April 26, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
XDA:DevCon, a conference for developers by developers was announced this week. That story and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is a discussion of AOSP being released for the Sony Xperia Z and an article on enabling ADB on ChromeOS.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Steve talked about his switch from Samsung to HTC, Kevin gave us a demonstration of the Tasker alternative Llama, and TK released an Android app review of SuperBeam. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
April 22, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The Sony Socialife app has been ported to old Xperia Devices. That story and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Included in this week’s news is a discussion of an universal Arduino interface for Android and XDA hitting 5 million members.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer Rob had talked about Five Tips you might not have known and XDA Developer TV Producer Jayce asks for what you want to hear about regarding App development. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
March 9, 2013 By: Samantha
If you’re not familiar with Sony’s Timescape, it was Xperia’s main social media app up until the beginning of 2013, when it was replaced with Socialife by Sony. Consisting of scrolling panels of updates from your connected social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as well as displaying your call history and messages among many others, Timescape has always been a compatible with only Xperia devices running stock firmwares, with many users of custom Jelly Bean ROMs missing out.
By remixing and modifying the necessary apps of the Timescape suite from various different devices of the Xperia lineup, Rizal Lovins has made Timescape compatible with 2011 Xperia devices running non-stock 4.1 and 4.2 roms such as CM 10 and CM10.1. Installation is relatively straightforward, requiring you to edit your build.prop, wipe dalvik cache, and flash the zip file. However some prerequisites may be necessary to allow some features to function as intended, such as the Timescape widget and Rizal Lovins does acknowledge some bugs.
So if you’re running a custom Jelly bean rom on your 2011 Xperia device and miss the functionality and practicality of Sony’s Timescape suite, make sure to check out the original thread for the download, installation instructions, and more information.
March 8, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The White House replies to the SIM-unlocking petition, and they agree! That story and more are covered by Jordan when he reviews all the important stories from this week. Jordan talks about Sony Mobile releasing a develop build of Firefox OS and Jordan mentions his video of Boot2Gecko. Jordan talks about the mods collection for the Xperia P, U, Go and Sola.
Jordan talks about the other videos released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer and newcomer Steve gives a Windows Phone App Review of CloudMuzik, Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler released a video on GPIO and the Raspberry Pi, and XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an Android app review of Carbon. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
Just because a device hasn’t been released, is in limited release, or isn’t in the hand of a developer doesn’t mean that developers cannot root the device. XDA Elite Recognized Developer Chainfire has rooted a pre-release device a few times, such as when he remotely rooted the Samsung Galaxy S III. Today, we are talking about Chainfire’s CF-Auto-Root in a roundabout way.
XDA Recognized Developer DooMLoRD took the Nexus 4 version of CF-Auto-Root, modified it a bit, did a dance to the rooting gods, and crossed his fingers. Using TeamViewer, which we’ve reviewed in the past, to remotely attempt rooting, he was successful. Thanks to Chainfire’s app and DooMLoRD’s dancing, the Sony Xperia Z now has root.
It is important to note that you need to have firmware version 10.1.A.1.350, an unlocked bootloader, and fastboot files for this to work. Check out the original thread to find out more.
February 15, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Android 4.2.2 is rolling out to most current Nexus devices. That story and more are covered by Jordan, as he reviews all the important stories from this week. Jordan talks about the other video released this week on XDA Developer TV. XDA Developer TV Producer TK released an app review this week comparing two gesture control apps, Trigger and LMT.
In Sony Xperia news, Jordan talks about the kernel source release for the Sony Xperia Z, a device that isn’t even available for purchase. Additionally, Jordan talks about the app fine-tuning and debugging tool released by Sony developers. Pull up a chair and check out this video. Finally, be sure to check out all the other news from XDA-Developers.
January 26, 2013 By: jerdog
Here at XDA, we take the responsibility of carriers and OEMs to provide timely updates to their devices (and to honor their GPL requirements) seriously. There are those who do a good job (Samsung is one of them), those who don’t always do a good job (HTC, Motorola, LG), and those who do a terrible job (Huawei, ZTE, Rockchip to name a few). But there is one who right now is doing a terrific job, and that is Sony Mobile.
Back at the end of 2012, we selected Sony Mobile as our OEM of the Year for many reasons. One of those had to do with their public support of the developer community. Another was the release of beta OS builds for impending updates, shared on XDA by Sony staff in order to seed the ROM development pipeline. In addition, they were very active in supporting AOSP for the Sony Xperia S in the Google AOSP device tree, released the AOSP binaries, and eventually branched out to open their own Github for future AOSP development.
On Friday, Sony continued their string of community contributions by releasing an ALPHA build of Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.2) for the Sony Xperia T. This build is most definitely an alpha, meaning that many of the core components do not work, so it is not meant to be flashed or even mucked around with by the end user. It is meant solely for custom ROM developers to take and use and help make it better in preparation for Sony’s upcoming official build of Jelly Bean for the Xperia T. In order to flash this you will need to use their EMMA tool and your device must have its bootloader unlocked, or else the device will boot to a black screen and you will need to return to stock via Sony’s Update Tool. More information can be found at their Developer World blog. Again, this is not for the end user.
Sony evidently wasn’t content just to be the only OEM to provide OFFICIAL alpha builds for their devices. They ALSO released the kernel source for the alpha build. No other company in our memory has ever done this. Sure, one could argue that it is their obligation to release the kernel source under GPL requirements because they distributed the alpha build. But let’s keep in mind that we’re talking about an ALPHA build—something that is essentially in the infant-stages of its evolution, and not a production build or a finished product.
Let’s also keep in mind that instead of letting it leak like other manufacturers do, and thus not need to adhere to the GPL because they can claim ignorance and that they themselves aren’t the one distributing, they are embracing the fact that the GPL is not harmful. They are stating their case that this is how OEMs should work with the community. They are saying that this sort of thing encourages trust and a sense of togetherness between the community and the OEM, which in turn trickles down to the consumer’s good will towards the OEM. It’s a veritable marketplace “circle of life.” (You’re welcome for having planted the Lion King firmly in your subconscious for the next few hours.)
Other OEMs, like Samsung, frequently release incomplete kernel source that will not build (GPL violation); or fail to release the kernel source for a production build that they later retract even though it was distributed and is live in the wild on consumer’s devices (GPL violation). Or in the case of HTC, just plain ignore the GPL and wait for petitions to be filed or lawyers to be engaged before releasing the kernel source for a software version that is now out of date (GPL violation).
Let this be a lesson to the OEMs out there: When you choose to embrace the very ecosystem that has driven your profits high, and endeavor to work with that ecosystem in a mutual give-and-take, you will see positive results and karma that far exceeds your expectations. Or you can choose to neglect the very base that at one time made you the top smartphone manufacturer in the world and ultimately see your profits and market share slide into the abyss where there is little to no hope of return. Your choice. Choose wisely.
Another wonderful International CES has passed us by. The event was filled with many exciting displays, like the Intel Ultrabook Tree, but most important were the announcements made by many manufactures. Some announcements are still years out, embodying nothing more than an idea. Other announcements having working prototypes, while still others are in the final stages before release or have been released.
January 15, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
At the 2013 International CES, manufacturer of the year Sony released two phones. The phones are similar and share similar names. These devices are called the Sony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL. The Xperia Z is water and dust proof while the Xperia ZL has a hardware camera button.
XDA News Specialist Jordan was on site and got a chance to get his hands on the Xperia twins. Jordan sat down and talked with the folks and Sony. In this video, he shares what he learned and shows off the devices. Check it out to see what the newest Xperias look like.
After much fanfare and high production value videos and presentation efforts, including an XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler-style tear down and reassembly videos of cameras and mobile devices, the executives at Sony took the stage at CES to talk about their wares. They spoke about their commitment to pushing the envelope. They talked at length about their new televisions and 4K content.
But the really exciting part was when they announced the new Sony Xperia Z. With a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and a 5-inch full HD 1080p screen, the Xperia Z could be quite a contender. Talking with XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan, it did seem as though the Xperia Z was a bit of a me too device. “All the other manufacturers already have fancy, quad-core phones, so should we.” However, Sony is being very generous with their support of the open source community, so it is nice to see that there is a decent phone that is fairly open to development. Also, Sony talked about their one-touch technology, where you can tap your phone on a speaker or television remote to get sound playing on the speakers or a video playing on your television.
I imagine that the Sony Xperia Z, with the right vendor relationships of course, will be a decent force in the mobile scene in the next few months. It looks like an also ran at this point, but the device has something special about it that you can’t quite put your finger on.
December 30, 2012 By: jerdog
When you purchase a device, it’s always desirable to be able to use it as you wish. Sadly, this is often not the case. This is because most of the time, people purchase devices with a carrier subsidy. What this means is that essentially the carrier is letting you purchase the device at a reduced rate, say $300 off suggested retail, with the terms of a contract stating you will stay with them for (usually) two years. This guarantees that they will keep their ARPU (average revenue per user) over that time.
The trade off is that if you break the contract, they will charge you an ETF (early-termination fee), which adds up to the same amount they “discounted” the phone for, prorated of course. Usually rolled in with that trade off is an agreement between the manufacturer and the carrier that the bootloader is locked, giving the carrier the full control of the device instead of you. Of course, with the talented developers here at XDA-Developers, bootloaders are often hacked, returning the control of the device to the user.
What often doesn’t happen though is manufacturers deciding to give you control of the device on their own, which is exactly what Sony has done with their beta flash tool they call “Emma.” Sure Samsung “leaked” ODIN, but that’s entirely different. This is Sony creating a tool and freely making it available, and then going the extra step to show you how to use it. The tool is for the Xperia S, Xperia Arc, Xperia Arc S, and Xperia T, with more devices to be added in the future. Emma is essentially a “return to stock” tool that will work regardless of what software you currently have installed on your Xperia device, though it does require the bootloader be unlocked which Sony is again more than happy to show you how to do. The other requirements for the tool are that you have Windows installed and a current version of JAVA.
You can use the tool to choose between different stock versions of firmware, which the tool will automatically download for you from Sony’s servers. There are some quirky things with the tool however, with the connection to the Sony servers being temperamental and general JAVA issues. That said, the tool is still in beta, so head on over to the discussion thread to address any issues you might be having and to download the tool.
November 30, 2012 By: Jimmy McGee
It is Friday, and Jordan is here to round up the news stories from this week on XDA. Jordan talks about HoRNDIS, which allows you to tether on a Mac easily. In XDA-specific news, Jordan talks about developers discussion forum being trialed in the Note II forums. Jordan mentions the three videos posted this week on XDA Developer TV. The first video released this week was by XDA TV Producer TK and talked about rooting the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The second video was by Elite Recognized Developer and TV Producer AdamOutler, and it talked about Linux Apps on Android devices. Also, TK released an app review on the One Power Guard.
In Sony news, Jordan talks about Verizon allowing the bootloader to be unlocked on the Xperia Play. Also, Jordan mentions the article on accessing PlayStation Games on non-certified devices. Lastly, Jordan talks about the article and thread asking what your favorite news article and XDA Developer TV video is from this year. Pull up a chair and check out this video.
If you’ve followed XDA for a while, you will likely know that we have somewhat mixed feelings towards Sony and the attitude they used to (notice the use of past tense) take towards the developer community. If anyone remembers back to the legal battle against George Hotz, where a multi-million dollar corporation essentially went full force against an underground developer/hacker for letting people know how to run CFW (custom firmware) on their Playstation consoles, it was something that earned (and rightfully so) the rage and anger of the entire modder community. However, it seems that the Japanese conglomerate is turning around and trying a different approach towards this group of customers (us).
According to a recent post on Google+ by XDA Recognized Developer cyanogen, Sony has literally opened the flood gates by adding the Dynamic Android Sensor Hardware Abstraction Layer (DASH for short) to the world of open source. What this means essentially is that now developers have access to and can contribute towards the development and betterment of the code behind the sensor hardware’s inner workings. This is rather interesting, and quite a big step for manufacturers, since this kind of information is usually obtained via reverse engineering, espionage, or (normally) not at all.
Most developers out there who work on porting operating systems (like in this case, cyanogen) spend monumental amounts of time digging through bits and pieces of information that is scarcely available to try and fix bugs caused by incompatibilities between the custom code and the closed source code. So, this addition will have a benefit for both parties: on one side, developers will not have to spend countless hours trying to figure out how to make things work because they will have access to the actual code from the same people who make these. On the other hand, Sony will benefit from the added expertise of the modding community, as we have a bit of a reputation when it comes to finding bugs in manufacturer’s products. This goes hand in hand with the addition of the Xperia S to the device vendor list in the AOSP source.
This is indeed quite a change of heart by the same people who just a little over two years ago were in absolute denial and going after underground hackers, who ironically were their customers and a big driving force behind a percentage of their sales. Keep going down the right path, Sony! We are proud of you and we sincerely hope that the others will follow your example as well (ahem… HTC… we hope you are taking down notes). Last but not least, a big thumbs up for cyanogen and his team for opening Sony’s eyes. Way to go, guys!
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[Thanks to pulser_g2 for the tip!]