Android TV may look different from vanilla Android, but underneath that tiled interface is the same operating system you know and love. That means it's possible to sideload whatever APKs you want. The thing is, without a touchscreen, most of them are pretty useless.
Take the regular Amazon Instant Video app. Besides requiring that you have the general Amazon app installed first, it fails to provide a passable experience on Android TV (which lacks an officially sanctioned Instant Video app because Amazon).
When I was in Istanbul last week, I saw street vendors waving selfie sticks (aka the wand of Narcissus) and offering for a few liras to hold your phone so you can take a selfie from a better angle. If something hits the hawker market, it's safe to say that it's pervasive and in-demand. That's the angle that the newly announced Sony Xperia C4 is coming from. Sony even has a name for all the cool selfles that this smartphone can take — PROselfies. Because regular selfies aren't enough.
The recipe for cooking up a PROselfie involves a 5MP 25mm wide-angle lens with Sony's Exmor R sensor, a soft LED flash, and HDR for balancing the exposure as much as possible and capturing both you and your background clearly.
Sony's upcoming Smart Bluetooth Speaker BSP60 (announced at this year's Mobile World Congress) is a tad on the cute side. It sits on your desk like an unassuming black ball, but that changes as soon as the music starts. Then its circular "ears" pop out and start glowing. Wheels on the bottom let the thing move in place like it can't fight the music. It's almost enough to make a grown man squee.
If you live in Europe, you can now call dibs on one of your own. Just know that it will set you back 300 euro. That price isn't nearly as endearing.
To address several relatively minor problems and requests, Sony's Xperia Z2 and Z3 devices will be getting an update to their firmware. They will remain on 5.0 Lollipop, which speaks to the fact that these are mostly optimizations rather than wholesale changes. The headlining feature is probably the fact that the app switcher now has a close all button, but there are some other goodies as well.
Another feature change is making the LED light independent of the sound settings. Previously, putting the device on silent also turned off the LED indicator. This was probably annoying, since the light is the exact thing you would want in place of audio.
Sony has recently been among the friendlier companies for custom ROM developers, but their devices still had a major hitch. They could not be booted from recovery, which meant third-party software had to modify the build system and if things went wrong, it was a lot more difficult to fix. To address this issue, Sony will begin releasing new bootloaders to allow booting from recovery.
This was first reported at FXP, home to developers who work exclusively with Sony devices to bring custom ROMs like CyanogenMod to end users. Official word should be coming soon, but the software is available to flash right now.
Earlier this month, a tweet from T-Mobile's official Twitter account said that the Sony Xperia Z3 was no longer available from the carrier, and the phone was nowhere to be found on its website. Instead, searches redirected to refurbished Sony devices. This news came less than half a year after the phone's October release.
Google announced a new update for Android Wear earlier today, but it conveniently failed to tell us the version number. While I'm sure we all assumed it would be 5.1, Sony has confirmed that and added a few more things Google apparently forgot to tell us.
Back at MWC, while everyone was waiting for Sony to announce its follow-up flagship, the Xperia Z4, the company decided to keep it under wraps and instead unveiled the mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua and the Xperia Z4 Tablet. Today, the phone has finally been made official in Sony's home turf of Japan during a press conference that made all of the Z4's details public but left out any information regarding its global release or price.
The Xperia Z4 follows the same design as its predecessors, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. The squarish shape, metal frame, and glass back are part of the brand's identity, but at the same time they're iterative and have become boring.
If you've been following Google's Android 5.1 rollout, it's no secret that the release to GPE devices is well underway. So far we've seen the stock Android variants of the Moto G, LG G Pad 8.3, and HTC One M8 get the update, and now it's time for Sony's massive Z Ultra GPE to have its turn in the sun.
The build is LMY47D and it's not entirely clear yet how big the OTA is. We don't have a link to the actual ZIP file yet, but once we do, we'll post it here.