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
November 5, 2013 By: Tomek Kondrat
When Google announced a new version of Android called KitKat, everybody wanted to taste its sweetness. It didn’t take long before the first unofficial builds were available on some recent Nexus devices. In less than a week after the unveiling, Android 4.4 has landed on the Sony Xperia Z. XDA Senior Member pabx has created an early, but yet quite functional build for Sony’s former flagship device.
This build is a pure Android AOSP build. It has neither recovery nor root, and it needs to be flashed with fastboot. The build is described as a beta, but the list of working features is very impressive. A user stated that his build has only two minor bugs, which don’t affect the user experience much. Pabx also cares about the spirit of open source, and has released his source tree so everyone can contribute and make Android 4.4 on the device even more flawless.
The ROM can only be used on unlocked phones, and it requires full wipe to work. If you own an Xperia Z and don’t want to wait for Sony to release an official update, visit the ROM thread and take a bite of KitKat yumminess.
October 28, 2013 By: Samantha
With the latest Android 4.2 update for the few Xperia devices in the last couple of months, came a much welcomed enhancement to the otherwise lackluster status bar toggles. Rather than restricting users to the inadequate four default toggles, Sony has loosened the reins by allowing up to 15 toggles to be added, removed, and rearranged. The most obvious problem with this, however, is the clutter that inevitably spawns from the combination of multiple rows of toggles and a couple of ongoing notifications.
It’s probably one of the reasons why XDA Senior Member MohammadAG created an Xposed module for the Xperia Z1, replacing these toggles with AOSP ones. That means out with the clutter, and in with the individual panels for the notifications and suite of toggles. As a cherry on top, the new set up is entirely compatible with the popular Gravity Box Xposed module and its whole variety of customization options, so you don’t have to miss out on whatever personalization you had previously with your status bar and toggles.
The module has also been reported to work with various other Xperia devices running Android 4.2 with the default Sony firmware, including the Xperia Z and ZL. The other requirement is to have XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed Framework up and running.
If you’d like to give this a spin, check out the original thread for more details and download.
September 27, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If own a Sony Xperia device and have switched out your ROM for an AOSP-derived firmware such as CyanogenMod, you may miss a few OEM-provided pieces of software from time to time. Some of the interesting value-added software provided by Sony include their “small apps,” as well as their upgraded task switcher.
Thankfully, XDA Senior Member lukakas has created a guide to help you port these Sony-specific additions to CyanogenMod 10.1 (and perhaps any ROM based on Android 4.2.2). More specifically, the guide allows you to bring the Sony Xperia Z-specific versions of those addons.
The guide is extremely well written, and even features a helpful YouTube video that shows some of these additions in action. The guide walks you through the process of decompiling and modifying android.policy.jar, framework.jar, framework-res.apk, and SystemUI.apk. All of the modifications as well as what to do afterward are clearly outlined and color coded.
Head over to the tutorial thread to get started. Kudos to lukaskas for the well written and easy-to-follow instructions.
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:
One of the biggest gripes we have with our NFC-enabled devices is the somewhat unnecessary requirement of having to unlock them in order to activate NFC. This requirement effectively reduces the practicality of our many enabled stickers, tags, and gadgets, as it leads to another inconvenient step that limits the use of NFC in the first place.
There is good news, though, as a couple of good folks here have created mods that allows for NFC activation when the device’s screen is off or at the lock screen. This has been made possible by XDA Senior Member StephanSch for the following devices:
This mod is also available for the Samsung Galaxy S4 thanks to XDA Senior Member OptimalKiller. The mods come in some variation of a modified NFC APK that is then moved to the /system/apps directory, thus requiring root access. It’s important to note that the mods are compatible with only certain specific builds, frameworks, and devices. Because of this, you have to make sure to download and install the correct version. Also, make some sort of backup to ensure that you can revert the effects if things go awry.
For more information and detailed instructions, visit the threads for the following devices: HTC One, One X, EVO 4G LTE, Sony Xperia Z, Xperia P, Xperia Sola, Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, and Galaxy S4.
July 27, 2013 By: Samantha
Taking pictures underwater is probably something that not many people have attempted. Of course, not only are the physical and hardware limitations preventing people from doing so, expect for a select ‘few’ devices, but physics tells us that capacitive touch screens will have a hard time registering any taps and swipes when under water. A physical camera button may remedy this issue on the Sony Xperia Z, but how about the proximity sensor?
In answer to a question along similar lines, XDA Forum Member AGGevorgyan has developed an that allows Xperia Z owners to easily take photos with the proximity sensor. Designed to rid users of the aforementioned problem, Aqua Z Camera will snap up pictures every time you tap the proximity sensor—simple as that. The sensor sensitivity, being the duration you have your finger covering the proximity sensor, can be adjusted within the app. The great thing is that it doesn’t require root access, meaning its a viable alternative to the physical camera button mod. Despite being in the early alpha stages, AGGevorgyan has already included camera options native to the original camera app, including:
With four versions currently under the belt, AGGevorgyan warns that Aqua Z Camera may be unstable for some, and will not work with any other device. To learn more, check out the original thread.
You weren’t able to set foot on the Interwebs for the past 48 hours without being bombarded by a never ending stream of news about Chromecast, the new Nexus 7, and of course the updated software it will be running, Android 4.3. As with any update to the Android OS, the usual clamor for factory images and race to bring the update to other Nexus devices has been as frenzied as always. However, it’s not only Nexus devices that are able to take advantage of the latest AOSP updates.
Thanks to a combination of Sony Mobiles efforts to be the Good Guy Greg of Android OEMs and XDA Developer Admin pulser_g2, Sony Xperia Z users can now get a feel for “stock” Android 4.3 on their device. The build is compiled by adding the Sony repository to AOSP 4.3, and as with other Sony AOSP releases, there is no functional radio included. Therefore, no calls/SMS/mobile data (this can be rectified though if you know what you’re doing, and that’s all I have to say about that). For this reason, the build is provided as a fastboot image and not a flashable zip. This is compiled for and tested solely on the C6603, so don’t go throwing this at another model and expecting it to stick.
Obviously, without a radio this isn’t going to be your daily driver. However, it’s certainly worth a look if you want to check out the latest update and don’t have a Nexus device laying around. Check out the development thread for more information.
July 10, 2013 By: Samantha
Quite a few Sony Xperia Z owners have expressed disappointment with the low sound quality, or at least volume, of the device’s external speaker—an issue that may stem from the speaker’s water resistance or its small size. Nevertheless, XDA Senior Member ZeroInfinity has managed to increase both the internal and external sound volume with the Extra Volume Boost mod. A normal version is available for devices running AOSP-based ROMs, while users of Sony’s stock firmware will be able to enjoy either the normal or the ‘Super-loud’ version.
Installation is simple, requiring users to download the zip file of choice and flash it through a custom recovery such as CWM or TWRP. It is, however, recommended to make a Nandroid backup first just in case the mod either doesn’t work or causes issues such as no sound, which one user reported. Flashable zip files are also provided for those who would like to revert the effects of the mod.
Please keep in mind that playing sounds at high volumes for extended periods of time may damage the external speakers since they are being taxed to a greater extend than with the original settings. For more information and download, visit the original thread.
One of our goals for the year has been to better organize all of the development works (ROMs, apps, tools, kernels, etc.) on XDA. We wanted this to be useful but also to have minimal impact on how developers post to XDA and on users who are happy with the current structure of the forums.
We’re currently testing a system, we call the Development Database (or DevDB for short) on a handful of forums (Galaxy S II, Xperia Z, Galaxy Note II, Droid DNA, Nexus 4, Nexus 7). You’ll note that when you go to the gateway to those forums, such as that for the Xperia Z, you can now see a tab for ROMs. Each ROM is linked to a forum thread– just as it’s always been. But when you click through to these threads, you’ll notice that they’ve become “enhanced” with a shiny new menu bar as shown in the below screenshot. Developers have the option of which features they want to include for each project:
- Feature Requester
- Bug Reporter
- Downloads (via our own torrent tracker)
- Q&A Thread Linking
June 3, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Get started with Windows 8 development with a handy tutorial. 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 connecting certain Samsung devices via USB Mass Storage protocol and adding a physical camera button to your Sony Xperia Z.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce released a video on salary negotiation tips and tricks, which was followed up with a video on tips and tricks for the toughest job interview questions. Pull up a chair and check out this video.