-Apps zipaligned at every boot
-SQlite database optimizations
-Smoother LWP animation
-more i don’t remember
-All devices with init.d support
-All GB ROMs
-All ICS ROMs
-All JB ROMs
While there is still a lot of testing to be done, the results thus far are promising according to those who have tried. The script has been shown to work on pretty much every phone tested so far and on every Android OS from Gingerbread on up sans Honeycomb. If you’re looking for a quick, recovery-flashable tweaking script, this one may be one for you.
To learn more, check out the original thread.
Replacing hardware can be tricky business. You have to not only be careful of all the small and extremely breakable parts, but you also have to make sure you’re taking it apart correctly and putting it back together just right. For some devices, there are comprehensive video tear downs, but for others it’s pretty much guess work. For the Sony Xperia Arc and Arc S, you now have a guide as well.
The guide focuses on replacing the phone cover. However, since that involves basically disassembling the phone entirely, then it could also be used to replace other pieces of hardware. Written up by XDA Forum Member arcs_austria, the guide comes complete with written instructions as well as a full compliment of pictures to aid in the tear down.
Users are only required to have a few tools. A Torx screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, and something to pry the device apart. You can get a case separator tool, but arcs_austria states that a guitar pick or a sharpened credit card works as well. From there, it’s taking out all the pieces, making the hardware exchange and reversing the process. Of course, there is always a risk that this could permanently damage your phone, so be sure to use the utmost caution when disassembling.
For more info, check out the original thread.
August 25, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
It seems as though no device’s development is complete without a toolkit. Many devices have them, and many of them are compatible with more than one device. Some are pretty well known too, such as mskip’s Samsung Universal Toolkit or hasoon2000′s HTC toolkits. Despite being well known for cross device development sharing, there isn’t yet such a toolkit for the Sony Xperia 2011 lineup.
Looking to fill that hole is ROM Hub. Developed by XDA Senior Member xdevilium, the toolkit is compatible with a large number of Sony Xperia devices, including:
And there are a few more. The features of the toolkit are as expected for such a release, and include a number of features including:
Download and install stock firmware – Not all firmwares are online.
CWM for locked bootloader – untested.
Root – GB only.
Unroot – GB only.
Flash system image
Erase Data and Cache.
Install update.zip – not ROM zip.
Install ROM addons.
Install Boot animations – please suggest more.
XRH Backup – Backup & Restore system, data and cache.
XRH Nandroid Backup – Make a Nandroid backup when the device on.
NEW: Adding ICS Firmwares!
The toolkit is a very new release. New that the firmwares aren’t done uploading yet, so do give it some time before you start downloading all the stock firmwares you need. Also, users have reported that some anti-virus websites pop up a warning. These are false positives, as many flash tools are incorrectly marked as trojans. To learn more, head over to the original thread.
Getting a device rooted is always a big deal. After all, the vast majority of cool stuff created by our developers requires root access. As such, devices get rooted pretty often. However, then there are firmware updates. In most cases, it’s a small update, and rooting again is no big deal. Other times, it’s going to a whole different version of Android. Many devices have received official updates from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich, but once there, there’s still going from 4.0.3 to 4.0.4. For users of the Sony Xperia Arc, Pro and Arc S, there is no need to worry because 4.0.4 has already been rooted.
The method was originally posted by XDA Senior Member Overlo4d as a way to help get Xperia Pro, Arc, and Arc S users to rooted 4.0.4. However, the method could be a tad convoluted for some, so XDA Forum Member panicc.co created an easier guide for the more novice users out there. The process itself isn’t so bad. Users will need Flashtool 8 to get started, and a couple of downloads depending on where you’re coming from. Once all the files are in place, users simply flash the pre-rooted kernel.