February 21, 2014 By: Samantha
One interesting function Sony touted for their phablet, the Xperia Z Ultra, is its ability to react to ordinary pens and pencils—yes, pens and pencils—as a styli. Putting aside the obvious concern of scratching and ruining your phone’s screen with a pen, it’s still definitely a unique differentiating factor when you’re comparing different phablets.
Well, it turns out that the Xperia Z1’s screen also has this same capability, except it was disabled by Sony for some reason or another. First implemented in an AOKP ROM for the device, XDA Senior Member RyokoN has now made the this function available to any owner of the Xperia Z1 running the official firmware.
In order to get this working, you must edit edit hw_config.sh, or create an init.d script with the lines of code given by RyokoN. Don’t worry if this sounds a bit too brief and incomplete, as RyokoN has provided all the necessary steps and information to get this rather simple mod up and running. And for users of Tasker, RyokoN has also created an app to get Pen mode working with Tasker.
This mod is only compatible with materials made of metal, wood, and lead, so plastic and anything else will not work. If you want to give this a try, head over to the original thread for more information.
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!]
January 30, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
As is pretty much always the case, quite a bit is happening in the Sony Xperia world. And today, this comes in the form of official updates for the Sony Xperia M and the flagship Xperia Z1—the former coming soon, and the latter already rolling out with a captured update package.
First off, we have the Sony Xperia M. The device, which was released in the middle of last year, was never destined to be a flagship device. In fact, with only a dual-core 1 GHz processor and a WVGA screen, it was more inline with the flagships of 2011 and 2012 than 2013. Regardless, the Xperia M is still a good device, and it has amassed a loyal following in our forums. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that many were upset when the device wasn’t included in the initial list of Xperia smartphones set to receive official Android 4.3—much less KitKat. Thankfully though, it appears as if the Xperia M will be receiving official Android 4.3 after all, as Vodafone Australia has queued the Android 4.3 update for testing. While this doesn’t say anything about unbranded devices or those available on other carriers (or even other Vodafone regions), it bodes well for Sony’s progress behind the scenes.
On the Sony Xperia Z1 front, we have an official maintenance update to software version 14.2.A.1.136. The update has only rolled out to certain BALs at this time, but XDA Recognized Developer Androxyde has managed to create an FTF from his customized BAL and mirror it in this thread for everyone’s enjoyment. Furthermore, several other users have provided the updates for different variants in the thread as well, if you’d rather have a different region’s firmware. The update itself is still Android 4.3, but it brings numerous fixes, as well as a new white balance setting.
If you’re a Xperia Z1 user and you would like to get your hands on the update in FTF form, head over to the firmware thread to get started. On the other hand, if you’re an Xperia M user and you’d like to discuss the incoming 4.3 update, head over to this discussion thread and speak your mind.
[Source: Vodafone.au | Thanks to Samantha for the tip!]
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
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 22, 2013 By: Samantha
A few days ago, we brought you news of a port of the Sony Xperia Z1-exclusive Motionshot app to all devices running Android 4.0 and up. It’s a pretty neat app that essentially generates a still image of a short video. But it seems like Motionshot isn’t the only app the Xperia Z1 has to share with the rest of the Android world, as Motiongraph will also be joining the list.
Ported by XDA Forum Member xperiaz2 who also ported Motionshot, Motiongraph works with any Android 4.0 or newer device, irrespective of OEM or ROM. And much like Motionshot, Motiongraph is another novelty imaging app by Sony.
Motiongraph allows users to create an image, where selected parts are animated, and then the image is saved as a GIF. The procedure is simple. First, capture a 2 second video within the app. Once done, the app allows you to select areas of the video that you want to be animated with swipes and taps. A host of other settings are also available to enhance and control your image, such as camera focus, image stabilization, and adjustment of playback speed and smoothness.
If you would like to give Motiongraph a shot, visit the original thread for more details and download.
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: Samantha
One nifty app that was made exclusive to Sony’s latest flagship, the Xperia Z1, is the MotionShot camera. As its name suggests, it allows you to capture motion in a singular image, with a resulting similar to the featured image to the right. So although MotionShot doesn’t necessarily provide an absolutely essential function, it wouldn’t hurt to have it on other Android devices.
The good thing is, XDA Forum Member xperiaz2 has ported MotionShot to all devices running Android versions Ice Cream Sandwich and greater, meaning that the majority of Android devices will be able to create their own ‘motion shots’ with MotionShot. The port takes form as a simple APK that can be installed as you would with any other APK file.
The ported app is reported to be stable and working without issues, and this seems to be the case in my own personal testing. It should be noted that the app does require at least 500MB of free space on your phone in order to run.
Those looking to give this a shot should visit the original thread for more information.
December 17, 2013 By: Samantha
Now that the roll out of Android 4.3 Jellybean to Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra devices is well under way, some Xperia Z1 owners have noticed one useful feature that’s been made available to to only Japanese Xperia Z1 devices (aka SO-01F): white balance. The feature isn’t something very new, as it was originally introduced alongside the Xperia ZL earlier this year, and it was inevitably ported over to fellow Xperia devices, namely the Z, T, TX and V. However, it certainly is puzzling that Sony decided to keep the rest of the world from this feature.
Fear not, as it seems like nothing can hold back the XDA community from getting what they want. XDA Forum Member RyokoN successfully ported White Balance from the Japanese Xperia Z1 firmware to non-Japanese variants. The port seems to be working as it should overall according to feedback from the XDA community, but RyokoN does note that for changes to White Balance settings to take place, a reboot must take place afterwards. As expected, the port will only work with Xperia Z1 handsets running the new Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update from Sony, and comes in a simple zip file that’s to be flashed through a custom recovery.
So if you’ve been scratching your head and wondering where to find White Balance on your freshly updated XPeria Z1, head over to the original thread for more information on the port.
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.
November 20, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
The launch of the Sony Xperia Z1 was a major success. This device has high end specifications and an extremely impressive camera, which made it quite popular among XDA forum members. In addition to its hardware specs, it also packs the very good looking Timescape UI.
The Honami, which is the codename for Sony’s latest flagship, brought a lot of firmware improvements that have made the UI eye-catching. Many forum members agree, and have come to enjoy the overall look. However, not everything is ideal, and some fonts in Google account settings are displayed in a less than ideal color.
XDA Recognized Developer niaboc79 looked into this, and found that the color is hard coded in smali rather than the more common XML. Niaboc79 decided to share his knowledge and wrote a guide on how to change the color to black to make it more aesthetic. He was kind enough to post the smali code, so changing those values won’t be a big challenge. This technique uses reverse engineering, so APK Tool or some applications like VTS will be required. Of course, your device must be rooted to get the Settings.apk and push it back using the ADB protocol.
If you own a Sony device and are using a Honami-styled ROM, head over to the tutorial thread to learn how to fix the font color!
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
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.