May 23, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Official Android 4.4 KitKat is now rolling to the Sony Xperia Z, ZL, ZR and Tablet Z! 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 the arrival of Official OmniROM alpha builds for the Oppo Find 7a and official KitKat finally arriving on the AT&T LG Optimus G Pro. That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for the Xposed Framework 2.6 Update. Then, Adam reviewed the Samsung Galaxy NX. Lastly, TK gave us a an Android App Review of Dial’em All.
Also, don’t forget to check out other great stories released this week that weren’t posted in the video such as how Apple is holding iOS users hostage with an iMessage “flaw” and how upcoming CyanogenMod 11 builds will include benchmark performance “optimizations” similar to what we’ve seen in certain manufacturer firmwares.
For those who aren’t familiar with the feature, Sony Small Apps are lightweight floating applications that run on top of other, standard applications. They are intended to allow users to be more productive and more efficiently multitask.
Some time ago, Sony opened up the Small App API, allowing application developers to create their own applications compatible with Sony Small Apps. Now, XDA Senior Member hansip87 has released a streamlined task switcher application that makes use of the Small App API.
Fast Recent Apps Switcher does exactly what its name says; it switches between your recently used apps quickly. Rather than clicking the Android multitasking button and then selecting the appropriate app, all you have to do is click the application you’d like to switch too.
In addition to its floating window functionality, Fast Recent Apps Switcher offers a few more features than a standard task switcher. For starters, it allows you to define an application update time, as well as a variable number of viewable recent apps. If the automatic update interval isn’t enough for you, you can always swipe down to refresh the list. You can also change how the app looks by choosing either a horizontal or vertical layout. Finally, you can pin or unpin the small app depending on whether you’d like it to minimize after launching a new app.
If you’re a Sony Xperia owner and you’ve been looking for a customizable and efficient task switcher that makes use of the Small App API, head over to the application thread and give Fast Recent Apps Switcher a shot.
April 28, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s often enjoyable to experience another device’s software package on your existing hardware. Because of this, it’s quite common to see applications and even complete ROMs ported from one device to another—and one of the most popular device-specific apps to port is the camera app.
You may recall that not too long ago, we talked about how the Xperia M2′s camera software had been ported for use on other Xperia devices. Now, the Z2′s Smart Social Camera app has been ported for your enjoyment as well. This port, just like the M2 camera port, comes courtesy of Senior Member xperiaz2.
Unlike the previous port, which was compatible with any Xperia device running Jelly Bean or KitKat, this Z2 camera port only works with Xperia devices running CM11. But on the plus side, this port brings you all of the features of the Xperia Z2′s Smart Social Camera app, as well as the latest Addons such as AR effect, background defocus (i.e. bokeh), voice balloon photo, Info-eye, social live, motion shot, and more.
While installing the Z2′s camera app won’t give you its amazing image sensor, you’ll at least get to enjoy all of its software features on your CM11-powered Xperia device. Head over to the ported application thread to get started.
April 24, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
The Sony Xperia M2 is Sony’s affordable offering for early 2014. While not quite a lust-worthy flagship device like its big brother the Xperia Z2, the M2 is still decently specced, and it offers quite a bit to make it an ideal device for those who don’t need the absolute latest and greatest.
One of the nice software additions found on the M2 is its Smart Social Camera app. Luckily, XDA Senior Member xperiaz2 has ported it to all Xperia devices running either Jelly Bean or KitKat such as the Xperia M, SP, TX, V, Z, Z1, Z1 Compact, ZR, and ZU. The camera app itself offers automatic scene recognition with 36 predefined scene types, and automatic HDR mode. The addons then build on the camera app’s functionality by adding things like portrait retouching and intelligent capture, which can capture 61 frames in two seconds—even before the shutter button is pressed.
If you’ve got an older Xperia device running Jelly Bean or KitKat and you wish to run the latest Smart Social Camera app, head over to the ported application thread and give it a shot.
April 21, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2 KitKat has finally arrived on the Verizon LG G2! 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 the Xperia Z, ZL, ZR, and Tablet Z will receive their KitKat updates in May and the story about how the Sony Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition has received a Bluetooth certification for Android 4.4.3! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan also talks about the exciting news of the Xperia Z1 receiving multiboot. 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 Call Blocker and TK’s Android App Review of Lockdown Pro. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
We’ve come to expect nearly perfect camera performance in our modern day smartphones. If the image quality is just a tad shoddy in one respect, this issue is then multiplied tenfold in our ever so critical eyes. So it’s unfortunate that sometimes a flagship phone’s camera quality is not up to snuff, especially if you’ve paid big bucks for a flagship device. If you own an Xperia device and find yourself in such a situation, you may want to check out XDA Recognized Themer and Contributor Rizal Lovins‘s new tutorial on tweaking your camera app.
Written specifically for use on Sony Xperia devices, the tutorial teaches you how to tweak and modify numerous aspects of the camera app in order to make sure all future snapshots and videos look the way you want them to. The procedures explained do not require much prior knowledge—mainly decompiling and compiling APKs and smali editing—so pretty much anyone will be able to do this themselves. Modifications include:
As can be seen from the list, there’s a whole lot of tweaks you’ll be able to play with thanks to this tutorial, and they’re all relatively simple and straightforward. If you would like to find out more, be sure to check out the original thread for more information.
April 13, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Theming is an art. As such, making a beautiful theme is an extremely time consuming and challenging task. Preparing resources requires countless hours spent in a graphics editor app. Putting everything together into an application isn’t easy, but within XDA you’ll find a long list of guides and tutorials that help you understand the Android ecosystem better.
If you have some ideas regarding theming and don’t know where to start, you should read a guide written by XDA Senior Member SArnab©®. This guide explains how to create a theme in Eclipse for Xperia devices in step-by-step detail. The guide should work with Xperia phones running Android 4.3.
Every step is explained with screenshots and commentary, so you most likely won’t get lost while making your own theme. The guide author was also kind enough to provide all the necessary files and source code for the Xperia Pink Theme, which can be used for reference. And with a few relatively minor modifications, you can make a generic theme that works with every device—not just those by Sony.
This guide is a great starter for those looking to begin a journey in theming. So if you are planning to modify the look of your device, head over to the original thread and study it carefully. We wish you all good luck and no build errors!
April 13, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Launched this year at MWC, the Sony Xperia Z2 is Sony’s flagship device for 2014. The device improves upon its predecessor in various ways such as a much better display, an improved processor, and so on.
In addition to the hardware benefits, the Z2 also packs a few unique software tricks. One of the Z2′s unique software features is X-Reality Photo and Video Enhancement. This option increases the sharpness and improves the colors on images and videos displayed through the native Gallery app. And now thanks to XDA Senior Member xperiaz2, you can enjoy X-Reality on any Xperia device running KitKat or Jelly Bean.
Installation is easy. Simply flash an archive through your custom recovery of choice and add two lines to your build.prop. Then, you will find an option for “X-Reality for Mobile” in your Display Settings page. Once enabled, you’ll notice improved image quality in the stock Gallery app.
Those looking to give their mobile photos and videos a bit more pop can get started by visiting the ported application thread.
There is, and will continue to be, much debate regarding whether to Odex or Deodex a ROM. Some people prefer leaving ROMs Odexed for greater efficiency, while others prefer Deodexed ROMs and their freedom. This becomes even trickier when looking at OEMs, as some Odex their stock firmware, while others don’t. Sony is one of the OEMs that does Odex their ROMs.
If you’ve ever worked with APKTool to modify something in a precompiled ROM, you’ve certainly had to deodex a ROM. This can be done with several kitchens, scripts, or by executing commands in terminal. You can now Deodex the firmwares of new Xperia devices really easily with Kamome by XDA Senior Member RyokoN.
Kamome is a Windows script that pulls all the necessary files using ADB, Deodexes them, and creates a flashable archive ready to be installed through recovery. Kamome is distributed in two versions depending on Android OS version. It should work with all Xperia devices except the Sony Xperia Z2.
If you are a Windows user looking to Deodex a recent Xperia device, head over to the original thread to give Kamome a try.
April 12, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Most devices sold nowadays come with emulated external storage. On many devices, this emulated SD card is located on the same partition as your installed applications and their data. But on certain other devices, it’s located on a separate partition.
There are various tradeoffs associated with each approach, most of which are beyond the scope of this article. However, one rather significant annoyance with having your mount points on separate partitions is that you may run out of space on one partition while having abundant free space on the other—even though they’re both on the same eMMC chip. Luckily, there’s a solution for this, and it involves repartitioning your internal storage to better suit your needs.
Traditionally, repartitioning your device is a difficult and risky process. Moreover, the way to accomplish this is generally unique to a particular device or device family. But thanks to XDA Senior Member bsined, it’s a little more straightforward for owners of certain Sony Xperia devices.
Bsined’s guide was originally created for the Sony Xperia T, TL, TX, V, though it has the potential to work on many other Xperia devices—so long as a few requirements are met. First, you’ll need to have a rootable FTF file for an Android 4.1.2-based firmware. For the aforementioned Xperias, this is linked in the guide. You’ll also need a particular recovery, Sony Flashtool, and a few other utilities attached in the thread’s OP. From there, you proceed to backup all of your data, downgrade to 4.1.2, and repartition your device.
While the guide makes the process relatively easy to follow due to its clear steps and explanations, one must keep in mind that any kind of low level modification like this is inherently risky. So before trying this, make sure that you understand all the steps that are being done. Finally, it should be noted that all of these changes are reverted if you flash an FTF file that includes partition data.
If you want to maximize app storage space on your Xperia device, head over to the guide thread to learn more.
April 12, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Many are fans of particular OEM skins and their built-in features. One of the features available in stock Xperia ROMs is a Battery Stamina Mode, which was introduced to help users make the most of their batteries.
In this mode, all connectivity except GSM is disabled. This also disables your device’s LED lights. It works pretty well, but many find that disabling the LED is unnecessary. After all, without an LED, it’s rather easy to miss a call or message.
Now thanks to an Xposed Framework module by XDA Senior Member itandy, you can re-enable your LED leven when in Battery Stamina Mode. As you would expect, you need to be rooted and have Xposed Framework installed to get this going. And since this is an Xposed module, you can easily disable this when you want to go back to standard Battery Stamina Mode.
You can find the module in the original thread.
April 12, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
It’s been a long time coming for some devices, but Sony is now rolling out Android 4.3 and 4.4 firmware updates to the majority of its lineup. But with so many devices and so many different versions of Android available for these different devices and their variants, it’s quite easy to become confused.
Because of the complexity, it’s useful to have a centralized service to inform you of the latest version for your device and whether you need to update. Thankfully, there is a tool that allows Windows users to check to see if they are running the latest firmware. But of course, this tool requires Windows, and there are plenty of Xperia owners running Linux or Mac.
There is nothing more universal than a website that can be accessed directly from almost every device. And because of this, XDA Forum Member pascalbrax created one with up-to-date information regarding software updates available for Sony devices. The site displays the the latest firmware and links to supporting forums in many languages. Most newer devices are included, and can be monitored from the site.
You can find a link to the website and more information by visiting the original thread. If you are a Sony Xperia owner and you are eagerly waiting for your KitKat update, now’s a good time to make sure you’re running the latest firmware.
April 6, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Many of us don’t have unlimited texting plans. After all, why should we pay for something that essentially costs the carriers nothing? Plus, with practically everyone using some form of smartphone nowadays, it’s often more convenient to simply send an email or Hangouts message.
However, there are still times in which we must send a traditional text. For example, these messages can go through even when there is no standard data connectivity. When this happens, we either pay per SMS message or we eat at a given pool of messages that we purchased in our plan—unless, of course, we have an expensive unlimited messaging plan.
Unfortunately, many special characters reduce the number of characters that can be sent in a single message. This then requires the use of two or more SMS messages to achieve the same message. This then gouges our pockets to an even greater degree. Luckily, an interesting hidden option appeared in our Cross-Device Development Projects for Sony Devices forum.
Recognized Contributor and Themer DaRk-L0rD described the process of enabling a hidden option that converts certain special characters into their more traditional forms in order to make it so that your 160 characters stay at 160.
To perform the mod, you’ll need to decompile the original Sony messaging app, search for and modify a pair of strings, save, recompile, and resign the APK. The whole process is very simple, and you’ll be in and out in a matter of minutes.
If you are sick of wasting money on text messages and want to limit the number you send out without actually changing how you use your device, head over to the guide thread to learn more.