January 20, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The kernel files have been released for the Android 4.4 KitKat update on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3! That and much more news is covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this weekend. Included in this week’s news is the announcement that the full Smart Social Camera Experience has been ported to Android 4.3 Xperia Devices and Mobile ODIN has been updated with more features and support for more devices!
Be sure to check out the the other videos released this last week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for Root Cloak, he then reviewed the Omate TrueSmart smartwatch 2.0, and finally he gave us an Android App Review of Calendar Status. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
With the new Android 4.3 update rolling out to the newer Sony Xperia handsets, and with the leaks going around for those still waiting, users may have discovered a new aesthetic feature called ‘Xperia Themes.’ They’re downloadable and customizable theme packs that change various elements of the whole Android interface, including your navigation bar, home screen icons and layout, and wallpaper. But since ‘Xperia Themes’ is only a recent addition to Xperia users, few custom themes are available for download. In order to remedy this, XDA Senior Member funky0308 decided to write a great tutorial on creating your own custom Xperia theme.
The process is very straightforward, consisting of editing an already existing theme’s APK by switching out the numerous PNG image files. Naturally, this means that you need some basic knowledge of decompiling and recompiling an APKs. Once it’s all done, install the new APK like a normal app, and you have your very own Xperia theme installed.
This tutorial was originally written by funy0308 only for the Xperia Z1, but any other Xperia device with the official Android 4.3 firmware running should also be compatible with these custom made themes. So if you can’t wait to get started, check out the original thread for more details. And if you’ve already made your own, share them with us in the forums!
January 8, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
At the 2014 International CES, Sony released two phones. The phones are similar and share similar names. These devices are the Sony Xperia Z1S and Xperia Z1 Compact. The Xperia Z1S is locked to T-Mobile to try and help Sony’s US market penetration, while the Xperia Z1 Compact is, well, more compact.
XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan was on site and got his hands on the Xperia triplets: the Z1, Z1S, and Z1 Compact. Jordan sat down and talked with the folks and Sony. And in this video, he shares what he learned, while showing off the two new devices and how they all share basically the same base design. Check out this video to see what the newest Xperia devices look like.
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.
We’d like to think that temperature control is the least of our problems when it comes to our smartphones and tablets. It’s a factor that the majority, if not all, of the large manufacturers refuse to acknowledge—instead preferring to tout form, power, and performance. So when we do CPU-intensive activities, such as playing games, or when the weather’s hotter than usual on a particular day, we don’t expect our devices to usually heat up to such a degree.
To manage such problems, Sony has Thermanager, a ‘thermal management solution’ for Xperia devices with binaries that were previously released through their Developer’s Portal. An issue with this was developers weren’t given the flexibility and freedom to customize, improve, or analyze the behavior of the thermal management. This then hindered possible fixes and solutions to thermal-related problems, which were not properly addressed otherwise.
Sony decided to address this issue by releasing the source code of Thermanager to the general public. Made available through their Github, this source release is yet another step that Sony has taken inline with their developer-friendly reputation. So if you’re a developer looking to build on the existing thermal solutions, be sure to check their information post.
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!