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 28, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2 KitKat has begun rolling out to the Verizon Galaxy S 4! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this weekend’s news is the announcement that KitKat for the Xeria Z has been leaked and that the Galaxy Note II international variant has gotten Android KitKat! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan also talked about understanding cross compiling and Android. So pull up a chair and check out this and other XDA Developer TV videos like, XDA Developer TV Producer TK’s Xposed Tuesday video for PerAppFonts and Tasker on the Galaxy Gear, and his Android App Review of Auto Config Free.
April 26, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Back in December of last year, Sony started rolling out Android 4.3 Jelly Bean to various former flagship devices such as the Xperia Z. Then back in March of this year, we heard that the Xperia Z would receive the official KitKat goods some time in Q2 of this year. And about a week ago, this was indirectly confirmed through Sony’s official update page for the device.
Well folks, May is right around the corner. And given how close we are to Sony’s self-imposed deadline for their early 2013 flagship, it’s no big surprise to see a relatively functional KitKat leak emerge for the device. The leak weighs in at software version 10.5.A.0.227, and as we’ve come to expect on Sony devices, it comes courtesy of XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD.
The build itself was originally intended for engineering/developer (brown) devices only. But luckily, DooMLoRD was able to get it to boot on production C6602/6603 devices. Unfortunately since it’s an engineering release, not all of the features that will make it onto the final release are present. Furthermore, the firmware is still very laggy, but it can be safely assumed that the shipping version will run better.
If you wish to have a quick taste of what KitKat will be like on the Xperia Z, head over to the leaked firmware thread and give this a shot. Just make sure you have a nice Nandroid to restore from once you’re done playing around.
[Many, many thanks once again to XDA Portal Supporter Titokhan for the tip!]
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.
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!
February 20, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
In recent years, Sony has become a Good Guy Greg for developers and users by allowing them to unlock their bootloaders and by releasing kernel source code in a timely fashion. Many of their devices and Android modifications are quite unique. Some devices, like the Xperia Tablet Z have an interesting baked-in feature that uses screen to wake their devices by simply double tapping on the screen. The double tap to wake feature was originally exclusive to that tablet. But thanks to AOKP team, users can now use this feature on the Xperia Z family of smartphones.
XDA Senior Member championswimmer recently merged a kernel patch that adds double tap to wake support for the Xperia Z, ZR and ZL. His investigation showed that the necessary drivers were already available in the source code, but were locked. The developer added and removed a few lines in the source code, and now the apq8064 family has this feature available. Battery drain shouldn’t be a problem, as it’s a built-in function of the Synaptics ClearPad touch matrix, and it works pretty well on the aforementioned tablet.
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
We’ve all pretty much gotten used to the standard Android navigation bar setup, which is normally any permutation of a back, home, and recent apps buttons. This generally features the home button right in the middle between the other two. But what about the power and menu buttons? Surely, they’re just as commonly accessed to warrant a place on the convenient navigation bar, right?
Well, XDA Senior Member Rajeev seems to think so. And as a result, he wrote a great tutorial on how to add both the power and lock buttons to the navigation bar of the Sony Xperia Z. The process is very simple, consisting of decompiling the SystemUI.apk, moving the provided images to the designated folder, adding and removing lines of code in a couple XML files, and finally recompiling it all back together into an APK and signing it off.
By default, you’ll end up with a navigation bar with all five buttons in the order of back, home, menu, lock, and recent apps, but switching the order up is just a easy. As explained by Rajeev further on in the thread, all you have to do is rearrange the order of the codes for these buttons in whichever way you like.
Any Xperia Z user who has either the official Android 4.1.2, 4.2.2, or 4.3 firmware running on their device will be able to follow the tutorial, although it may be possible for owners of similar Xperia devices to do so as well. If you would like to learn more, check out the original thread for more information.
January 18, 2014 By: Samantha
Up until now, customizing an Xperia launcher and lock screen has been quite the hassle, usually consisting of decompiling an APK, making your edits, and recompiling it. So if you wanted an extra row or column of icons on your home screen, you had to flash this, if you wanted fading home screen indicators, you had to flash this, and if you wanted to get rid of the app dock, you had to flash this, and so on. For every little change you wanted, there was an individual mod that you had to flash, and this can definitely become burdensome if you wished for a lot of changes.
This is probably why XDA Forum Member greg2001 developed an Xposed module to apply such aesthetic changes to the launcher and lock screen of the Sony Xperia Z. With it, one no longer has to create, find, and flash a plethora of incremental modifications to make their launcher and lock screen their own. Rather, XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed framework does all the work for you.
The full list of tweaks to the launcher and lock screen are as follows:
And because this is an Xposed mod, reverting back to previous settings is as simple as few taps and swipes, much more convenient than previously. It must be noted that the module will only work with an Xperia Z running the official Android 4.3 firmware.
If you would like to check this out, head over to the original thread for more information.
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 26, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
As you’re making your way down the list of things to try with your newly acquired tech toys, one thing you’ll undoubtedly get around to is flashing a custom ROM. Those looking for aftermarket firmware now have one more Android 4.4.2-based option, as the AOKP team has just finished incorporating Google’s latest and greatest into their nightly builds.
Currently, Android 4.4.2-based nightly builds are available for the Google Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Nexus 7 (2013), Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, HTC One, Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia T, and Xperia V. More devices will be added to the nightly list as soon as they’re ready. The AOKP team recommends a full wipe when installing the latest JB-MR2 nightlies, but users on unofficial builds released after December 10 may be able to get away without a full wipe.
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!]