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.
February 22, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Normally on Sony Xperia devices, the FM radio can’t be used without the default headphones. That is because your ‘cans are used as an antenna to improve the signal, but this doesn’t mean that FM radio itself can’t work without headphones. Sony users can already modify their FM application using a smali tutorial by XDA Recognized Contributor DaRk-L0rD. However, smali is not the easiest language. And to use it with confidence, you need to know some bits of programming. Thankfully, if you want to use your FM radio without the included headphones, there is now an easier way of doing it.
The solution was presented by XDA Forum Member thermatk, who transformed the aforementioned guide into an Xposed module. The module is exactly the same fix as the one described in the guide, but it’s easier to install. As such, the modification is pretty simple, but does its job as intended and should work with all FM radio applications on Jelly Bean-powered Sony Xperia devices. To use this module properly, the Xposed Framework must be installed and your phone must obviously be rooted.
February 20, 2014 By: Samantha
Chances are that if you haven’t accidentally ripped or broken the headset that came with your phone, it’s probably hopelessly lost, never to be found. And on an Xperia device, that’s too bad because without it, you won’t be able to catch up on your favorite radio personality or listen to Top 40 without streaming it via mobile broadband. But hey, there’s now a way for Sony Xperia owners to listen to the radio without the required headset, thanks to a tutorial written by XDA Recognized Contributor DaRk-L0rD.
Much like the previously featured smali editing tutorials, this tutorial can be a quick and easy fix that anyone can follow and apply, be it a rookie or a pro. It simply requires knowledge of decompiling and compiling an apk, for which there many tutorials and tools, and of course, the actual Radio.apk file. After you’ve decompiled the APK, navigate to and open PhfHandler.smali. From there, make the necessary code changes, save the file, compile the APK, and push it to your device. There are also screenshots of the process for anyone looking for a bit more guidance.
If you are craving your daily morning radio but can’t seem to find the (no longer) required headset, check out the tutorial at the original thread to get started.
February 14, 2014 By: Samantha
For many Android users out there, the wallpaper on the home screen is like the centerpiece of the entire device, which is probably why we invest so much time with wallpaper apps and forum threads. Of course, the bad thing is that when you navigate to anywhere else on your device, you can no longer see the wallpaper. If you much prefer this not be on your Sony Xperia device, check out XDA Forum Member kalel2012’s transparent framework tutorial.
The tutorial goes about showing you how to edit your device’s Framework-res.apk so by the end, you have a transparent UI wherever you go. The process includes decompiling the APK, changing and adding lines of code to a couple of XML files, and finally recompiling it back together. To help you out, kalel2012 also provides screenshots accompanying the steps of the process.
This mod has been tested to work on the Xperia L running Android 4.1.2 and 4.2.2, and the SP running Android 4.1.2, but any other Xperia device running official Android Jelly Bean should also be compatible. However, 2013 Xperia devices need to have a modified Framework-res.apk and framework.jar to proceed, something which can be achieved a tutorial linked in the guide.
So if you’re wanting to see your magnificent wallpaper from every part of your phone, or are after a new look, head over to the original thread for more information.
February 14, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android KitKat 4.4.2 is now available for the unlocked and developer edition HTC Ones! 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 CyanogenMod 11 Milestone 3 is available for 50 devices and their is now a way to turn your Moto G into a Play Edition! 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 Complete Action Plus, Jordan taught us about ART the Android Runtime compiler, and TK gave us an Android App Review of Quickr. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
February 13, 2014 By: Samantha
So now that the second raft of Sony Xperia devices are finally receiving the long awaited Android 4.3 update, I’m sure that there are plenty of folks eagerly glancing at the notification area and Sony PC Companion in anticipation of that firmware update notification. Some of you may also be constantly refreshing your device’s XDA forum page, meticulously keeping track of every relevant tidbit of information. If this sounds just like you, you may want to check out XDA Senior Member Macmol‘s Xperia Update Checker.
A tool for PCs, Xperia Update Checker enables you to check the current firmware of your Sony Xperia device. Besides the initial categorization of individual devices, firmware information is also organized by the region, branding, and customization number of your device, such as “Netherlands; Vodafone; 1266-1618.” Xperia Update Checker also allows you to check for links of firmwares for a particular device that you can download. It should be noted, however, that this tool only supports Xperia devices with Sony branding (e.g. Sony Xperia V) and not the Sony Ericsson branding (e.g. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc), and not all Sony Xperia devices are supported as of yet.
So if your finger’s getting a bit tired of constantly clicking refresh on your browser and Sony PC Companion, check out Xperia Update Checker over in its original thread for more information.