March 20, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Yesterday morning, we talked about how Sony had finally begun updating its current generation flagships to Android 4.4.2. But while an official KitKat release is great news, not everyone was lucky enough to receive the update.
As stated by Sony, update availability depends both on region and carrier. And since these rollouts come in stages, not everyone even in those regions that have already received the update will be included in the initial wave. Luckily, the community has stepped up to bring the update to any Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z1, and Xperia Z1 Compact device owner looking to update before his or her time.
The FTF files for the Xperia Z1 Compact comes courtesy of XDA Senior Members Jozinek, Darkimmortal, and louis0815. And so far, the extracted firmwares are available for unbranded Czech, unbranded UK, and unbranded German devices.
The goods are also available for the Xperia Z1, with many more regional variants being extracted and mirrored. These are available for commercial/journalist (Bin4ry), unbranded India (DooMLoRD), unbranded France (auras76), unbranded Brazil (RHBH), customized Malaysia (chunlianghere), customized Singapore (chunlianghere), unbranded Canada (PherChe) devices.
As expected, the firmware for all three devices comes in at version 14.3.A.0.681. So pick your poison, and head to the links above to get started.
[Many thanks to Portal Supporter Titokhan for the Z1 Compact link!]
March 19, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Compared to Motorola, Samsung, and even HTC, it’s not inaccurate to state that Sony’s been a tad bit slow in officially updating its devices to Android 4.4 KitKat. Motorola first updated the Moto X back in November, Samsung followed suit not too long after in January, and even HTC got its feet wet in November and subsequently finished the job yesterday.
But before we start waving around our pitchforks, let’s remember that Sony’s quite developer friendly, and they’ve done much to help aftermarket developers bring KitKat to their devices. Heck, they’ve even released unofficial alpha firmware builds from time to time. Now, however, Sony has started rolling out official Android 4.4 KitKat to its flagship Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia Z1, and Xperia Z1 Compact.
These updates bring quite a few new features, including status bar and quick settings interface tweaks, PlayStation 4-style launch animation and live wallpaper, updated native apps, and Xperia Themes. According to Sony:
- Google’s Android 4.4; KitKat as standard – bringing performance & UI optimisation…
- We’ve added our tweaked Status Bar and Quick Settings… now more intuitive and customisable (and pretty easy on the eye)… cleaned up to ensure you only get the notifications you really need
- If you’ve got a Sony PlayStation 4, you might recognize our new user interface – we’ve added the same sleek launch animation and livewallpaper across the lock and home screens
- 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, TrackID TV, Sony Select, Smart Social Camera 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, better download speeds, and more!
- 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, and more to follow soon…
Perhaps just as exciting as today’s update, Sony laid out a timetable for its next round of updates, as they’ve now stated that the Xperia Z, ZL, ZR, and Tablet Z will also receive the KitKat goods some time in Q2. And finally, Sony also stated that KitKat will also be making its way over to the Xperia T2, E1, and M2 at some point.
Good job Sony in updating your current flagships! Head over to the comments and threads below to get in on the discussion!
Ever since December of 2013, a large number of Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra owners began to experience what has been dubbed and feared as an Xperia “Brickademic.” This issue that has garnered confused, angry, and disappointed responses spanning over more than 35 pages in the discussion thread, and the cause seems to be spawning from kernel incompatibilities that result from flashing an Android 4.3 firmware on a device running certain builds of Android 4.2.2. Now that it has been festering for a couple of months already, XDA Forum Members vovanx500 and the_laser have finally come out with a solution to the bricking problem.
Vovanx500 makes it clear at the beginning of the tutorial that the fix is not for the faint of heart, with the process requiring disassembling your device, which voids your warranty, in order to access the testpoint. The tutorial lays down the necessary steps to recover your bricked device, from guiding you on what has to be done once you’ve removed the back cover of your device, to running the actual program and finally getting the device back on track. The fix would not be possible without the efforts of the_laser, who developed the program used in the process, as well as vovanx500’s Xperia Z Ultra which was used as a guinea pig to find the testpoint.
This definitely isn’t a fix that everyone may want to try due to its complexity. But if you’re willing and have the nerve, head over to the original thread for more information.
[Thanks to Senior Member zeppelinrox for the tip!]
February 1, 2014 By: Samantha
Boy, have headphones changed in the last few years. From something that was simply a black wire that split into 2 earpieces, they’ve morphed into a plethora of options and varieties with an assortment of buttons, sliders, and connections, each meant to make your music experience a little bit more convenient. And with the addition of OEMs designing and creating earphones for specific device models, compatibility issues may arise when you plug them into a new device for the first time.
For Sony Xperia Z Ultra users, XDA Forum Member Pannam offers up a potential fix for issues with headphone / device incompatibility where certain buttons do not work on some devices. The fix basically consists of a simple tweak of a system value labelled headsethook. But first, you must install the provided keytest.apk and with it, find the numerical scancode of your headset. Once that’s done, simply change the headsethook value to the scancode of your headset. You then change the headset scancode to the original headsethook value, and install a third party headset app.
Although claimed to work with only the Xperia Z Ultra, it is likely that this will also work on other Xperia devices, as well as other Android devices in general. That said, always make a backup of the original files just in case things do not work out and you need to revert back to your previous settings. To find out more, visit the original thread.
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.
December 21, 2013 By: Samantha
Many Xperia users and non-users alike have been scratching their heads when Google revealed the Google Play edition (GPe) of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, also known as Sony Z Ultra, wondering why on earth Sony decided to put the much sought after pure Google experience on such a niche device. After all, a massive 6.4″ screen definitely isn’t for everyone, and it may well be an alienating factor.
Fortunately, XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD has ported Sony Z Ultra GPe’s Android 4.4.2 KitKat to the Xperia Z1, giving Z1 owners a taste of what the pure Google experience is all about. Not possible without the kernel sources of the Z Ultra GPe released by Sony (kudos to them), the port runs on a custom kernel that’s a modified version of the Z Ultra GPe kernel meant to work with the Xperia Z1, as both devices share the same board.
As of right now, the port is up and running, although there are still a couple crucial functions that still need to be fixed, such as the camera and WiFi. But other than that, the majority of functions seems to be working, including phone calls, audio and video playback, 3G data, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Since this is a port from another device, one who dives in must realize that there will inherently be bugs and issues that may or may not be known to others, including the developer. The port is been tested on the C6902 and C6903 variants of the Xperia Z1, and only devices with unlocked bootloaders will be able to run the port.
If you would like to give the pure Google experience a whirl on your Xperia Z1, visit the original thread for more details.
December 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We first got word that 4.4.2 was being released to the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition earlier today, when XDA Forum Member cob2004 posted a few screenshots and detailed his experiences with the update. In addition to bumping up the Android version to 4.4.2, the 444.1 MB full install OTA also fixes a few of the very annoying bugs plaguing the device including not being able to access security settings and not being able to uninstall apps.
Along with the update, Sony has also released the corresponding open source files for KOT49H. These come in at a healthy 534 MB and can be downloaded over on Sony’s Developer World.
After a very slow trickle of a few devices initially receiving the update, the signed OTA update has now been captured and mirrored thanks to XDA Forum Member sfagundes! Instead of waiting for the OTA, you can sideload it now by grabbing it from this thread and then performing the adb sideload <filename> command, with your device in recovery.
If you’re a Z Ultra GPe owner, we can only imagine how hard you’ve been lusting for this update. Now that it’s finally here, did it end up fixing all the glitches for you? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!
December 16, 2013 By: Samantha
Just a couple of days ago, we saw leaks of the third iteration of Android Jellybean for the Sony Xperia Z and ZL appear in the XDA forums. Sony’s mobile department must’ve interpreted this as a signal to start rolling out the promised updates of Android 4.3 to their devices, because that’s what’s happening right now.
Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra owners will notice an available update to Android 4.3 Jellybean either now or very soon according to Sony Mobile, and with it a couple of refreshed and new features on their newly updated devices. In addition to the expected optimization of the user interface and graphics, Z Ultra device owners will also get to enjoy the new Smart Social Camera that was originally introduced exclusively with the Xperia Z1, and ported to other Xperia devices.
The update will also be updating Sony’s portfolio of native applications such as Messaging, MyXperia, and Small Apps to their latest versions, as well as improving cloud service integration with the Walkman, Album, and Movies apps with Sony’s Entertainment and Gaming services.
Another very exciting addition to the Xperia experience that will be seen with this Android 4.3 update is what Sony’s calling “Xperia Themes,” which are downloadable user interface themes. No other details have been given at this moment, but we will expect more to be revealed sooner in the future.
As for users of the other devices promised an update, no further information have been given. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing similar rollouts sooner than later.
So how many Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra owners have been notified of an update? Are you updating right now, or have you already been updated? Share your thoughts and impressions with us below.
For more information, check out Sony Mobile’s official announcement.
December 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Two new devices have entered the Google Play edition family. They are the LG G Pad 8.3 and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Curiously, though perhaps indicative of Sony’s commitment to provide a true Google experience, they’ve dropped the Xperia moniker in the Z Ultra.
Both devices have landed in the Google Play Store, packing the same hardware that we’ve seen in their retail variants, but devoid of their typical OEM skins that normally obfuscate the Android experience. They both pack Android 4.4 KitKat, although it is unclear if they will have the newly released 4.4.1 or 4.4.2 goods.
The G Pad 8.3 GPe comes in at a relatively wallet-friendly price of $350 USD. For this money, you get a device packing an 8.3″ 1080p display, 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600, 2 GB of RAM, a 4600 mAh battery, and an all-aluminum back coming in at just 8.3 mm.
If the G Pad 8.3 GPe is the world’s first Google Play edition tablet, the Z Ultra GPe is the world’s first Google Play edition phablet. The Z Ultra GPe will set your wallet back a bit more, at $650 USD. For that price, you get a 6.4″ 1080p display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800, 2 GB of RAM, 7 bands of LTE, and a 3000 mAh battery.
You can get your hands on the two devices by visiting the Google Play edition Devices Page in the Google Play Store. You can also find direct links below, for your convenience:
Are you planning on making one of these devices yours, or would you rather buy the standard variant and load a GPe-derived ROM like what we’ve seen available for the other two GPe devices? Let us know in the comments below!
[Thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog 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 20, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If there’s a take home message regarding development on Sony Xperia devices, it’s that what appears on one device will inevitably appear on another. Be it due to the developer friendly nature of the company or similarities in internal architecture, we’re not complaining.
We recently talked about how losing the TA partition on an Xperia Z1 could have disastrous effects on camera functionality if a backup is not made prior. And given other reasons to keep a backup of that partition, we would highly recommend that would-be rooters make a backup before unlocking. Luckily, though, that’s not the only news we have to report on the Z1′s camera.
Thanks to porting efforts by XDA Recognized Developer krabappel2548, the Xperia Z1′s camera software can now be installed on the Xperia ZR, Xperia ZL, Xperia Z, and Xperia Z Ultra. So what features does this upgraded camera software bring? According to the developer:
- Info Eye
- Augmented Reality effects
- Timeshift mode
- Manual Mode
- Social Cast mode
- Automatic mode
To get started, head over to the appropriate thread below:
July 15, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
You can now get the look of the Sony Xpera Z Ultra on your Android 4.2.2 Device. That and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is an article about Securing Your App from the web side and news about executing terminal commands with Quick Terminal.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce released a video talking about the new Android Hacker School. Later, he released a video asking if your are smart enough to be a developer. Pull up a chair and check out this video.