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: eagleeyetom
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!]
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.]
In their current states, the Sony Xperia Z (C6603) and the Xperia ZL (C6503) are great devices. However, a sad truth is that virtually all OEM-skinned devices fall behind their Nexus and Google Play edition comrades when it comes to Android version updates. And while an official KitKat update probably won’t make its way to the two devices before 2014 begins, a leaked version of 4.3 has already made its way onto the forums.
The leak for the two devices comes come courtesy of XDA Recognized Developer Androxyde. Both builds are version number 10.4.B.0.569, and are labeled as being for “Commercial&Journalists.”
So far, user response has been quite positive for both builds, with many users mentioning significantly increased performance. And while these updates are currently unofficial leaks, it is possible for them to become suitable for mass consumption, as we’ve seen in other devices.
Head to the appropriate link below to get started:
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