May 19, 2014 By: Samantha
If you find yourself a bit bored with the recent apps interface of your Sony Xperia device, I don’t blame you. The bland, square thumbnails that are available on Xperia devices aren’t much of an innovation over the stock Android look. But until the next iteration of Sony’s Timescape UI, we are left hoping for something more interesting to appear. But what can we do until then? Well, Xperia SP users can switch things up a bit with a Sense 4.0-styled Task Switcher mod.
Thanks to efforts by XDA Senior Member kuriboo, the Xperia SP now has a mod that allows users to experience the much better looking, 3D recent apps interface HTC devices running Sense 4.0 have. Once the mod has been installed, tapping the recent apps button greets you with full sized, horizontally scrolling 3D thumbnails of your recent apps. Additionally, your mini apps interface is left untouched. The mod comes in a handy flashable ZIP package. And based on community feedback, it is compatible with the official Android 4.3 firmware.
So if you’ve been looking for a way to switch up the look of switching apps on your Xperia SP, be sure to check out the mod in its original thread for more information.
May 2, 2014 By: eagleeyetom
Some OEMs are more developer-friendly than others. One of the friendliest is Sony, which gives its user the ability to unlock their bootloader. Many mobile carriers don’t quite share Sony’s enthusiasm towards open source and lock their phones, leading to the “Bootloader Unlock Allowed: No” message.
A while ago, we talked about the Sony Xperia SP receiving a CyanogenMod 10.2 port for locked devices. XDA Forum Member bagyusz went even further and ported Android 4.4 in CyanogenMod and SlimKat flavors. This is even more impressive, because these ports have no known bugs remaining, so both builds can be considered stable.
Bagyusz also shared his sources on Github, so everyone can now try his/her hand at creating a port to the SP or other Sony device. After all, it’s most likely the case that this hijacked ramdisk method works with other models.
[Thanks to XDA Senior Member mrjraider for the tip!]
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!]
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!]
February 11, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
A little over a month ago, we first caught wind that an Android 4.3 build was being prepared for release on the Sony Xperia SP. And just one day later, we saw an Android 4.3 leak appear for the device. Then, Sony came clean about its update plans for the popular mid-range device through Twitter.
Now, the official Android 4.3 update for the Sony Xperia SP is finally here, although it’s currently only being rolled out to devices on Vodafone Australia. But what about those running other variants? Well, getting the OTA file is no big deal, as a simple build.prop modification posted by XDA Senior Member antkalaitzakis96 will allow you to receive the OTA notification as well, although it’s unlikely that the OTA will apply successfully on other variants. However, XDA Senior Member Mahthenewgamer1998 has created an FTF of the latest C5303 12.1.A.0.266 update, which can be found in his firmware dump thread.
Those looking to get in on all the talk surrounding the update can do so by heading over to XDA Forum Member Tejstar‘s update discussion thread for this specific update and Forum Member Danny_f55‘s Jelly Bean and KitKat discussion thread. And if you’ve patiently waiting or have already applied the update, don’t be shy—leave us your thoughts in the comments below!
January 20, 2014 By: Samantha
Now that Google’s Holo theme has been around for quite a while now, it’s probably safe to say that a very large portion of apps, if not the majority, have adopted the Holo look. But as OEMs are, they like to keep things their way, and this is no different when it comes to Sony. But unlike some OEMs and their preferred interfaces, the aesthetic route Sony has taken doesn’t stray too much from Holo. This may have resulted many folks taking a liking for Sony’s UI, leading to XDA Recognized Themer BDFreak creating an interesting framework for the Sony Xperia Z1, Z, ZL, SP, T, TX and V.
As Xperia owners would know, the Sony UI can only be seen on apps made by Sony, such as the messaging app, Walkman, and the calendar. What this framework does however, is force the Sony UI to replace the UI of any non-Sony app, making the Sony look consistent throughout your phone. No matter which app you have installed, and what sort of theme they have, be it Holo or something made in MS Paint, the framework replaces every UI element with those of Sony.
If you’re unsure or wary of how this might turn out, BDFreak has provided some side-by-side comparisons of apps’ interfaces before and after installation of the framework to help you decide before diving in. Installation is very simple, merely consisting of downloading the appropriate zip file and flashing it through a custom recovery. There are also convenient zip files which revert everything back to they way they were before if you don’t like what you see.
If you would like to check this framework out, head over to the original threads for the supported devices.
January 18, 2014 By: Samantha
One of the more attractive aspects of the new Android 4.3 update on a number of Sony Xperia devices is what Sony calls the “Smart Social Camera.” Originally exclusive to only the Xperia Z1, the camera software allows users to install additional Xperia-only camera apps for additional functions and features to enhance your photo and video experience. Such apps may include Social Live, which live streams whatever your camera lens sees straight to Facebook; or Info Eye, which brings up information on whatever your camera is pointed towards.
The thing is, though, a few Xperia devices seem to be missing a couple of camera apps after being updated to the latest Android 4.3 firmware. It turns out, none of the following apps were to be found after the firmware update:
So to remedy this predicament, XDA Recognized Contributor and Themer Rizal Lovins decided to port the Smart Social Camera software in its entirety from the Xperia Z1s to the Xperia T, TX, V, SP, Z, ZL, ZR, Z1 and the Z Ultra. This means any camera app that was not found in the original camera software of these devices will now be available for everyone who has installed the port. The Background Defocus app, however, is exclusive to only the Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra for now.
The port will only work with the aforementioned devices running the official Android 4.3 firmware, and only if they have been de-odexed. Other than that, there shouldn’t be any problems with installation, with the process simply consisting of wiping the device’s cache, flashing the provided zip file, and rebooting the device.
So if you would like to finally give some of the missing camera apps a go on your device, head over to the original thread for more information.
January 16, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
We’ve been talking quite a bit about Android 4.3 for the Sony Xperia, T, TX, V, and Xperia SP as of late. About a month ago, we saw the devices receive DLNA certification for the upcoming 4.3 update. Then not too long after, the leaks started pouring in—first for the Sony Xperia T and SP, then for the Xperia TX, and finally for the Xperia V.
After all these highly functional leaked builds, we all had a feeling that an official update would start rolling out soon. Accordingly, the official Sony Mobile News Twitter account stated earlier today that Jelly Bean 4.3 would start rolling out to end user devices by the end of January or early February.
Now for most of us, the official OTAs are more of a convenience than a necessity. After all, all of these devices have relatively functional builds of not only Android 4.3, but also the latest and greatest 4.4 KitKat. Regardless, it’s still nice to see Sony support their devices, even if they’re still a major version behind after this update.
What are your thoughts on Sony’s updates? Are you happy that (unlike HTC) they are at least coming, or are you disappointed that it took this long to receive a version of Android that isn’t even the latest? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to head over to the Sony Xperia, T, TX, V, and Xperia SP to get in all the discussion!
January 9, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that just yesterday, we talked about how the Android 4.3 update for the Sony Xperia T and Xperia SP was drawing near. We were made aware of this thanks to XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD, who shared screenshots of the latest test builds for both devices and was taking requests for any other screenshots that users might be interested in.
Now just a few hours after his previous “sneak peak,” DooMLoRD has decided to make the firmwares available. Initially, the firmware was meant for developer (brown) devices only. Luckily, DooMLoRD was able to get the update to boot on production devices. However, users should note that this is for devices with unlocked bootloaders only.
For those keeping track, the builds come in at version 9.2.A.0.278 for the Xperia T and 12.1.A.0.256 for the Xperia SP, and both are Android 4.3 with a Linux 3.4.0-based kernel.
Are you looking forward to giving the leaked 4.3 builds a try on your own devices? Let us know in the comments below.
Make your way over to the leaked firmware threads below to get started:
January 8, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Android 4.4 KitKat is all the rave, with more and more devices receiving aftermarket builds by the handful practically every day. Some devices such as the current Nexus lineup, the Moto X, Moto G, and certain variants of the HTC One also have official KitKat releases. Despite this, many devices, especially older ones, are stuck on pre-4.3 releases. This is the case for the Sony Xperia T and Xperia SP, which only ever made it to 4.1 in official capacity.
You may recall that a little under a month ago, the Android 4.3 update for the Sony Xperia SP, T, TX, and V was DLNA certified. This signalled that the update’s release was drawing near, as certification is a necessary step prior to firmware distribution. Now, we have even more reason to believe that an update is drawing near, as XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD has shared various leaked screenshots of the updates for the Xperia T and SP in their latest incarnations. And in addition to simply sharing screenshots, DooMLoRD is also taking requests for any other screenshots users might be interested in. The builds come in at version 9.2.A.0.278 for the Xperia T and 12.1.A.0.256 for the Xperia SP, and both are Android 4.3 with a Linux 3.4.0-based kernel.
Head over to the sneak peak threads below to get in on the action. Just keep in mind that DooMLoRD has stated that he cannot provide a dump, ETA, source code, or feature checks.
[Many thanks to fellow news writer SammiSaysHello for the tip!]
December 15, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
There’s no denying that Android 4.4 KitKat is all the rage now. The current Nexus lineup and the Google Play edition devices have already received their official updates to Android 4.4.2. Furthermore, many popular devices are getting highly functional unofficial ports left and right. Most consumer devices, however, have not yet gotten the goods. In fact, most are running firmwares that are at least a couple Android revisions old.
Luckily, we’re at least seeing progress. This past week, we saw quite a few Samsung and HTC devices receive the Android 4.3 goods. Now, a good number of last year’s Sony devices seem to be next in line for the update.
According to XperiaBlog.net, the Sony Xperia SP, Xperia T, Xperia TX, and Xperia V are all slated to receive Android 4.3 in the very near future. How do we know this? The devices all received DLNA certification on Android 4.3 five days ago. There are no known leaks yet for these devices, but with newly certified builds certified after testing, the release shouldn’t be too far off.
While this certainly offers no indication about a possible timetable, it’s reasonable to assume that the update is coming sooner rather than later. There is no word at this time regarding what new features, if any, the update will bring along with the Android version bump. In any case, it’s still quite good news that an official update is being prepped.
Are you an Xperia SP, T, TX, or V owner eagerly awaiting this update, or are you one of the many who’ve ditched OEM updates entirely, in favor of community-built ROMs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
[Many thanks to my fellow XDA News Writer eagleeyetom for the tip!]
Smartphones are pretty high maintenance devices. No matter how impressive the spec sheets are, the phone in your hand will inevitably get cluttered and unkempt with daily use, personalization, customization, and modifications. This is why it’s a good idea to have a ‘spring cleaning’ of sorts every once in a while, just to refresh your device.
So for Sony Xperia SP users looking to do so, Speedy Droid may be of interest. Developed by XDA Recognized Developer Divaksh, Speedy Droid is a tool that performs a variety of actions intended to refresh your device as well as a bit more. Running on XDA Recognized Developer amarullz‘s AROMA installer, Speedy Droid removes bloatware apps and features from stock-derived Sony ROMs (handy after a flash), backs up and restores things like settings and messages, and much more.
Conveniently, Speedy Droid creates backups of apps you’ve chosen to remove, just in case you find yourself regretting your decision and wanting to restore the removed apps. There are two modes, a ‘super’ mode that can be assumed to remove all bloatware apps and features, and and a ‘custom’ mode for those who prefer a bit more flexibility. All this is packed into a neat 5 MB zip file to be flashed via a custom recovery.
So if you own an Xperia SP and would like to give this a go, visit the original thread for more information.
November 23, 2013 By: Samantha
Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen some very exciting news and announcements from OEMs and telecom providers regarding Android 4.4 KitKat rollout schedules. Among them, we saw Sony share details on the first raft of Xperia devices slated to receive the update. The announcement wasn’t met with just smiles, however, as many Xperia users have voiced their confusion, anger, and disappointment over the selection of devices Sony has decided to allow into the KitKat party.
If you found yourself disappointed before, hold your horses. The initial announcement only showcased the first raft of devices, which only means that there will be a second raft. This is evident with Sony’s recent update to the Xperia SP‘s support page, which now proudly brandishes the KitKat-flavored Android mascot along with the words ‘Future Version: Android 4.4 (KitKat). Although not an explicit announcement, it’s pretty much a dead giveaway of things to come in the very near future.
As for users of the Xperia T, TX, V and ZR, you may have to wait a bit longer to see if you’ll be catching the second wave. Although the respective support pages also shows the Android 4.4 icon, the accompanying words “Under Investigation: Android 4.4 (KitKat)” are a bit of a dampener. This is somewhat expected for the 2012 devices, as Sony would definitely have to investigate whether these devices will be capable and compatible with a version of Android that’s more than just changes to aesthetics and functionality. That said, we have to wonder why the ZR has also been left out (for now).
Nevertheless, this is great news, and hopefully we’ll be seeing more confirmation from Sony soon. With greater clarity on Sony’s update schedule, what are your thoughts and concerns? Which devices will be on the second raft? And will there be a third? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.