January 3, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4 KitKat unofficial builds for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3! 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 announcement that the Motorola Xoom has a KitKat build, and you can get CyanogenMod on the locked Sony Xperia S! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. Jordan gave us the top 5 tech trends of 2013. Then, Jordan gave us the top 5 tech stories of 2013 and TK showed the top 5 app of 2013. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
December 17, 2013 By: Samantha
There are a wealth of guides on the XDA forums that teach folks how to tinker with the information displayed in the ‘About Phone’ menu of an Android device, allowing people to change the build number, Android version, the ‘easter egg’ animation, among others. More often than not, such changes are only for novelty and aesthetic purposes, with no effect on the device’s performance, but that’s what make them fun.
Another equally nifty and neat modification Xperia device owners are able to perform is including a visual banner in the ‘About Phone’ menu along with the default information already displayed. Thanks to XDA Senior Member abo hani, a tutorial is available on the forums that teaches the steps, and it’s very simple and straightforward. The procedure essentially consists of decompiling the Settings.APK, inserting the provided .xml file, your image file, and a line of code. Then, you simply recompile and push it back.
The end result consists your new and improved ‘About Phone’ menu with a banner of your selected image at the top of the menu and above the rest of the device information. The tutorial was inspired by XDA Senior Member gravtec‘s collection of mods that modified the ‘About Phone’ menu to include a few images gravtec had chosen.
This is certainly a nifty little modification that I’m sure will interest quite a few people. If you are one of them, check out the tutorial at the forum thread for more information.
November 13, 2013 By: Samantha
With the release of the Sony Xperia Z1 came the ‘new and improved’ camera app exclusive to the device. With a couple simple taps on the screen, you’ll be able to spawn in dinosaurs and erupting volcanoes in a boring office scene, search additional information on the book or a landmark you snapped, and stream live videos onto your Facebook profile.
It goes without saying, it’s a camera app that has definitely caught the attention of many smartphone users. Hence came the ports of the camera app to fellow 2013 Xperia devices, the Xperia ZR, Xperia ZL, Xperia Z, and Xperia Z Ultra, which finally allowed their users to see what things are really about. This was inevitable due to the similar internal architecture the Xperia Z series shares, which no doubt eased the porting process.
With this said, it’s time for owners of a couple more Xperia devices to get taste of the Z1 camera app, as XDA Recognized Developer niaboc79 has managed to port it to all Qualcomm Xperia devices. This includes the Xperia T, TX and V, the Xperia SP, Xperia M, Xperia L, as well as the Xperia S, Acro S and Ion. However, before you dive in, it must be noted that although the port is functional, it is not entirely stable as of yet with a number of bugs that are yet to be polished out.
If you would still like to give this ago, make sure to visit the original thread for more information.
I’ve always thought the illumination strip located at the bottom of some Sony Xperia devices to be pretty funky. Despite how ‘gimmicky‘ it feels, the novelty is sure quite fun. This is evident with its ability to light up with the color that’s most prevalent in an image in the gallery app or the album art in the Walkman app, as well serving as a notification light for messages and calls. In fact, users loved it so much that Sony even decided to release the APIs behind them, as to allow further developmental work to leverage the illumination strip.
With this in mind, XDA Forum Member sagar29 decided that the Xperia SP can even serve as a disco light, so he developed the aptly titled application Discolight. The app allows you to control each of the three LEDs of the illumination bar with individual RGB color selectors. It also gives you the option to randomize the pulse color and to start the app on device boot.
With Discolight activated, any audio output will be accompanied by your personalized light pulses, including music and phone calls. Apart from requiring root access, there really isn’t much else needed. Just plug n’ play and you’re good to go.
If you’d like to check this app out, visit the forum thread for more information and download.
October 6, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
One of the main reasons why many of us choose to use Android rather than a more locked down mobile OS is customization. Simply stated, Android allows us to tailor our devices to our own needs and tastes, in order to make them truly our own.
By virtue of its supremely modular nature and fantastic intent system, Android allows you to select default apps for pretty much anything. But what if instead of changing your default applications, you’d rather change the way things look? XDA Senior Member Snndev presents XThemer to help accomplish most theming-related tasks on Sony Xperia devices.
XThemer isn’t exactly new. In fact, the first version appeared a little over a year ago. However, two days ago, XThemer was given a massive overhaul to version 4, featuring a new interface that brings much easier theming. XThemer’s new interface allows users to create custom recovery-flashable themes to personalize exactly how the device’s UI looks and feels. And just as before, it is compatible with a wide range of Sony Xperia devices.
Make your way over to the original thread to get started with the customization fun.
September 28, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just a little while ago, we featured a guide showing users how to bring Sony Xperia small apps to other Android 4.2.2-based ROMs such as CyanogenMod 10.1. As if the more common small apps weren’t enough, third party developers will continually bring out additional apps that make use of these device-specific APIs.
One such application coming from XDA Forum Member luisarn serves as a small and lightweight TTS (text-to-speech) client for incoming text messages. Voice Out is both free and ad-free. Like other Sony Xperia small apps, Voice Out open in a small window and allows you to move it to a more convenient location atop your currently running application. The app works by automatically importing text from your clipboard and speaking it out loud. It is currently compatible with three TTS engines: Google, Pico, and Ekho. The last one is added for Chinese (more specifically: Cantonese and Mandarin) language support.
While this may not exactly be a life changing app, it brings a bit more convenience to the text messaging experience by letting you do other things that require your attention while you listen to your texts. Head over to the original thread to get started.
September 27, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Normally when rooting a non-Nexus device, your first order of the day becomes finding out exactly what its particular rooting instructions are and what tools you need. For most users, this then means downloading a toolkit with the appropriate root exploit, superuser binary and control app, and a custom recovery. However, it’s always nice to see a utility that is compatible with a large number of devices.
Well thanks to XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD, this is no longer a big issue for a large number of Sony devices. Housed in our recently launched Cross-Device Development forum for Sony Devices, the toolkit has been tested and found compatible with (at least) a grand total of 25 devices across 43 configurations.
Make your way over to the rooting toolkit thread to get started.
It is important to note that for Sony Xperia Z, ZL, and ZR devices running 10.3.1.A.0.244 firmware or later, the toolkit will not work. This is because the perf_event exploit used in the utility has since been patched. To root these devices, head over to the rooting thread for the Sony Xperia Z/ZL/ZR.
We’ve featured multi-boot methods for various devices in the past. If for no other reason, having multi-boot is just plain cool because it allows you to try various ROMs without having to lose your current installation.
Now thanks to XDA Recognized Developer munjeni‘s app Multi Boot Manager, you can accomplish this relatively easily on the Xperia U, SOLA, and Go. And thanks to Senior Member NoobCoder, there is now an easy guide for using munjeni’s creation. The guide, which is available in our newly created Sony Cross-Device Development Forum, shows you how to get multi-boot up and running on your own device.
Munjeni’s Multi Boot Manager app uses kexec and a compatible kernel to allow you to choose between ROMs. The guide covers how to configure Multi Boot Manager, extract the required images, partition your SD card, and how to get the ROMs ready to be loaded.
September 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
The Sony Smart Imaging Stand may seem like a novelty item, but it has some genuine potential. It is essentially a motorized “tripod” for Sony Xperia devices running Android 4+ that can adjust its position to perform tasks such as making sure your face is in the shot and more. In fact, that is exactly what Sony’s first party SmileCatcher app accomplishes while recording video. Bluetooth pairing is also a breeze, as it’s initiated via NFC.
However, the built in functionality of the SmileCatcher application is not what makes the Smart Imaging Stand special. Rather, the stand is interesting because Sony has opened up its (experimental) Motion API in hopes that developers can write applications that make use of the stand’s unique functionality.
To get started developing with Motion API, download the Motion API Developer kit. More information can be found on the Sony Developers Site. Do you have any interesting applications in mind for Sony’s new Smart Imaging Stand? Let us know in the comments section below!
A few days ago, we featured a simple Windows batch file that helps users quickly flash kernels on Sony Xperia devices. The simple batch, made by XDA Senior Member HeadFox, is nothing revolutionary. That said, it speeds up the flashing process for those who want to get in and out as quickly as possible. However, its main limitation is that it only supports .IMG files. What if you wish to flash a kernel that comes in .SIN or .ELF format? Well, this is where XDA Recognized Contributor Ghostfreak NB comes in with Kernel Flasher Tool.
When you first run the batch file, Kernel Flasher Tool gives you a menu where you can choose to flash either an IMG, SIN, or ELF boot image. Then, the script reboots your device to the bootloader. Once in the bootloader, it proceeds to flash the image file of your choosing. All you have to do is put your IMG, SIN, or ELF file in the appropriate folder. Much like Fastboot Speed Runner, the incredibly simple Kernel Flasher Tool includes the ADB and Fastboot executables so that you don’t need to add them to your system’s path.
While this is obviously not a groundbreaking tool, it may save a few precious seconds the next time you wish to flash an Xperia kernel. Just make sure that you are flashing an image file that is actually compatible with your device, or you could be in for a few headaches. Head over to the script thread to get started.
September 3, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Some time ago, we talked about the importance of backing up the TA partition on Sony Xperia devices. Doing so on Sony Xperia devices saves your DRM keys. Why is this important? These keys are required in order to use a few proprietary software bits such as Bravia Engine in the Gallery app and OTA updates.
As we learned before, however, once you unlock your bootloader for the first time, these DRM keys are irreparably lost unless you previously created a backup. Luckily, there are great tutorials that teach you how to backup your TA partition, given that you do this before the initial bootloader unlock.
Now, thanks to XDA Forum Member DevShaft, there is a streamlined Windows batch file that does it for you. All you have to do is download the latest version, connect the device with ADB enabled, run the batch file, and choose from the menu options.
Obviously, this is of no use if you’ve already unlocked your bootloader without a backup and you have already lost your DRM keys. However, if you’re thinking of unlocking your bootloader for the first time, head over to the original thread to backup your TA partition easily. A list of known and assumed supported devices can be found below.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia ZL
Sony Xperia ZQ
Sony Xperia ZR
Sony Xperia ION
Sony Xperia S
Sony Xperia SL
Sony Xperia SP
Sony Xperia Acro S
Sony Xperia T
Sony Xperia TL
Sony Xperia TX
Sony Xperia M
Sony Xperia V
Sony Xperia P
Sony Xperia L
Sony Xperia U
Sony Xperia Sola
Sony Xperia Miro
Sony Xperia Tipo
Sony Xperia J
Sony Xperia E
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
All Sony Xperia models
All Sony Ericsson Xperia models
September 1, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
We generally try to do things as quickly as possible. If this weren’t the case, we wouldn’t have a love affair with microwaves and instant ramen noodles. Luckily, various utilities also allow us to optimize our connected lives such as apps that help with multitasking and so on. Luckily, there are also various scripts that help us perform various modification tasks more efficiently, and now we have one to more quickly flash kernels and create backups of existing kernels on Sony Xperia devices.
Developed by XDA Senior Member HeadFox, the Windows batch utility is really just an incredibly simple batch script that reboots your device to the bootloader and flashes a new boot.img to the device. The download also includes the essential files for adb and and fastboot access, so you don’t even have to have them installed and added to your path for this to work. While this script is obviously nothing revolutionary, time saving is always a welcome benefit.
If you’ve wanted to make flashing an Xperia kernel an even quicker affair, head over to the original thread to begin.
August 14, 2013 By: Samantha
Xperia users are no doubt familiar with FTF files, a file extension used for official firmware packages on Xperia devices. We see plenty of them floating around the forums, but not everyone knows exactly how they’re created. Some may want to know this because of curiosity, or would just like to share a certain version with the community. To help out with that, XDA Senior Member Apollo89 created a tutorial that guides you through the process.
A rather simple procedure, the guide is accompanied by plentiful images separated into four different parts. Each part details a major step of the way, them being:
So now you’ve got the gist of it, if you’d want to learn more, be sure to visit the original thread.