Last Updated: September 4th, 2012

In a gesture of good faith, Sony, on its developer blog, has announced the company is releasing the software binaries for the Xperia S. It has done so explicitly in support of Android developer JBQ's "experimental" support for the device in AOSP (found here). If you're unfamiliar with the project, we covered it earlier this month when it was announced.


The software binaries Sony released consist mainly of drivers for the hardware on the Xperia S's chipset. These binaries allow developers to get that hardware to function with non-OEM software. Manufacturers are generally under no obligation to make these binaries public, because they typically fall under the "proprietary" umbrella. Nexus devices, of course, have been an exception to this rule.

Good guy Sony has decided to release these binaries, and you can download it right now from the Sony Developer World site. The Developer Blog says that Sony hopes this will get developers far enough with AOSP support "to boot up and reach the homescreen." Sony is also quick to note, though, that even with these binaries, AOSP builds for the Xperia S may never reach a point where they are "stable and complete enough for daily use."

Part of this is likely because some of the drivers contained in the binaries doesn't belong to Sony. Much of it, predictably, belongs to the chipset manufacturer - Qualcomm. Qualcomm's terms of use for the drivers in question (which you are required to accept in order to download the Xperia S binaries) will probably prevent them from being added to the AOSP tree for the Xperia S. This explains Sony's cautious optimism on the project's feasibility. The man leading this effort, JBQ, has also made it clear that only original or properly licensed material can be contributed to the project in the first place.

So, while we may never have a "daily driver" official AOSP ROM for the Xperia S, it's clear Sony doesn't want to get in the way of achieving that goal. In fact, it's quite obvious they're actively encouraging it - one of Sony's senior engineers is even going to review and contribute patches to the project. This really doesn't come as a huge surprise, though. Sony, according to JBQ, has been the most active of any manufacturer in contributing to AOSP from day one. Sony's motives? Who knows. It could be the good press. It could be an active desire to improve the software on its phones. Or it could just be a directive to engage the developer community. Regardless, Sony continues to put its money where its mouth is on its commitment to Android at a deeper level, and that's more than we can say of most other Android handset makers out there.

Sony Developer Blog

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Dima Aryeh

    Good on you, Sony! Now start making better phone :P
    Seriously, if they launched their 720p Snapdragon S4 device in the US, I'd seriously consider it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexander-Drizzy-Rojas/100000186636833 Alexander Drizzy Rojas

    Am I the only thinking that these are little hints at Sony making the next nexus? :D

    • NemaCystX

      not necessarily, Google has already said that Sony makes the most contributions to AOSP out of all the OEMs for Android. Sony is the ONLY OEM that shares its technology with AOSP too. So this is not really a hint at an upcoming Nexus, even though we pretty much know were getting 3 of them this year if not more from all the OEM's

      This is more or less Google and Sony working together like true partners should.
      OEM's don't always work THIS closely together with hardware.

      My question for this article is, will the other Xperia phones get this treatment? Would be nice, I have my radar set on the Xperia T or maybe the already released Ion.

      Gotta get a nice device to celebrate moving from Verizon

    • Matti

      I sure hope so..... a "Nexperia" would be nice.

      Actually, anyone but Samsung would be good in my mind. Apple and Sony get a lot of stick (rightly so, most of the time), but both these company's "misdeeds" pale in comparison to all the dirty political tactics and corrupt business practices Samsung engages in it's native S.Korea.

  • blunden

    Where did my comment go? I just mentioned that "example driver code" doesn't make sense since it contains no "example code", or any source code of any kind. It does contain the precompiled drivers blobs though. The article is correct in why it doesn't contain source code though, because it's code they don't own. :)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Your other comment got spammed for some reason. You're right about the example driver code - David misread "Binaries are for example hardware drivers" which Sony didn't properly surround with commas for "example hardware drivers."

      I've alerted him of this, and he should be making a correction shortly.

  • someone755

    2 years ago and this little thing of a phone is still the best small phone design I've ever seen.