July 24, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
As we go international with xda:devcon ’14 in Manchester, UK on the weekend of September 26-28, we are thrilled to have our friends at Sony returning as a sponsor. The great thing about Sony is that they don’t just make a token effort; they bring it.
We’ve already talked about one of Sony’s presentations with Alin Jerpelea talk on Sony and AOSP. Today, we are happy to announce another great presentation from our friends at Sony for xda:devcon ’14. Troed Sångberg is a developer advocate with Sony Developer Relations. With a core technical background in the home computer scene of the 80s, he’s been a professional telecom developer since the late 90s. Most recently he has worked in research, with an interest in the intersection between disruptive technology and the culture of society. Troed considers decentralization of creation–how anyone anywhere can invent, distribute and disrupt–to be the major game changer of our times.
At xda:devcon ’13 head of Developer Relations at Sony Mobile Karl-Johan Dahlstrom gave a presentation titled “How Sony Supports and Works With Independent Developers.” In his presentation, In his presentation, he talked about and gave examples of how independent developers and Sony can, and have, collaborate through different opportunities and open initiatives. Check out the video to see Karl’s presentation on this video from last year.
This year, Sångberg offers up another excellent presentation entitled, “Beyond Smartphones, And How To Get There.” The era of SmartWear and Internet of Things is upon us. This session will extrapolate the last 8000 years of human innovation into the realities of the present and near future. Sångberg covers the SDKs available for current and soon-to-come functionality, as well as a new service Sony is introducing to drastically reduce friction for developers with regards to app verification. Expect to see tech details on SmartWatch, SmartBand, SmartEyeglass and Wi-Fi controlled Sony cameras.
July 14, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
If you haven’t heard already, XDA is putting on its second annual xda:devcon. This year, we’re doing it international style and holding the event in Manchester, UK on the weekend of September 26-28. We have great sponsors from Sony and Oppo who joined us last year, to newcomer OnePlus. However, it takes more than great sponsors to make an event like the successful, it takes great speakers.
Returning to xda:devcon is a speaker from last year. Founding member of the “Free Xperia Project” and now a Community Manager with Sony Developer Relations, Alin Jerpelea has a core technical background and has been active on XDA since 2006 on multiple platforms.
At xda:devcon ’13, Jerpelea gave a presentation entitled “Android on Legacy Devices – Use It or Lose It.” In that presentation, he holds a dialog with the audience and talks about how Android support on legacy devices from developers is demanded by a lot of people because manufacturers rarely release Android updates. Developers and members at XDA work hard to support devices on new Android versions. Jerpelea pondered how much we should push those devices. Is it enough to have the latest Android version booted, or do we want more? Check out the video to see what they have to say on this video from last year.
This year, Jerpelea returns and offers up another excellent presentation. This time, he will be giving a talk entitled “AOSP For Sony Devices: Past, Present and Future.” Have you ever wondered what Sony is doing to open up for more collaboration and more innovation in the Open Source community? In this session Alin will share with you where Sony is taking AOSP for Xperia in the short term. Sony wants to support external community innovation, so Alin will discuss how Sony will improve their work on openness around AOSP.
As previously mentioned, we are happy to acknowledge Sony as a sponsor for our second annual xda:devcon ’14 in Manchester, UK the weekend of September 26-28. If you are in attendance, you will be able to try out Sony’s latest products in mobile and SmartWear technology. Be sure to ask them about their SmartWatch 2, for which you can innovate using custom watch faces and Sony APIs. Also, learn about their SmartBand and Lifelog service to discover their future possibilities. And finally, for developers interested in groundbreaking technology, come explore what you can do with the SmartEyeglass prototype project.
At xda:devcon ’14 you will learn Sony’s plans for the second half of 2014, which includes a new service that will help app developers verify their apps on real Sony devices. You will also learn about how Sony is accelerating its open initiative around AOSP. You can find out more about Sony and their initiatives through their developer portal, Sony Developer World.
Sony and XDA look forward to seeing you at xda:devcon ’14! As a reminder, get your tickets before July 1 and receive deep discounts on our Early Bird pricing!
May 1, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Sony Mobile likes to surprise users. From time to time, they release some open-source projects including device trees for their handsets. But releasing device trees is not all that Sony does, as they often release other fun projects.
Sony employee Pál Szász, otherwise known as XDA Sony Mobile Developer pal.szasz, recently announced a new concept: EvolutionUI. This UI is a quite new idea, and it works by adding achievements and gaming points to Android.
Android’s “gamification” can bring some fun to users and prompt them to learn them how to use their smartphones properly. At the start, only basic features are available. But with higher experience levels and after collecting more points, new phone functions are unlocked. Available achievements include opening application five times or creating five new shortcuts on your home screen. Sony prepared a YouTube video to demonstrate the concept:
As you can see , this is an interesting idea. But does this make Android a good place to implement such a concept? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, you can visit the original thread to learn more. There, you’ll find a link to the project’s Github.
April 4, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the Sprint LG G2 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 how HTC made kernel source available for the One M8 and how Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.1 with Cortana and Action Center! That’s not all that’s covered in today’s video!
Jordan also talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Xposed Tuesday video for Cool Tool. Jordan then reviewed the Mad Catz M.O.J.O. Finally, TK gave us an Android App Review of Live Weather. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
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.
It’s highly likely that all Sony smartphone or tablet users here on XDA have heard of Flashtool by XDA Recognized Developer Androxyde. It’s a great tool, which allows you to restore your Xperia to stock state, root it, unlock the bootloader, flash a kernel, and do basically everything else that’s needed to enjoy the custom ROM world.
Flashtool works on three platforms, including Windows which needs external drivers to successfully access the flash mode. These drivers were incorporated Flashtool, but eventually became outdated and out of sync with the new Flashtool releases. Androxyde therefore decided to release the driver pack separately. With help of XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD, the Flashtool team provides a new version of drivers that should help you to use Flashtool to backup or restore your Sony Xperia device. There are some issues with Windows 8 (surprise, surprise), but they have been resolved and the information to do so is in the thread’s OP.
These versatile drivers can be found in the original thread, which is housed in the Cross-Device Development Projects for Sony Devices forum. If you own a Sony device, don’t hesitate to go there and grab a copy. Don’t forget to get a newest version of Flashtool while you’re at it, which can be found in its thread.
January 31, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.4.2,for the AT&T Galaxy S4 and Note 3 has been leaked! 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 Sony Xperia Z1 received a maintenance release and the HTC One KitKat release for the US carrier versions has been delayed! 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 HKThemeManager, Jordan reviewed the RAVPower RP-WD01, and TK gave us an Android App Review of ZDLock. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
January 12, 2014 By: Jimmy McGee
The spectacle that is the International CES show has come to an end for yet another year. While there are bound to be more Android announcements at the upcoming Mobile World Congress, there are still some things announced this week to look forward to—and some things that were announced that you won’t look forward to.
Let’s start with the unexciting. The mobile device manufacturer with a name that is not pronounced how it is spelled, Huawei, released an updated version of the Ascend Mate phone. Adding in 4G LTE connectivity, the creatively named follow-up, Ascend Mate 2 4G sits squarely in the middle of the road. With a Mediatek chip running four cores and sporting a 6.1” 720p screen, this device won’t be making the list of juggernaut phones for 2014. As a favor to you, we got hands on with the device to show you what you won’t be missing.
To follow in this pattern, let’s talk about the LG G Flex. While the G Flex has been announced and available internationally for a while now, LG announced US carrier versions. As the name implies, this device is flexible and sports a curved design. This devices still disappointingly rocks Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and is really nothing more than a bent LG G2. However, we can’t blame LG, as they were not the only ones who think the future of consumer electronics is bending your old products.
To be honest, we are a little disappointed by this company’s announcements. Sony has made some great devices, and unfortunately they are content with just making some small tweaks. This year they released a duo of phones: the Xperia Z1S and the shrunken Z1 Compact. If you shorten the name, you could call it the Z1C—though Sony won’t call it that, and you have a familiar naming convention. Not only is the naming convention similar, so is the approach to product design: Take an existing device and tweak it. The Z1S is Sony’s attempt at capturing some of the delicious US market share. The device will only be available with T-Mobile. The Z1S is basically a Z1 made of plastic with pre-installed Sony apps, like the PlayStation app. The Z1 Compact is the Z1 only smaller. And since it also features a 720p resolution on its smaller screen, the screen density goes down. Some say the screen is better than the bigger brothers, but that’s in the eye of the beholder. If you want to know more about Sony’s devices check out our video.
Sony is not the only one to announce a hardware “refresh.” Android device powerhouse Samsung released newer versions of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, a new big Note, and a trio of new Galaxy Tabs. The tablet updates are all Pros: The Note Pro 12.2, the Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2, 10.1 and 8.4. These tablets introduce a new navigation idea called Magazine UI, which reminds us of Windows Phone live tiles. There was a lot of information about these devices. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, check out our video to learn even more.
Perhaps the most exciting announcement of CES 2014 turned out not to be a device at all, but rather a mobile chipset. Nvidia announced their new 192-core Tegra K1 chip. This Tegra chip features the same architecture as Nvidia’s desktop GPUs, while sipping only 5 watts. This allows for some tremendous eye candy. To check out some of that eye candy, check out the video.
A big thing this year was the so called wrist revolution. There were many smartwatches at this year’s event. From the LG LifeBand Touch, which is a better fitness tracking device than smartwatch, to the stylish new MetaWatch and huge Neptune Pine; smartwatches might be the next big thing. Our favorite from this year is possibly the svelte all-in-one smartwatch, the Omate TrueSmart. Check out our videos to learn more about the different type of smartwatches.
Video Courtesy of Twildottv
Video Courtesy of Twildottv
Video Courtesy of Twildottv
Another CES has come and gone. And while there was some news of impending mobile devices, nothing really stands out and the must have device of this year. However, don’t think that means there will be no good smartphone releases this year. You will just have to wait for them. They may be announced at Mobile World Congress or some other event. We wait eagerly for the next must have device to be announced, so save your money, and join us. Just don’t hold your breath.
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.
International CES 2014 has begun, we’ve talked about Nvidia’s exciting announcement and the entrance of Android into automobiles, but there is a bigger overarching trend when it comes to mobile devices. That trend is wearables.
Wearables are not new. We’ve had them for a while—everything from the Pebble smartwatch to the Sony Smartwatches, and even Google Glass. However this year, wearables are blending and merging in their functions. READ ON »
I am, and have always been, an early adopter of a lot of things, particularly when it comes to technology. My cell phone voyage started back in the year 2000 with a Nokia 5110. Back then, only a handful of people had phones, and seeing someone on the street with one was a somewhat rare sight. Nowadays, the same cannot be said. Cell phones have become a massive commodity—one that gets a lot of attention, and certainly one that is likely one of the most profitable industries in the world today (in the tech sector anyways).
Every Joe Schmuck and Jane Doe sport the latest Galaxy devices or one of Apple’s latest iconic iPhones (just to mention a few manufacturers). Sure, they all have a somewhat interesting appeal, and many of them are loaded with more unique functions and capabilities that (in theory) make life a lot easier. However, looking at the overall market and trying to overlay an innovation line through the timeline from the early 2000′s (when Nokia reigned supreme) ’til today, we can easily notice a few trends that are worrying and don’t necessarily correlate with what anyone would expect from “progress” or “development.”
Going back to the very beginning of my article, I mentioned owning a dinosaur of a phone, the Nokia 5110. The device was a jewel, and it did exactly what it needed to do (and far more). The device was relatively cheap to get with a 2-3 year agreement. So, the device manufacturer (again, in this particular case, Nokia) knew that in order to have a good customer base, the devices needed to last that long. After all, not everyone could spend $400-600 USD on a phone upgrade while still being locked in the middle of a contract, nor were they willing to do so either.
Nokia designed the 5100 series with a few crucial engineering concepts in mind: good battery, reliable, easy to service, and durable. I had my device for the length of my contract before I decided to upgrade (mainly due to swapping carriers). I have to admit that it must have been one of the best cell phones I have ever had the pleasure of using. Not because of the usage per se, but rather how the device gave me 0 issues in the course of 3 years of ownership. Needless to say, the thing was built to last, as the body was virtually indestructible (exaggerating a tad here, but it was a tough device). When I upgraded, I went with a Nokia 8210. They had done a good job because with their mindset, they created a device that prompted me to want to see what else they could come up a few years down the line—all that without compromising my ability to enjoy the one I currently had. Ah, those were the days.
Fast forward to 2007 (big jump, I know). The iPhone was released and the (back then) current king of smartphones, Windows Mobile HTC devices and Blackberry, were dethroned. Because of silly mistakes, loads of bugs, and a simple yet effective marketing strategy to get people to buy more, the iPhone 1G sees a successor not much later down the line. Seeing how many other manufacturers were now jumping into the bandwagon, stable and decent cell phone manufacturers saw themselves in dire need to release more products in a shorter timespan. This was primarily done to keep up with their competitors, who were quickly gaining market share due to shorter intervals between new products. The next thing that happened (and still does to this day), new models are released every 6-9 months, each one promising to be “better” than their predecessor(s). This last statement is the cornerstone of this entire article. Why are manufacturers releasing devices that are NOT designed to be the best they have to offer? It isn’t that they develop new tech for newer versions. Rather, they make enough (in)significant changes to the existing one, such that it can be labeled the “next best thing.”Does any of this sound familiar?
I myself am an engineer, as many of you are as well (or studying to become). It honestly makes my blood boil when I consider the engineering teams behind the product development of some of these devices. No longer are devices durable. Rather, they have gone entirely to the other end of the spectrum and have become practically disposable. I simply cannot believe that a $500-1000 USD item becomes “irreparable.” Product design basics dictate that any engineered product is designed to have a certain life expectancy under normal conditions, tear, and wear, and even leave some leeway for accidents. If products need repair, they should be perfectly serviceable by the manufacturer without having to charge the consumer exorbitant amounts of money to get the product back in working order. Needless to say, whenever a phone does break this day and age, sending it in for repairs is a fruitless ordeal due to the fact that more often than not, the device will be deemed as “not repairable” due to directions coming from engineering design teams.
Make the world a better place through the application of science? That is what product engineering should be about. Squeezing every last drop of sweat over your own design and making sure that you put your very best efforts into making something that people will have for years (not months) to come is what every engineering company should strive for. Unfortunately, this was quickly replaced with “ooh, look how shiny this new toy is,” which is then followed by “oh, your old one? pfft That is so 3 months ago…. you won’t get two pennies for it on eBay, and don’t even think about repairing it.”
We as consumers have allowed these companies to throw basic engineering practices out the window so that they can squeeze more juice out of us. Now, I have no issues with companies trying to make money. Hell, that is what they do after all. But when greed takes over your most basic principles, I simply have no sympathy. I still recall our friend XDA Senior Recognized Developer AdamOutler doing an unboxing of the new Droid Razr when it came out. His words have been stuck in my head ever since. “Motorola made this device to be disposable.” Why? What was the point of making the device “disposable?” Why did such an important part of engineering a new product (ease of service) gets tossed aside like this? Would it kill you to make your device fixable? Another example: I tried to fix the digitizer of my HTC Titan a few days ago, but ended up destroying the LCD entirely. Why would there be any need to superglue both LCD and digitizer and superglue that combo to the device’s body? To keep them in place you say? There are small, low profile screws that will do the job just as well without jeopardizing the serviceability of the device or its overall design (read: they will not make it any thicker).
The entire world has been sucked into a game that the companies play on a large scale. They are trying to see just how much they can shove down our throats, all while expending the least amount of effort in doing so. These practices not only have the effects mentioned earlier, but they can also have dangerous consequences (bulging exploding battery of SGS2 devices anyone?). The core activities here on XDA-Developers actually somewhat put a damper on this, as the allure of “a new OS version exclusive to a device” is now mitigated. But unfortunately, software is just but a small part of the overall equation.
Next time you are out there shopping for a cell phone, just think about a very important thing that goes beyond specs or pretty colors. Just think about how well the product you are about to purchase was engineered. Let that be your deciding factor, and don’t simply fall in line with the rest of the masses who will jump at anything shiny like fish in heat. There are manufacturers out there that still care about trying to keep their core engineering values. To these companies, kudos. To the ones like HTC, which used to be like this (my HTC Wallaby that I bought in 2003 and that has been through hell and back still works), look at your early years and try again. Get off the path you are in right now because you will lose this race. And to the companies that simply don’t give two flying feathers about engineering, progress, and making the world a better place (looking at you Apple), I sincerely hope that your lack of engineering values comes back with a vengeance and bites you where the sun doesn’t shine.
If I have to choose between a phone that is 0.0001 mm thick but that will break upon looking at it without any way to fix it or my old 5110, I’ll take my old Nokia any day of the week. At least, that has engineering at heart.
November 23, 2013 By: Samantha
Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen some very exciting news and announcements from OEMs and telecom providers regarding Android 4.4 KitKat rollout schedules. Among them, we saw Sony share details on the first raft of Xperia devices slated to receive the update. The announcement wasn’t met with just smiles, however, as many Xperia users have voiced their confusion, anger, and disappointment over the selection of devices Sony has decided to allow into the KitKat party.
If you found yourself disappointed before, hold your horses. The initial announcement only showcased the first raft of devices, which only means that there will be a second raft. This is evident with Sony’s recent update to the Xperia SP‘s support page, which now proudly brandishes the KitKat-flavored Android mascot along with the words ‘Future Version: Android 4.4 (KitKat). Although not an explicit announcement, it’s pretty much a dead giveaway of things to come in the very near future.
As for users of the Xperia T, TX, V and ZR, you may have to wait a bit longer to see if you’ll be catching the second wave. Although the respective support pages also shows the Android 4.4 icon, the accompanying words “Under Investigation: Android 4.4 (KitKat)” are a bit of a dampener. This is somewhat expected for the 2012 devices, as Sony would definitely have to investigate whether these devices will be capable and compatible with a version of Android that’s more than just changes to aesthetics and functionality. That said, we have to wonder why the ZR has also been left out (for now).
Nevertheless, this is great news, and hopefully we’ll be seeing more confirmation from Sony soon. With greater clarity on Sony’s update schedule, what are your thoughts and concerns? Which devices will be on the second raft? And will there be a third? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.