May 21, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Despite being one of the most developer-friendly OEMs, Sony isn’t quite known for its timely Android firmware updates. But despite this, Sony has already managed to update its 2013 flagship devices to the latest version of Android.You may recall that a little over a month ago, Sony “indirectly confirmed” their plans to officially update the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, and Xperia Tablet Z to Android 4.4 KitKat sometime this month. Now with just a week and a half left in May, Sony is finally making good on their plans by rolling out the official KitKat goods to the aforementioned last generation devices.
News of this firmware rollout comes straight from the official Sony Mobile blog, and states that the firmware will begin rolling out to select regional variants, starting today. So what does this update bring? According to Sony, we get KitKat, a PS4-like interface, revised status bar and quick settings, revised first party apps, Xperia Themes support, and compatibility with the new SmartWear wearables experience.
As stated on the Sony blog:
- Google’s Android 4.4; KitKat as standard – bringing improved performance & user interface (UI) optimisation…
- If you’ve got a Sony PlayStation 4, you might recognize our new user interface – we’ve added the same sleek launch animation and live wallpaper across the lock and home screens. You’ll also spot a revamped Status Bar and Quick Settings… now more intuitive and customisable (also with a fresh new look)… cleaned up to ensure you only get the notifications you really need
- As you might expect, we’re also uplifting Sony’s entire native app portfolio to the latest versions bringing tweaked / improved / current experiences for one and all… some of our favourites look like:
- Messaging – a few UI adjustments here & there, including a slicker “send” animation, and deeper Emoji support for some expressive fun… also worth noting, you’ll find smileys wherever there’s an app with a keyboard
- Email – you’ll be able to both load and see more mails… but don’t fret, navigation of said load is easier with a more responsive viewing pane – split screen modes divide info for easy digest… especially useful / works a treat on Xperia Tablet Z
- Smart Social Camera – our social imaging experience makes its debut on our first Z Series devices; a selection of Xperia Camera apps directly accessible from your viewfinder… including personal favourite “Creative Effect”, and more for download to boot!
- Battery STAMINA Mode - level-upping our unique power management feature, bringing smarter data management & more for prolonging your juice
- Sony’s Media apps: WALKMAN, Album and Movies, with Sony Entertainment Network cloud service integration* – a more converged and full Sony entertainment experience – Sony Entertainment Network & PlayMemories integration with a more intuitive UI, better download speeds, and more…
- And proving pretty popular, now totaling over 2 million downloads (!) – our unique custom interface experience: “Xperia Themes”, with downloadable UI packs from Sony Select – skin up to 280 assets across your Xperia smartphone with a variety of styles…
- Compatibility with our SmartWear Experience; SmartBand SWR10 and Lifelog app– enabling you to record social, physical and entertainment activities and have them all visualised in a beautiful interface… reminisce at that past, make the best of the present and plan for the future
Although most other former flagships from the same era have already received KitKat long ago, these updates are definitely better late than never. Now let’s hope the worldwide rollout is as quick as possible.
Luckily for Xperia Z owners, XDA Recognized Contributor Jozinek has captured and mirrored the update for your sideloading / ROM building pleasure. However, the same cannot be said for the other devices. That said, we’ll update this thread with the OTAs for the ZL, ZR, and Tablet Z once they’re available. But until then, you can head over to the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, and Xperia Tablet Z to look for the firmwares once they’re found and captured.
April 18, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that although Sony is one of the most developer-friendly OEMs, they aren’t exactly the most expedient in delivering firmware updates to their Xperia devices. But despite the delays, Sony has already updated its 2013 flagship devices to Google’s latest tasty treat.
When Sony issued its last round of KitKat updates, the OEM also laid out a projected Q2-2014 timetable for its 2012 flagship devices. Now, Sony has gone ahead and confirmed this—albeit somewhat indirectly. And just like what we heard before, the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, and Xperia Tablet Z will indeed be receiving the official KitKat love in Q2 of this year—more specifically, next month in May.
Wondering what this upcoming update will bring to the 2012 flagships? Well, it’s more than reasonable to assume that this update will bring the same new features that were found in the 2013 flagship update. This includes status bar and quick settings interface tweaks, PlayStation 4-style launch animation and live wallpaper, updated native apps, and Xperia Themes.
Late is certainly better never, and one month certainly isn’t too far away. Leave us your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, and Xperia Tablet Z forums while you’re at it.
December 23, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
In the past few months, Sony has been quick to demonstrate its willingness to work with the aftermarket development and enthusiast communities by publishing experimental unskinned builds for various devices. At the same time, they’ve also pushed out official firmware updates at a relatively quick pace, even for some older devices. To that end, the company has been rolling out official Android 4.3 updates to many of its past Xperia devices over the last few weeks. And now, the company is adding four more devices to the official Android 4.3 mix: the Sony Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Zperia ZR, and Xperia Tablet Z, two of which saw a leaked build just 11 days ago.
The Android 4.3 update for the above devices comes with much of what we’ve already seen on other Sony devices that have received the Android 4.3 love. It brings Sony’s signature “Smart Social Camera” experience, as well as updates to all of the company’s trademark first party apps such as Messaging, MyXperia, Smart Connect, Walkman, and more. Additionally, the update brings support for the new Xperia Themes system, as well as new security enhancements courtesy of “Xperia for Business.” The full update log can be found below.
Are you excited for the official Android 4.3 update, or have you already upgraded to a source-built KitKat alternative crafted by your favorite developers here on XDA? Let us know in the comments below!
Official update release info:
We’ve been working to blend our Sony Xperia software with Google’s Jelly Bean release to create some cool user experiences (if we say so ourselves) – in addition to a few performance tweaks here & there, some of the functionality you can look forward to includes:
- Google’s Android 4.3; Jelly Bean as standard – bringing Project Butter performance & UI optimisation and a smoother graphical experience
- Launched with Xperia Z1, we’re now bringing Sony’s Smart Social Camera to these devices – our signature camera experience, that lets you download, access and enjoy “Xperia camera apps” directly from within the viewfinder
- We’re also uplifting Sony’s entire native app portfolio to the latest versions – bringing tweaked / improved / current experiences for (to name but a few): Messaging, MyXperia, Smart Connect, Small apps, TrackID, Sony Select and…
- Sony’s Media apps: WALKMAN, Album and Movies, with Sony Entertainment Network cloud service integration* – a more converged and full Sony entertainment experience – Sony Entertainment Network & PlayMemories integration with a more intuitive UI, offering seamless access to both local and cloud content
- The launch of our unique custom interface experience: “Xperia Themes”, with downloadable UI packs from Sony Select – more on this soon…
- The latest Android security enhancements, matched with Sony’s mobile enterprise solution: Xperia in Business
- Battery STAMINA Mode – updated version of Sony’s power management app, now with refreshed interface and more smart options for prolonging battery life
- Increased user control for Xperia Tablet Z, with “Restricted Profiles”; option to create isolated, secure spaces with individual local storage, home screens, widgets and settings
December 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just yesterday, we covered how Android 4.3 had begun rolling out to the Sony Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra. The release surprised no one, as we recently saw Android 4.3 leaks for the Sony Xperia Z and the Xperia ZL, both of which were met with great user response. Now, Sony appears to be ready to continue this trend, with impending updates for the latter two devices (the Xperia Z and ZL), as well as updates for the Xperia ZR and Xperia Tablet Z.
As discovered by Xperiablog.net, Android 4.3 (build 10.4.B.0.569) has just obtained certification by the PTCRB regulatory commission for the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, and Xperia Tablet Z. This certification is an essential step in OEM-issued updates, as it ensures compliance with 3GPP network standards.
There is unfortunately no official word regarding these updates and what new features they bring to the supported devices. Furthermore, no projected OTA timetable is currently available. That said, it’s only a matter of time now that the update has been submitted and approved.
Are you looking forward to 4.3 on your Xperia Z, ZL, ZR, or Tablet Z or are you really just looking forward to KitKat? Are there any features in particular from the Z1 and Z Ultra updates that you’re hoping to score on your device? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to visit the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, and Xperia Tablet Z forums!
[Many thanks to fellow XDA News Writer Samantha for the tip!]
December 13, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
For quite some time now, we’ve been continually impressed by Sony’s efforts to appeal to the development community and its power users. In fact, ever since Sony’s AOSP experiment with the Xperia S last summer, the company has kept to its promise of providing as many resources as possible for those creating aftermarket development work for Sony devices.
Now, Sony has some new treats for developers just in time for the Holiday season. The company has now released AOSP device trees, binaries, and build details for the Sony Xperia L
, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, and Xperia S. And the fact that this was even tested on Android 4.4.1 makes this all the more impressive.
While all of this awesome-sauce is OEM-provided, it is still very much in alpha state. Because of this, most device features will work such as telephony, camera, messaging, sensors, data, and so on, but some functions won’t work on certain devices such as Bluetooth, GPS, and so on.
Sony, you’ve done it again. Your continued drive to work with, rather than against, the development community is commendable. Developers looking to start building KitKat for Xperia devices should visit the Sony Developer AOSP Page to learn more.
Update: As pointed out by XDA Forum Member AshRoller, it looks like only the Xperia L has gotten the code commits at the moment. However, we can’t imagine that it’s too far off for the rest of the stable.
[Many thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor percy_g2 for the tip.]
November 8, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Ever since the unveiling of Android 4.4, the question that is hounding almost everyone’s mind inevitably turns to when (or if) their OEMs will break them off a piece of that KitKat bar. We first heard that the current Nexus stable, as well as a few other devices, would be first in line for the update. Now, Sony has decided to weigh in on the upgrade path for many of its current devices.
First off, Android 4.3 will be rolling out to various Xperia devices such as the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia SP, Xperia Z Ultra, and Xperia Z1. This rollout will take place starting next month, but naturally it may vary by market and carrier. Some time after that rollout, the Xperia T, Xperia TX, and Xperia V will also receive the Android 4.3 goods.
After the 4.3 rollout finishes, Sony has plans on updating various devices to KitKat. The first devices that will receive the update are the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia Z Ultra, and Xperia Z1. There is currently no timetable given for the release of Android 4.4, and this does not appear to be an all-inclusive list. However, if you’re running one of the aforementioned devices, at least you can rest easy knowing that it’s in the oven.
We’d like to know what are your thoughts regarding the update path Sony has shared. Do you prefer the rollouts to Android 4.3 followed by Android 4.4, or would you prefer to wait a little longer and go straight to 4.4? Let us know in the comments section below.
Source: Official Sony Mobile Blog
September 9, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The AOSP GPS woes of the Sony Xperia Tablet Z have been fixed! 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 an article about an open source performance control app and news about an interop unlock for the Samsung Ativ S.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this weekend on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce released a video talking about the problem with open source software, and later he released a video talking what Facebook is doing to help make developers’ lives easier. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
If you’ve got yourself a shiny new Sony Xperia Tablet Z and have loaded an AOSP-based build, you have probably noticed the lack of GPS functionality. Thankfully, these pains have now been solved.
The fix comes (indirectly) courtesy of the new, official Sony 4.2.2 release using updated libraries. Using these libraries, XDA Senior Member nycbjr was able to achieve working GPS last weekend, as chronicled in this post in the official CyanogenMod for the Xperia Tablet Z thread.
Nycbjr’s patches (1, 2) were submitted and accepted to the CyanogenMod Gerrit, and should be disseminating into all of the derivative works in due time. Furthermore, nycbjr’s own ROM already has the fix as well as of his September 6th update.
Was GPS functionality (or lack, thereof) keeping you from loading an AOSP-based firmware on your Xperia Tablet Z, or is GPS the least of your worries on a full-sized tablet? Let us know in the comments below.
[Thanks to nycbjr for the heads up!]
August 30, 2013 By: Samantha
Sony Xperia Tablet Z users who have made the AOSP switch may have noticed the consequential disappearance of Sony’s Small Apps suite. One of these small apps is the mini remote control, a floating remote that has no doubt proven its worth to many folks in living rooms on lazy Sunday afternoons. So for those missing its multitasking functionality, you can now get it back with TSRemote.
Thanks to XDA Senior Member lowtraxx, Xperia Tablet Z users will now be able to multitask on their tablet while watching soap operas on lazy afternoons once again. What lowtraxx has done to regain this functionality wass incorporate XDA Recognized Developer Apache14‘s open source IR Blaster library as the backend and XDA Senior Member PingPongBoss‘ StandOut library as the floating front end.
The end result is a floating remote control much like the small app that works with any AOSP-derived ROM such as CyanogenMod 10.1. As of right now, however, the only way for the tablet to recognize your television is by manually learning the IR commands with your remote. However, lowtraxx is planning to work on bringing in remote databases in the future.
August 19, 2013 By: jerdog
Confucius say, “All good things are difficult to achieve…” How’s that for beginning the announcement of a Grand Prize winner for the XDA Tablet Z Development Competition? It would be completely accurate, given the nature of the competition. We first accepted entrants into the competition where they told us how they would use the Sony Xperia Tablet Z and its many features in a new development project, with 10 being chosen from that list. Then, we gave them a Tablet Z to begin working on their project, with voting by the community to begin at the end of July looking for two winners (a community-voted winner and an XDA picked winner). Now, we’re pleased to announce the following winners who will each receive a Sony NEX-6 camera, courtesy of Sony.
So without further ado, we give you:
Congratulations to each of these winners. We look forward to seeing bigger and greater things out of both of them, especially given they have some new hardware to work with.
August 4, 2013 By: jerdog
Back in June, we announced the start of a unique competition here at XDA involving the latest high end tablet from Sony. And in early July, we announced the Stage 1 winners. What was to follow was a month of intense development from the 10 winners, 9 of whom are listed below (in random order). Note: only 9 are mentioned, as the 10th winner never responded.
What makes this competition even more unique, is how we’re conducting the voting. Sadly, community voting often leads to fanbois flocking to increase voting for their idol, diluting the worth of the obtained results. So in order to make sure everyone is given a fair chance at receiving a vote, we’ve done the following: The information on where to vote is not posted here.
That’s right; it’s not posted here. Instead, you will need to go to the thread containing the list of winners and read through all of the projects. Once you have read about them, you will have the link to vote. If you can’t find it, you’ve not read about all of the projects. Do not ask for the link, and do not send it to someone else once you have found it. This way, everyone who votes will have done so after reading.
Who is eligible to vote?
Anyone who was registered on XDA-Developers before 9 AM (GMT) on July 26, 2013, and who is not a member of XDA staff. One vote is allowed per person. Accounts created after the 26th of July will have their votes discounted. Votes will be checked. This date and time was selected because it is shortly before information on the voting process was made available to competition entrants. Voting closes on Wednesday, August 8 at 19:30 GMT.
Ready to look at the entrants?
Head on over to the thread about the competition entries! The information on how to vote is contained within the thread.
If you have been living under a rock, XDA has been running an amazing contest the past two weeks involving the latest tablet to hit the market, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z. After almost 100 entries, the judges were able to narrow it down to the following 10 winners (in no particular order) along with a brief description of their winning entry:
1. lilstevie – LittleKernel development to allow separate boot and recovery kernels
2. zacthespack - native port of, and custom ROM for, LinuxonAndroid
3. Apache14 - open source IR blaster
4. bluefa1con - bringing official PACman ROM to the Tablet Z
5. mamenyaka - Ubuntu Touch port to the Tablet Z
6. rayman - functional multiboot of different android variants as well as booting third party linux distributions
7. rydo88 - ‘smart environment’ setup utilizing NFC tags and Sony’s entertainment packages with the Tablet Z
8. sagarmane4u - education based solutions for studying and exam prep
9. sailnw - boat management application for cruisers and sailors
10. anthonycr - open source Lightning Browser development for 10″ tablets
We really thank everyone for submitting ideas, and only wish that we had more to give away. Be sure to look for these projects to start appearing in the Sony Xperia Tablet Z Original Android Development forum, and check back over the next few weeks to see articles featuring these winners and their projects. Also we’ll let you know when it’s time to start voting on the Grand Prize winner of the Sony NEX-6 camera.
Everyone loves a good competition; there’s no denying it. Generally, we don’t just give away devices for the sake of giving them away. Sure it drives traffic, but that traffic usually ends up going away until the next giveaway. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. We would rather showcase the amazing work done by the developers on XDA and let that drive traffic than to try and drive traffic by giveaway. However, when given an opportunity to give away something that promotes development, we are all in. This is just such an example.
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z is the latest tablet out in the marketplace, and it’s one of the top ones right out of the gate. With a 10.1″ Full HD Reality Display, 1.5 GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, NFC, IR-blaster, 8.1 MP rear-facing and 2.2 MP front-facing HD cameras, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB storage in a water resistant and dustproof case coming in at 6.9 mm and under 500 grams, this tablet is powerful and beautiful.
XDA is pleased to announce that we have 10 of these tablets to give away, but not in the normal way. For this contest we’re going to do things a bit differently. Here’s how this is going to work:
A few Terms & Conditions for the contest:
So don’t wait, get out there and come up with some truly great ideas!