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.
If you’ve been thinking of developing your first custom ROM for your Sony Xperia device, chances are that you probably need a kernel to go along with it, especially if the ROM is for devices with locked bootloaders. Because of this, it’s sometimes best to know how to extract the kernel from an FTF file in order to integrate it into your ROM.
A great place to begin with would be a tutorial by XDA Recognized Contributor matt4321 and XDA Recognized Contributor and Themer DaRk-L0rD. Divided into two parts, the tutorial first guides you through the steps of extracting a kernel from an FTF file and converting it into a boot.img file. The second part teaches you how to make a flashable ZIP package containing your freshly extracted boot.img file.
Additionally, because the kernel is located in different partitions in different Xperia devices, DaRk-L0rD also includes a handy list of just where you can find the kernel for your particular Xperia device. Just keep in mind, however, that not all Xperia devices are on the list at this time, so DaRk-L0rD also provides a simple way of finding out the directory yourself.
If you would like to find out more, check out the original thread for more information.
March 28, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is rolling out! 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 of Sony has made some Open Source archives available for the Sony Xperia Z2 and Z2 tablet and how Chainfire rooted the Samsung Galaxy S 5 ahead of it’s release! 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 Gesture Control. He then showed you how to root the Samsung Galaxy Gear. Finally, he gave us an Android App Review of Shareboard. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
READ ON »
March 21, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
If a piece of software appears on any given Sony Xperia device, it’s pretty much only a matter of time before it’s ported over to another Xperia or group of Xperias. This has happened time and time again. And today, we present yet another example of this.
The Voice Balloon Photo camera addon is one of the coolest features to come along for the ride with the KitKat update that is now hitting several Xperia devices. Unfortunately, this software is normally only available for Xperia devices running official KitKat. Luckily, XDA Senior Member xperiaz2 was able to port the app addon to work with all Xperia devices running Android 4.1 or later.
Obviously, you must have Sony’s Smart Social Camera installed in order to use this camera addon. However, once everything is installed, you will be able to add audio to your photos with voice balloons and recognized text.
If you’ve got an Xperia device running Android 4.1-4.3 and want to try out the Voice Balloon Photo camera addon, head over to the application thread and give this ported app a shot.
March 16, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that building a custom ROM from source is much preferred to starting from a manufacturer-provided firmware and then adding on a few modifications. Building from source allows users much more freedom to merge commits and change practically anything they’d like. However, there are times when some users would prefer to start from stock firmware in order to keep OEM-specific functionality. Sony Xperia devices are no different, as for the most part one must choose between OEM-specific functionality and source-built goodness.
Those who have taken to modifying OEM-provided ROMs on Sony Xperia devices may have noticed a few issues recently. Ever since the latest round of official firmware updates, it’s been a bit difficult to modify the framework-res.apk file. While the decompile, modify, and recompile process goes as planned, users generally face a bootloop when using the newly recompiled file.
Luckily, XDA Recognized Themer BDFreak released Advanced APKTool. This utility not only solves the framework-res.apk issue on the latest round of Xperia updates, but also incorporates a bit of automation and user friendliness into XDA Recognized Developer Brut.all‘s APKTool. It can also automatically decompile, recompile, sign, and zipalign APKs and JARs—and all this is done from the comfort of an easy and menu-driven interface.
To get started, simply head over to the utility thread, and give the latest version a whirl.
March 16, 2014 By: Samantha
Custom recoveries are a big part of what happens around here at XDA. Having one relieves you of the manual work that you would otherwise have to do when flashing mods, themes, ROMs, kernels, and the like. Custom recoveries also serve as an important safety net for when things go wrong, since you can easily reflash your ROM or restore a backup. So when you’re cooking up a fresh custom ROM from scratch, it’s important to make sure that your users have a custom ROM to flash from. If not, you should consider integrating one into the building process so that they don’t have to install one separately.
If you’re thinking of building your own custom ROM for a Sony Xperia device and are interested in how to go about integrating a custom recovery, XDA Recognized Themer and Contributor DaRk-L0rD has written a great tutorial that you may want to check out. You must be using Android Kitchen to build your ROM, know how to edit an updater-script using Notepad++, and have the ‘working’ folder of your ROM and flashable ZIP package of the custom recovery of your choice. After laying down these requirements, DaRk-LorD dives straight into the steps of the process, with plenty of screenshots and examples of code to aid you along the way.
So before you head off creating your own custom ROM, check out the guide thread and consider integrating a custom recovery into your Xperia device ROM.
March 7, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
In the past few years, Sony Xperia devices have come to be known for their exemplary camera performance. However, the camera performance of even today’s high end devices will seem a bit outdated in a couple of years, and naturally, the same could be said for yesterday’s greats such as the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini, Mini Pro, Active, and Live with Walkman.
While the 2011 Sony Xperia lineup featured more than adequate image capture abilities for the time, these devices are now three years old. As such, they lack modern staples such as 720p video recording and the like. But thanks to XDA Forum Member miniuser123, at least video capture is no longer an issue for those running CM10. And with the mod installed and configured, you should be able to capture HD video at up to 30 fps.
Miniuser123’s modification comes in the form of a simple flashable zip, which is installed after flashing your ROM and kernel. It is important to note that users of certain aftermarket camera applications will not initially see the full 30 fps in their videos. However, miniuser123 was kind enough to include a few quick steps to check for frame rate issues and fix them if they arise.
If you’ve got an Xperia Mini, Mini Pro, Active, or Live with Walkman and are running CM10, make your way over to the original thread to get started.
[Many thanks once again to XDA Portal Supporter Titokhan for the tip!]
March 7, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is rolling out! 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 of Official CyanogenMod for the Sony Xperia M and that the Xperia Z2 camera has been ported to other Xperia Devices! 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 Wanam Kit, then Jordan talked about all the cool mobile games in the current Humble Bundle, and finally TK gave us an Android App Review of Navigation Layer. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
March 6, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
The Xperia product lineup from late 2012 and 2013 was filled with many high quality devices. Good technical specification and substantial developer support made the Xperias T, TL, TX, V, and Xperia SP the right choice for many. And not so long ago, Sony finally released a 4.3 update for those devices.
According to most user reports, everything runs smooth and the newest firmware improved quite a few things without breaking others. But despite this, custom ROM and kernel developers weren’t able to get their hands on the open source files required for development. Having working source code definitely eases the process of porting new Android versions and ironing out existing bugs. Luckily, Sony complied with its GPL requirements and released the related files for kernel 3.4 in a timely fashion. The open source goods can be obtained from the official website as tar.bz2 package:
Kernels based on these files can be built with GCC 4.7 toolchain, which is available in Android’s source. If you want to build your own kernel, head over to the XDA University to find a comprehensive guide to get started with kernel development.
March 4, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
The Sony Xperia Z2 was launched last week at MWC 2014 to much fanfare. Improving on its predecessor by fixing all of its most significant hardware shortcomings, it’s no wonder why the Z2 is subject to much praise. But as one would expect from the latest generation flagship device from a major OEM, the Sony Xperia Z2 packs quite a few software additions as well.
Just a few days ago, we talked about how XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD posted a leaked firmware dump for the Xperia Z2, and how it was only a matter of time before some of the Z2’s features would make their way to other devices. Now, we’re seeing the first fruits of this leaked firmware in the form of a ported camera experience.
The ported camera software comes courtesy of XDA Forum Member xperiaz2 (can you guess which device he fancies?), and it brings the Xperia Z2 Smart Social Camera Addons Creative Effects to various Sony Xperia devices. This includes features like background defocus (a.k.a. simulated bokeh), AR effects, creative filters, and more. The addons work with Xperia devices running Android 4.3 or greater, though some effects will work as far back as Xperias running 4.1 and above.
You can get in on the action by heading over to the ported app thread and downloading the various APKs.
[Many thanks to Recognized Themer Omessy7 for the tip!]
February 26, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Mobile World Congress is happening right now. Chances are your FaceGramTwitterBook Plus feeds are being spammed with all the exciting announcements—everything from Sony’s new devices to Samsung and HTC, and that’s not all! There’s a good chance you missed something or have Kelly Bundyed it. That’s when you hear too much stuff and you loose the older information as it falls right out of your brain.
There is no need to fear because XDA Developer TV Producer Extraordinaire Jordan has scoured the web, RSS feeds, Social Media feeds, YouTube, and a Taco Bell Breakfast menu to compile all the information you need to know about what has been announced at this year’s Mobile world Congress. So, pull up a chair and check out this video.
February 25, 2014 By: Samantha
Tweaking CPU settings can be a very safe and easy way for rooted Android users to save a bit of that precious battery juice. More often than not, this can only be achieved by downloading a third party app, as only very few OEMs offer CPU speed controls in their built-in software. But if you own a Sony Xperia device and are up for a bit of coding, check out XDA Senior Member Pandemic’s tutorial on adding CPU settings into the native settings menu.
The process explained in the tutorial is very straightforward with not many complexities, perfect for the beginner looking to dip his or her toes in the pool but not yet ready to dive into the deep end of Android development. After downloading the attached files from the guide, you need decompile the settings.apk, navigate to the specified XML files which you then must add a few lines of code to, and recompile it. Once this is done, all you have to do is either make a flashable zip folder with the two APKs provided and the edited settings.apk and flash it through a custom recovery, or simply push these files manually to the system folder.
When you’re done, you’ll end up with a settings menu that has a new sub menu that enables you to change the CPU clock speeds, as well as view statistics regarding your device’s CPU such as the total run time and how long your CPU spends running at certain clock speeds.
If you would like to give this a whirl, visit the original thread for more information.