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: Tomek Kondrat
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.
October 28, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The great Samsung sieve has given us another Android 4.3 leak, this time for the Samsung Galaxy Note II. That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is an article reporting and Xposed module that will give AOSP lock screens to some TouchWiz users and the announcement of new forum for the jumbo-sized HTC One Max.
In other important news, Jordan talks about increasing the volume on your Sony Xpera Z1. Also, if you haven’t already checked out the Big Android BBQ presentations given by two XDA Elite Recognized Developers, make sure to check out XpLoDWilD‘s “Developments in the Open Source Community,” and Dees_Troy‘s “Software Architecture and Design.” Be sure to check out other videos on on XDA Developer TV. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
A couple of months ago, we covered a mod that increased the external and internal volumes of the Sony Xperia Z, a possible remedy for those who may have had issues with its sound capabilities. Well, despite having a largely improved external speaker on the phone’s successor, the Xperia Z1, users longing for that extra ‘umph’ may be interested in a mod by XDA Senior Member auras76.
Auras76 created a similar mod to that previously covered called Volume Boost XZ1, which increases various volumes on the device. Provided in a single and simple flashable zip, the mod increases the volume of the:
As always, it is recommended to create a Nandroid backup before you proceed with the installation to guard against any software or hardware incompatibility issues. Auras76 has also kindly provided a flashable zip file to reverse the mod’s effects if one chooses to do so.
However, one should also keep in mind that listening at high volumes for long periods of time is, in most cases, unhealthy both for yourself and possibly for the external speakers. Nevertheless, if you would still like to check out this mod, make your way over to the forum thread for more information and download.
September 26, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re a developer looking to target the Sony Xperia Z1 or Sony SmartWatch 2, the latest version of Sony’s Add-on SDK will undoubtedly be of interest. While having device-specific features inherently brings a set of pros and cons, it’s hard to argue with the fact that doing so uniquely tailors the software to work well with the hardware. Sony recently unveiled the second version of its Add-on SDK, which adds support for the new Sony SmartWatch 2 and the new Camera Add-on API.
The new capabilities for the SmartWatch 2 allow users to specify layouts to be displayed on the watch like they would be specified on Android. This also enables smoother scrolling than before in Gallery and ListView. You are also able to specify menus to be displayed on the device, as well as access the compass and light sensor.
The new Camera Add-on API allows you to tailor your camera app to make it accessible directly from the Xperia Z1′s “Smart Social Camera.” Doing this, the app gains additional visibility and integration from within the standard camera interface. Furthermore, developers can use the API to integrate the Xperia Z1′s camera features and modes into their own apps. This allows third party camera apps to work particularly well with the device’s camera.
To learn more, head over to the Sony Development Blog post detailing the v2 SDK. From there, also visit the posts below to use the new APIs:
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:
Any time we root and otherwise modify our devices, there’s an inherent risk involved. Yes, once in a while things don’t quite go as planned. However, if we’re careful, things usually go well. And we’re usually able to recover when they don’t.
A recent exception to this feeling of security had to do with the TA partition on Sony devices, where unlocking the bootloader would clear the TA partition, its stored DRM keys, and your ability to use certain Sony applications and receive OTA updates.
Now, there is something else to worry about when bootloader unlocking the Sony Xperia Z1 in particular: camera functionality. As noted in this thread (starting with post 4), various users are reporting problems with their cameras after unlocking their bootloaders.
It was eventually discovered that restoring the TA partition seems to fix the problem. So if you must proceed with unlocking your Z1, we highly recommend that you create a valid backup for your TA partition. However, proceed with caution, as restoring the TA partition seems to be the only way to restore camera functionality at this time.
September 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Samsung recently unveiled three new and enticing devices aimed at making you simultaneously lighten your wallet a little, as well as pack your pocket, briefcase, and wrist with a little more technology. These are, of course, the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), and the Galaxy Gear.
Samsung refreshed its popular Galaxy Note lineup with the Galaxy Note 3 phablet and the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition). Both build upon their predecessors by adding more powerful specs, while retaining the critically acclaimed S Pen functionality. The Galaxy Note 3 ups the ante on its predecessor by raising the screen resolution to 1080p, upping the RAM to 3 GB, and packing in a quad-core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor. Similarly the Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) increases its screen resolution to 2560×1600, brings the RAM to 3 GB, and packs that same quad-core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon processor as its little brother. Samsung also introduced its Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The device, which connects to various Samsung mobile devices, features an 800 MHz processor, a 320×320 resolution display, and half a gig of RAM.
In today’s additions, we also have the Sony Xperia Z1. Codenamed Honami, the Z1 is a high-end device with a 5″ 1080p display, 2 GB of RAM, a quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, and a slim 8.5mm profile. More info and specs can be found on Sony’s official product page.
Are you thinking of adding any of these to your mobile arsenal? Let us know in the comments below, and of course, don’t forget to head over to the newly created forums to get in on the discussion!