Just about six months ago, we wrote about how Sony was extremely prompt in releasing an alpha build of Ice Cream Sandwich for much of its Xperia line. Now to put this in context, this is the same company that tried to convince us that their skinned version of Android 2.1 Éclair was better than Android 2.2 Froyo, and thus an upgrade to vanilla Froyo would actually be a downgrade.
Luckily, it seems as if Sony has learned from its mistakes and is now doing its best to actively support the very customers who ultimately buy their products. Today, Sony has announced that they are rolling out Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich to the Sony Xperia S. With it, come several new applications aimed at delivering a more Sony-like media experience.
First off, we’re excited to introduce a completely new way to experience your media – your music, images, videos, movies and films – with our new “WALKMAN”, “Album” and “Movies” applications:
- The “WALKMAN” application blends the best of signature Sony audio technology with social features; to discover the music your friends like and share personal favorites. Facebook integration gives you a visual way to interact with content – accessing album art, artist images and information, directly from Gracenote®
- The “Album” application brings new intuitive ways to sort and browse high quality photos and videos in blazing speed, as well as providing instant viewing, commenting and sharing of photos on Facebook and other online albums, leveraging the great camera capabilities of Xperia S
- The “Movies” application streamlines the playback and viewing of movies in high quality audio and video, whilst using intelligent database search to grab movie posters and information for a richer experience
And now for the software upgrade to Android version 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich– some of the cool features you can look forward to are:
- Lock screen with improved functionality
- Resizable widgets (improved personalization)
- Improved control of your mobile data consumption
- Recent Apps button for clear overview of your applications
The update will be available over-the-air, but those wishing to update a bit early can do so with the web-based Xperia Update. To begin the update, watch the video below and head over to the Sony Forums and their Mobile Blog to learn more.
June 10, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
The Walkman music application is something of an enigma. Despite the Walkman brand being outshone by other MP3 players, the Walkman music application continues to pop up on phones on the Sony Xperia line up, and users seem to really enjoy it over the stock music offering. With the Sony Xperia lineup receiving unofficial and official ICS updates, Gingerbread ports of the Walkman application have become obsolete. The natural reaction? Port them again!
Credited with the first ICS Walkman port that works, XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD released the new version of the APK for the Sony Xperia S for advanced users who want all the features. From there, XDA Senior Member ThilinaC brought it over to the Sony Xperia Neo in the form of a fully flashable update.zip file.
In both cases, little things need to be fixed but the main functions work fine, so anyone who wants to give it a shot won’t find a lot wrong. As is customary with Sony Xperia device development, users can expect this to pop up on any number of Sony Xperia devices in the near future, as developers get their hands on the application.
April 22, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
Sony Xperia S users rejoice. The FreeXperia Project, has released not only a ClockworkMod-based recovery for the device, but also an unofficial version of CyanogenMod 9. So if you’ve been longing for a little AOSP action, your wait is now over.
First things first, before you begin installing that new ROM, you’re going to need a nice new recovery image. XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD has ported his version of a CWM-based recovery entitled DooMRecovery to the Xperia S. If you’re already familiar with his work, you may recognize this recovery. If not, be warned—this is not your average recovery. Although based on the standard CWM, DooMRecovery is heavily themed with a Honeycomb styling. Furthermore, it is touch capable, so there’s no fiddling around with the volume keys. It also implements haptic feedback to make sure you’re aware that your selections have been acknowledged. Other notable features and changes include:
This is a great take on the classic recovery that we’re all so used to so I highly recommend checking out the original development thread and familiarise yourself with its features.
Once you have your new recovery installed you’re going to need something to flash, right? Not a problem, as the FreeXperia Project and in this instance, XDA Recognised Developer Bin4ry have released an unofficial version of CyanogenMod 9. As with any first release there are still a few bugs and issues, some of them fairly major such and WiFi and GSM not being fully functional .HDMI, FM Radio, and ANT+ are also still being worked on. It important to note that this is an unofficial release of CM9, and is not coming directly from the CM team themselves. Installation is a standard flash-from-recovery, as you would expect.
The Sony Xperia X10 was one of Sony Ericsson’s first forays into the Android smartphone world, and it’s been a solid product over the years. It originally shipped with Android 1.6 Donut and has since been updated to Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread as recently as Fall 2009. That’s almost 2 full years from when the device was originally released. For all the naysayers about Sony, they’ve been one of the few manufacturers to continue to support their older phones.
With the recent release of the Sony Xperia S, it’s only natural to think that the X10 will finally fade off into the sunset. But there are some loyal users who have different plans. XDA Forum Members championswimmer and Tof37 have brought the Xperia S stock ROM to the X10. With the exception of the Lockscreen and Gallery, all of the apps from the Xperia S Stock ROM have been ported to the X10 along with various pieces from the Arc, Play, and Active. The ROM does have a nice caveat at the top, stating that if you are on a locked bootloader or stock kernel you will need to flash a certain zip file before flashing the ROM each time.
Head on over to the ROM thread to get more information and to thank the developers for their commitment to this solid device.
March 29, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
There’s nothing quite like the scramble of keyboards hard at work getting things done for freshly released devices—achieving root, getting the bootloader unlocked, releasing ROMs and kernels, the mods and tweaks and even the ports and themes. Owning a freshly released device gives the same excitement, knowing that all those things are coming. For the Sony Xperia S, that time is right now.
Despite the bootloader unlocking and s-off firmwares being released relatively recently, the work for other modifications has already begun. XDA Senior Member LiveSquare has begun assembling compiling a list of locations and CDA / fingerprint numbers so that users can change their CDA, debrand or brand their devices.
So far, there’s quite a list, as users have enthusiastically responded to the call. Currently there are just under two dozen locations and CDA numbers that have been submitted, with more to come as the phone gets released in other parts of the world. Eventually, as root becomes more universal, this thread will help users by giving them CDA numbers to change to for anything from Play Market compatibility to using tweaks and mods. Says LiveSquare:
From the Xperia X10 there is a easy method to change the firmware (debranding/branding) by changing the customization number in the build.prop. Similar threads exisits for those forums, but not yet for Xperia S. So I’m creating it here. Post yours and I will add to the first post as and when I get time. Even though the root isn’t available, this will surely be useful for many.
As the devs play with the phone more, there will be more uses for these numbers, and users will eventually be able to brand and de-brand their devices using it. So stay tuned for when that day comes.
Those looking to check out the branding and de-branding process as it unfolds or submit their CDA numbers should visit the original thread.
With the release of the Sony Xperia S, the Xperia S UI and applications have been making their rounds to the other devices in the Xperia lineup. For those Xperia users who don’t have some Xperia S love yet, just be patient. It’s probably coming.
For those holding on to their Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, your patience has paid off. XDA Forum Member pajoneer has released a self proclaimed big mod pack that includes a lot of goodies with many goodies coming from the Xperia S.
The mod is easy to install. Simply flash in ClockworkMod recovery and you’re off to the races. As the name implies, the mod pack is pretty big and includes a number of fun features including:
music player from Xperia S with equalizer
cosmic flow live wallpaper
Xperia S Home.apk 5×4 with rotation! (icon font fixed)
Xperia S clock widget pack
With several more mentioned and even more that aren’t mentioned, the mod brings an all-in-one type feel to making the Arc feel and act more like an Xperia S and adding some other fun features as well.
For additional details, screen shots, and download links, please visit the modification thread. As usual, make a backup before flashing. You never know when something might go wrong, and you’ll need to restore a Nandroid to fix it.
A few days ago PoorCollegeGuy posted an article explaining a method of taking the UI from Sony’s new Xperia S and using it on an Xperia Play. Now that’s all fine and dandy for Xperia play users, but what about everyone else? For the rest of you looking to try Sony’s sleek UI on non-Xperia device, XDA member ra3al has been hard at work with you in mind.
He has managed to port the entire UI from the Xperia S and optimise it for non-Xperia devices with a variety of different screen resolutions. The package will install the launcher, clock widgets, toggle tools, photo widget, and weather widget. There are even links to the original static and live wallpapers for the full Sony Mobile Xperience (see what I did there?). While this seems to work perfectly on the majority of devices, some people are reporting that they aren’t able to install, so success is unfortunately not guaranteed. That said, this is definitely worth a try if you’re interested in rocking the UI.
This mod is currently only compatible with Android 2.3 based ROMs, but an ICS version is on the way. It’s also worth mentioning that it should only be installed on NON-Xperia devices. So if you feel like your phone could use a bit of a makeover, check out the modification thread.
Running one Android phone’s skinned UI on a different Android phone is always an interesting experience. Experiencing what owners of a different device feel in comparison to what you’re already using can not only be useful for a possible future jump to a different device, but it’s always cool to show your friends the real versatility of Android.
For users carrying the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, you can now run most of the UI and applications from the Sony Xperia S, should you so choose. XDA Forum Member jjkkyu has ported many of the components of the Xperia S interface to the Xperia Play for users to check out.
The mod includes the following Xperia S components:
1.Xperia S style UI.
2.Xperia S home lancher(modded to seven pages).
3.Xperia S system app icons.
4.Xperia S style phonebook, credit to Soheil_rf.
5.Xperia S music player(Equilizier, SenseMe, Stereo, xLOUD all working).
6.Xperia S Timescape and new Timescape widgets.
7.Xperia S weather, switch tool, clock, music, smartcontacts widgets.
8.Xperia S brower, email, calender, clock, calculator, power saver.
9.Xperia S system default wallpapers.
10.Xperia S system default livewallpapers(CosmicFlow & LiveEarth).
11.Xperia S boot animation(Xperia logo).
12.Xperia S closing charge animation.
13.Xperia S Chinese keyboard.
14.Xperia S lockscreen slidebar and time display adjustment.
15.Xperia S system default themes.
16.Xperia S style browser.
The mod also features working Timescape and the ability to restore the home screens to 5 screens. The mod itself comes in the form of a recovery-flashable update.zip, so installation is a breeze.
For additional info, full changelog, feature list and download links, check out the modification thread.
March 20, 2012 By: jerdog
Sony has made great strides in completely reversing their stance towards the independent developer community recently, including being the only manufacturer to officially release beta builds of ICS for their phones. Now they have released the source for the Xperia S along with instructions on how to build the kernel. They’ve even included a proprietary file from Qualcomm, Resource Power Manager, and an image-generation script. The source is located out on their Opensource Archive, and you can see their blog post here.
XDA Recognized Developer DoomLoRD has started a nice thread over in the Sony Xperia S Android Development section to facilitate discussion around building the kernel source from Sony. Follow the thread link, and make sure to thank DoomLoRD for all he has done for the Sony Xperia line of devices.
March 3, 2012 By: Conan Troutman
After having been released for less than a week, and with a forum added only a few days ago, the Sony Xperia S is the most recent device to find a home on XDA. Even so, we’re already pleased to bring you information on how to unlock and relock the bootloader, as well as how to root your brand-spanking-new device.
XDA senior member DooMLoRD put together a very comprehensive tutorial on dealing with the bootloaders, which is based on lollylost’s similar tutorial for the Xperia Arc. There are quite a few steps to achieving the end result, but they are clearly explained, with all the necessary links provided. The actual method for unlocking is via the official SonyMobile site, so it’s only fair that we also show some thanks for their developer friendly attitude. DooMLoRD continues in his second post, and explains how to relock your bootloader using FlashTool.
Meanwhile senior member Bin4ry makes sure you’re able to get root access by providing a pre-rooted system.img, which is to be flashed via fastboot. After a quick reboot you should have root. He goes on to say that a more convenient method is sure to follow.
If you are the proud owner of a shiny new Xperia S and can’t wait to start tinkering with your device, DooMLoRD’s tutorial and Bin4ry’s rooting thread are undoubtedly the first places you should visit.
Back at CES in January, we posted our hands-on with the Sony Xperia S phone. A month and a half later, the device is finally for sale. Packing a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 SoC, a 4.3″ 1280×720 display with a mind-boggling 342 ppi, and a full gigabyte of RAM into just 10.6 mm; the Xperia S is certainly noteworthy. As such, we have given it a home here in our forums.
Continue to the new forum to join in on the discussion. Now only one question remains: Who will be the first to root the device and load Ice Cream Sandwich?