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.
December 24, 2012 By: jerdog
Many times, we have discussed how developers at XDA refuse to take “No” for an answer when confronted with the likelihood of a manufacturer update to older devices. The FreeXperia team has done a great job with Sony Xperia devices over the last two years, and they’ve now begun working on an essential element to keeping the 2011 Sony Ericsson devices relevant: the Android kernel.
Being part of the Linux mainline kernel is essential for Android, as it provides a seamless integration with the latest and greatest fixes and features. That inclusion was announced earlier this year and back in September when we told you about new features beginning to appear with the release of the 3.4 Linux kernel. While this is good news, many manufacturer’s top devices (Samsung’s Galaxy S 3 and Sony Xperia T, to name a few) are still stuck on 3.0 kernels.
The FreeXperia team, led by XDA Recognized Developer FXP, are determined to bring the Linux 3.4 kernel to Sony’s 2011 SEMC device-line, which includes the Xperia Arc. To begin discussion and encourage involvement, they have opened up a thread and a Github as they begin work. If you’re interested, make sure you let them know and jump right on in!
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.
August 13, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Users dealing with less than optimal hardware in many ways on XDA. There are plenty of software mods aimed at getting around the limitations of older hardware. One such limitation is not having quite enough RAM for the job.
As covered previously, one can create a swap partition for virtual RAM at the expense of performance. However, this is far more necessary on devices with less RAM, such as the Sony Xperia Arc. With 512 MB of RAM, things can get a little stickier than on the latest generation of devices.
Luckily, there’s an application by XDA Forum Member Patambiz aimed at helping. The application is called Swapper. Swapper allocates SD card space to the memory so that it can keep up with system demands. As Patambiz explains:
A swap file allows an operating system to use hard disk space to simulate extra memory.
In this case, the hard disk is being replaced by a SD card. To use, users simply download the application and follow the prompts within. Once done, a section of the SD card will be allocated to virtual RAM, allowing for higher RAM usage without crashing. As with enabling virtual memory on the SGS3, this virtual memory is far slower than actual RAM. However, it’s better than encountering errors.
For more info, go 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.
May 12, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Just because a phone gets ICS—be it officially or unofficially—doesn’t mean that the hardware is ready to receive it. In some cases, it takes a mod or a tweak to get things rolling. And in most cases, you can get an ICS ROM working just as well, if not better, than its Gingerbread counterpart. This is the case for the Sony Xperia Arc, where hardware acceleration was not cutting it, so a software rendering patch was brought in to improve things.
XDA Forum Member tkymgr has posted a software rendering patch which actually makes ICS run a little better. Of course, this comes at the at the price of hardware acceleration. The patch, which is to be applied by decompiling the framework.jar and replacing a couple of smali files, actually disables hardware rendering and instead opts to go with software rendering. Surprisingly, this actually makes the stock ICS ROMs run more smoothly, as thus far everyone who’s tried it has reported positive results to some extent. This ironic because hardware rendering of 2D GUI functions is generally always faster than software rendering.
Many think that Sony made a mistake somewhere, and that’s why hardware rendering doesn’t quite do the trick. Since the problem may stem from a kernel issue or, more likely, bad GPU drivers, that opinion seems quite likely. In any case, this patch will actually break the Chrome Browser for those who have it, as the app requires HW Acceleration to work. Any other apps that require hardware acceleration can be assumed to no longer work as well once the patch is applied.
So for anyone who wants a better running ICS ROM and doesn’t mind hardware acceleration being turned off, you can head on over the original thread to get started.
April 29, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
To put it bluntly, bloatware sucks. It slows down devices, steals storage space and RAM, and is essentially useless. Thankfully when creating a custom ROM, developers often remove the unnecessary bits. However, not everyone wants to flash to a custom ROM, instead preferring an improved stock experience.
There is now an alphabetized list of safe-to-remove bloatware for the Sony Xperia Arc running ICS thanks to Senior Member Flo95. Users can then use Titanium Backup to physically remove the offending applications without worry. The list can also help aspiring ROM developers de-bloat their offerings before release.
For more information, check out the original thread to get started.
April 26, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
Sometimes it can be a real hassle finding all the mods and tweaks you’re looking for. Going through thread after thread to see what’s what, what works what’s compatible with your ROM. Even then, you have to download it, put it on your device and flash it. Getting a good set of mods can take some time and effort. That’s why some developers create applications that house mods and tweaks in one place—so users can simply window shop through, download what they want, and flash it.
Now the Sony Xperia Arc has one of these apps thanks to AppMan by XDA Recognized Developer pvyParts. With the app, Xperia Arc users on stock ICS ROMs can do a variety of things to their ROMs from a nice, simple interface.
The application has quite a few nice features. All of the stock applications are in it, so users can bloat or de-bloat their ROMs all they want to. Additionally, other developers can add their work to the application through pvyParts so various mods and scripts can be added at any time along with what’s already there. In the cases where users are debloating or bloating their ROMs, the application is simply deleted or it can be installed as soon as it’s done downloading. In other cases, users simply download what they want and flash it in recovery. Very easy to use.
For more information, screen shots, change logs and more, hit up the original thread and start customizing the easy way. Of course, before applying any mods, scripts, themes, apps, etc, be sure to have a backup handy.