Sony hardware fans, you've now got at least two more options when it comes to Android-based software. The current Sony flagship, the Xperia Z1, is now officially supported by the CyanogenMod ROM. The first CM 11 (Android 4.4) nightly build was posted to the CyanogenMod download page last night. There's also a new version of CM 11 built specifically for the Xperia Z Ultra Google Play Edition, the AOSP version of Sony's monster phablet on sale in the Play Store.
Nothing lasts forever. As it is with leftovers, so it is with Android phones, or at least their manufacturers' willingness to expend time and money updating the software. XperiaBlog reports that Sony announced a dozen of its older Android phones won't be getting any more software updates. That means no software at all, not just major Android version bumps. The former flagship Xperia S and its American cousin the Xperia Ion are probably the most popular phones among them.
Sony has a solid track record when it comes to quickly making open source kernel files available to the public. The company released them for the T-Mobile exclusive Xperia Z1s last week on the same day that the handset launched in stores. Now Sony is following through with the Xperia Z1 Compact just after launching the phone in Europe.
These files are what developers need to make the custom ROMs many of us can't get enough of.
Sony is continuing to mimic Motorola by adding its apps and services to Google Play. This time it's the new Xperia Transfer Mobile app, which seems a lot like Motorola Migrate. Who knows... maybe Sony is going to sell itself to Lenovo any day now.
Sony bumped the Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra to Android 4.3 in December, but a new software build is starting to make its way to users starting today. This one has build number 14.2.A.1.136, but it's still Android 4.3 – Sony is just doing a little housekeeping.
— Sony Xperia News (@SonyMobileNews) January 30, 2014
Sony's oddball external smartphone cameras have a lot of shortcomings compared to a conventional point-and-shoot, but they're getting a little better today. The manufacturer has released the 2.0 firmware for the QX10 and the more expensive QX100, boosting their video recording capabilities and low-light sensitivity.
Video recording for both models has been expanded to 1080p at 30 frames per second. Formerly it was 1440x1080/30, the 4:3 aspect ratio equivalent. The shifted resolution should make videos taken on the QX cameras match up with most phones, HDTVs, and 16:9 monitors.
Sony announced the Xperia Z1s at CES earlier this month, and it quickly showed up on T-Mobile's website. So Americans looking to just own the handset have had a week to order one online from the carrier, while those wanting a deeper relationship with the device - to love it for what's on the inside, rather than the outside - have had to wait a little longer. But now their opportunity has come as well.
The Sony Xperia Z Ultra has a 6.4-inch screen, which is dangerously close to the the tablet side of things. Apparently Sony agrees – a new version of the Xperia Z Ultra has been announced in Japan that does away with the cellular connectivity. Now it's just a tiny tablet instead of a monstrously huge phone.
Motorola has been making a name for itself by uploading many of its pre-installed apps (both the exciting and the utterly mundane) into the Play Store where it can serve out updates more quickly, but the Google-owned company isn't the only one to make use of this approach. Today Sony has uploaded the Xperia ZI's Timeshift Burst functionality into the Play Store.
Update: According to comments, the app is also compatible with a handful of other Sony devices, including the Xperia Z, ZL, ZQ, and the Tablet Z.
One of the many vectors which delivers leaked information on upcoming phones is the device benchmark score. Many apps upload the results to online leaderboards for all to see. There's quite a bit of information to be gleaned from these online listings – basically the entire spec list. Now Sony is looking to plug this leak by blocking benchmarking apps.