June 16, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
So you are browsing the XDA forum for a device you don’t happen to own, and you stumble upon a ROM that catches your eye. What’s more, the supported device even has a vastly different resolution than your own. What do you do next? Since we’re still trying to battle upgrade-itis, you’re not going to give in and buy the new device just yet. But how can you adapt some of the same experience for use on your own device? Port the ROM over!
First things first, it’s important to note that we highly encourage source-built development work rather than porting existing binaries over. However, sometimes, you want something quick and dirty that will be used for personal use. Unfortunately, though, this process is often too complicated for novice tweakers. Thanks to a guide created by XDA Recognized Developer sandy7, though, this is now easier than ever.
The guide is quite detailed. It spans three detailed and information-packed posts, and each post describes its part of the process in great detail. However, in order to successfully port a functional ROM to a vastly different target device, many steps are needed, so this is to be expected. That’s not to say that this process is difficult. It’s relatively straightforward. However, you’ll need to allocate a decent chunk of time prior to getting started. There are also screenshots along the way to help keep you on the right track.
While the guide is actually geared towards Xperia MDPI devices such as the Mini, Mini Pro, Active, Ray, and Live with Walkman, much of the guide contents can be adapted to other MDPI devices. So just be aware that if your target device is not one of the above, you’ll need to dig a little bit deeper to make it work. To learn more, head over to the guide thread.
June 5, 2013 By: Samantha
Sony’s power management software Stamina Mode is one hallmark feature of the Xperia Z and its siblings marketed by Sony. With capabilities of extending battery life by more than four times and being a native piece of software to the 2013 Xperia lineup, it’s with no wonder that owners of earlier Xperia devices would love to get their hands on this piece of goodness.
So for those with the Xperia S, SL, Ion and Acro S, the anticipation is finally over. XDA Senior Member Aeron sagar has ported Stamina Mode over to the aforementioned devices. Compatible with a deodexed Jelly Bean firmware and with either a locked or unlocked bootloader, users must download the provided zip file and move each file to their corresponding directories in order to install Stamina Mode. Simple.
But how does Stamina Mode work? Well it actually operates quite similarly to some 3rd party battery saving apps out there on the market. Once in standby mode, Stamina Mode kicks in and blocks all data traffic and background activities from waking up the system. This means that apps do not synchronize for new data, messages, and notifications. There are also settings for users to customize the list of apps affected by this, as well as turn on location-based WiFi, a function that will automatically activate WiFi once the phone is within proximity of a saved network.
So if you’ve been waiting on trying this out on your 2012 Xperia device, make sure to check out the original thread for more information and further discussion.
If you’ve only recently made the transition from hardware or capacitive navigational buttons to on-screen buttons like I have, you may have found the virtual buttons to be quite obstructive and intrusive, for a lack of better words. If you own either the Sony Xperia Z, T, TX, or V; there is now a guide that allows you to not only make the on-screen buttons transparent, but also the status bar if you wish.
Written by XDA Forum Member Spaun_Studio, the guide is relatively simple and straightforward, detailing the required process for transparent virtual buttons and status bar with clear and direct steps. Users must decompile the android.policy.jar and SystemUI.apk file with a tool such as APKtool. From there, users edit, remove, and add a couple of lines in various .xml and .smali files, and recompile them once completed. Each step is accompanied visually with examples of code, with a convenient color coding system to aid users with finding the specific codes that require editing.
We always love guides that teach users how to mod their phones themselves—not only because they encourage users to learn, but also because of the unrestricted flexibility they enable. In this case, users can freely change a couple lines of code to have whatever degree of transparency they fancy.
Of course, following the instructions I have only briefly outlined would would most certainly result in an unwelcome outcome (although you’re more than welcome to try), so it’s best for you to visit the guide for a successful modification.
Previously we introduced two small apps developed by XDA Recognized Themer soumya_digi. Those were a music control small app and a LMGTFY small app, and they were created using the Small Apps add-on SDK provided by Sony. If you are not aware, small apps are floating, miniature applications that hover over any running application. They allow you to do some quick calculations, jot down some notes, and much more. Now, soumya_digi has developed 3 more small apps for Xperia users out there.
The 3 new small apps are:
Of course, each of these apps will be of use for different people in different situations, such as allowing for quick access to a makeshift torch in the dark, a readily available set of useful settings without having to navigate to the settings menu or a widget on the homescreen. And with the discount calculator, you can…um…calculate discounts quickly and easily.
It goes without saying, but still going to be iterated, these small apps are only compatible with devices that support the small apps extension, including Xperia devices and non-Xperias that have had smalls apps ports. Soumya_digi has made these available for free and exclusive to the XDA forum community, so make sure to check out the small apps thread for more details and downloads.
When the Xperia ZL was released, it shipped with Sony’s brand new screen calibration software called White Balance. This software allowed users to separately adjust the white balance, color saturation, and hue of the ZL’s screen. A most useful and practical addition, especially considering the importance the screen is to a satisfying smartphone experience, it’s with surprise that Sony did not include this in their latest flagship, the Xperia Z. However, worry not, as not only has White Balance been ported to the Z, the Xperia T, V, and TX can also get their hands on the cake.
The original port is for the Xperia Z, made to work by XDA Forum Member mw1kaduxx, with the other devices receiving support courtesy of XDA Forum Member AliAlsuhail. The installation methods for these devices are pretty much the same, with T, V, and TX users required to perform an extra step. Users of all four of these devices must download the provided White Balance zip file and flash it through recovery or manually push each file in the zip to their respective directories on the phone and set the correct permissions. Users of the T, V, and TX will have to subsequently flash XDA Senior Member gm007‘s Xperia Z Settings mod in order to get White Balance to operate correctly.
AliAlsuhail has acknowledged that the port for the T, V, and TX may incur some peripheral bugs when adjusting the brightness through the settings menu. However an updated port has been released by XDA Senior Member recoba23 that may put an end to some of these operational flaws.
April 19, 2013 By: Samantha
Since the debut of Socialife on the Xperia Tablet S in 2012 and the eventual axing of Xperia’s main social networking app Timescape in early 2013, Sony has been pushing Timescape’s successor Socialife on it’s new Xperia devices, the Z, ZL, SP and L. With all this hype surrounding Socialife, it’s inevitable that users of 2011 and 2012 Xperia devices would want to get their hands on a piece of the cake as well.
Thankfully, XDA Senior Member erorcun has made Sony’s Socialife work with the entire 2011 and 2012 Xperia lineup, supporting both Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Unlike previous attempts at porting Socialife that not only inconveniently required changes to build.prop but also resulted in numerous additional bugs for those who were lucky to get it working, this port works straight out of the box, only allowing users to install normally or pushing it to /system/app and setting the correct permissions.
Of course, the numerous frustrating bugs and flaws present on the Xperia Tablet S, Z and ZL are, not surprisingly, still present on 2011 and 2012 Xperias. Despite this, Sony’s new social networking app is clean and pleasant to the eye, more logical and personalized in design and concept—and smooth in operation when it works. So you may be asking, is Socialife a worthy successor to Timescape? Well with all things considered, many will currently say no. However, if you still would like to check it out, you can download it from the original thread.
April 12, 2013 By: Samantha
Yes, we know you know that Xperia Small Apps have been ported to Xperia ROMs not based on stock roms, as well as to non-Xperia devices. However, what if the port just happens to not work with your device? Or maybe you’re one of them folks who likes to know what goes on behind the scenes? XDA Recognized Contributor sandy7 has written another top-notch guide to not only let users know how devs achieve these ports, but also to allow you to give it a go yourself.
With no fancy preamble, sandy7 goes straight into helping you help yourself with the porting process, which can be broken down into 5 steps aided with helpful visuals:
So there you have it. Those are the 5 steps to achieving small apps porting success and glory. It’s all in your hands now. But fear not, as the process of porting small apps seem to be relatively simple and great for beginners to try out themselves. It’s also been tested on most Xperia devices and Samsung Galaxy SL, with support for CyanogenMod 9 and 10, Paranoid Android, Pacman, and possibly CM 10.1.
For more details and information, visit the original thread and guide.
Note: Screenshots shown taken from Galaxy SL Xperia-themed running CM10
Despite the massive lineup of devices Sony has released over the past year, loyal users of the company’s older devices continually display a strong culture of development, presenting many ports of features from newer Xperia devices including the Xperia S lock screen, Xperia Small Apps, and Xperia Jelly Bean lock screen. Now add to that list the Magnification Glass from the Xperia T, V, and Z.
XDA Senior Member AeonWorld, who also ported the aforementioned Xperia S lock screen and Small Apps, recently ported this Magnification Glass feature of recent Sony flagships to all 2011 Xperia devices such as the Xperia Arc, Xperia Ray, and Xperia Play. The feature has one simple and obvious function, and that is to allow users to view words and images through a magnifying glass, enlarging whatever content that is hovered over. Currently, there are 2 shapes of magnifying glass, a circle and a rectangle, and they both work within apps such as messaging and notes, and also in browsers. Installation is relatively straightforward, requiring users to download two zip files, which are to be flashed in recovery. This port has also been made to work on Xperia S by XDA Senior Member niaboc79.
Although nothing new in the Android world, the magnifying glass feature will be extremely useful for many 2011 Xperia users, and more importantly, complete a unique and plenary Xperia experience for many who prefer native functions and development over third-party apps. For more details, visit the original thread for 2011 Xperia devices and the Xperia S.
February 15, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.2.2 is rolling out to most current Nexus devices. That story and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Jordan talks about the other video released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an app review this week comparing two gesture control apps, Trigger and LMT.
In Sony Xperia news, Jordan talks about the kernel source release for the Sony Xperia Z, a device that isn’t even available for purchase. Additionally, Jordan talks about the app fine-tuning and debugging tool released by Sony developers. Pull up a chair and check out this video. Finally, be sure to check out all the other news from XDA-Developers.
February 3, 2013 By: Samantha
Want to try something a little bit new on your ICS-based Sony Xperia device? Sony’s lock screen used in their Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update has been ported to all Xperia devices running Ice Cream Sandwich by XDA Forum Member erorcun. Supported devices include the Xperia Arc and Xperia Ray of the 2011 lineup, as well as the Xperia Sola and Xperia S of the 2012 lineup.
Most notably, Sony changed essentially the entire interface seen in it’s Gingerbread and ICS predecessors by allowing users to swipe up or down anywhere to unlock the phone. Upon contact, the screen breaks up into an effect reminiscent of Venetian blinds, which lasts for as long as you hold your finger on the screen. This serves to make unlocking your phone easier than before by freeing your thumbs from awkward motions. There is now also an option to change the background of the lock screen with the default wallpapers or your own pictures through the Album application. Swiping the digital clock to the right allows access to various music shortcuts, and swiping to the left is a ‘quick-capture’ camera feature, where a picture is taken upon swipe. Unfortunately, lock screen notifications such as new text messages and emails have been removed by Sony, justified by the pull-down notification area of the status bar.
Two versions of the lock screen are available. The first first features permanent ‘slide-to-unlock’ text in the middle of the screen, whereas the second only displays the text after the third unlock attempt. Sony’s Jelly Bean lock screen is a nice change from the standard ‘left-to-right slide’ lock screen of previous Xperia devices, and hopefully this will tide many Xperia users over till the official Android Jelly Bean update.
For more details, check the original thread here.
January 2, 2013 By: Haroon Q. Raja
If you have owned a Sony Xperia device, you probably know about the FTF file format. In case you aren’t aware, it’s a flashable ROM file format that can be used to install Android from your computer using FlashTool. Though when it comes to updating your Xperia device using the Sony Update Service (SUS), multiple files in a different format are downloaded to your computer instead. While this may not effect the average users who are only interested in getting the latest OS update on their devices, having access to the FTF file can be a benefit to many of us. It allows us to keep that firmware file readily available for flashing whenever we want without having to use SUS to download it again. It also makes sharing the latest firmware with others a piece of cake. Furthermore, you can also convert FTF files into flashable zip files for quick ROM installation via recovery. That’s why converting these files into a flashable FTF files can come in handy.
So far, there have been methods available for making such FTF files for the 2011 Sony Ericsson Xperia series devices, but none have appeared for the newer Sony Xperia series devices. To address this, XDA Forum Member Deadmask wrote a beginner-friendly guide to walk you through the process of creating a flashable FTF file for any official Sony ROM. The guide has been posted in the Sony Xperia P, U, Sola and Go forum, but should work for other Sony Xperia devices as well.
The process involves flashing the latest firmware on your device via SUS in order to download the required files, grabbing them from their download location on your computer, and then using FlashTool to convert them into FTF files. The complete step-by-step procedure can be found in the forum thread.
HTC Sense is one of those things you either love or loathe. Much more than just another launcher, Sense is a complete framework replacement, with so much of the Android system being integrated into Sense. Some people like Sense so much that they spend a significant amount of time and effort in porting it to other non-HTC devices.
Enter XDA Recognized Developer Zackconsole, who has managed to port HTC Sense 4.0 to not only one device, but a number of Sony Xperia devices. Before you Xperia owners get too excited, the ROMs are still considered very pre-alpha, meaning they are far from complete and not usable for any real purpose. They are intended for developers only at this stage, or for those hardcore flashers who just have to try new things. But this is definitely amazing progress and goes to show nothing is impossible.
The list of working features is quite small at the moment, hence the pre-alpha status:
If you think you can help with the development of these ROMs, or just HAVE to give them a try, head on over to the thread relevant for your device:
September 19, 2012 By: Former Writer
OEMs that build Android devices like to put their own spin on the OS. HTC offers HTC Sense, Samsung offers Touchwiz, and the Amazon Kindle series uses its own Amazon-flavored version. Sony does much the same on their Xperia devices, some of which we’ve written about. One application Sony adds is called LiveWare, and now LiveWare has evolved into Sony Smart Connect.
XDA Forum Member cachanilla86 documented the change in the forums, and has asked others to find out exactly which Xperia devices have been updated. So far it’s unclear which devices have been updated, but for those running Ice Cream Sandwich, the APK file has been posted so you can give it a shot ahead of time. The new Sony Smart Connect seems to be a more complete and capable application than its predecessor. As cachanilla86 remarks:
2 Days ago the LiveWare Manager evolved to Sony Smart Extras, a more complete (and better looking app). Smart Connect can be configured to do many things when you plug or unplug an accesory, Can turn on/off the WiFi, Start or End apps (any app) and even post on Facebook!
So if you enjoyed the LiveWare application, you may be in for a treat. For those who considered it bloat and removed the app, it may be worth a second chance. For more details, check out the discussion thread.