Sony is making it easier to get AOSP ROMs up and running on its flagship devices with a few goodies for developers. After showing off stock Android 5.0 running on the Xperia Z3 recently, the company has posted source code and binaries for the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z2, Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact.
Sony is releasing flagship smartphones at a furious pace. Barely six months after the Xperia Z2 was announced, the Z3 is already here. If you don't need to have the absolute latest and greatest, there's a good deal on the Z2 today. Just $399.99 gets you a new unlocked device compatible with US LTE bands.
Sony's back to its AOSP tricks, working to release some functional (if not exactly ideal) versions of the latest release of Android based on open-source code. This time they've quickly put together Android Open Source Project builds for the flagships of the last two years: the Xperia Z1, Z2, and Z3. You can see the bone-stock builds running in the video below.
As always with Sony's developer promotions, these builds aren't intended for end users - they aren't provided with any kind of promise for reliability or functionality. They don't even include the Play Store or other standard apps, which many people (erroneously) think of as part of "stock" Android.
Sony is very serious about giving PlayStation 4 owners the ability to play their console without actually playing with their consoles, so the company is expanding its remote play functionality to more devices. The required app hit the Play Store just last week, but it only worked for the Z3 line of devices. Now that's gradually changing.
Following the latest over-the-air update, the Xperia Z2 and Z2 Tablet will be able to share in the experience. So if you don't own a PlayStation Vita or a PlayStation TV but do happen to carry around one of Sony's slightly older flagship devices, you won't be left out much longer.
Chromecast's screen casting feature works on a limited number of devices, but that list is gradually growing. For now, Sony appears to have cut to the front of the line of handsets waiting to get support. At the beginning of this month, the Chromecast gods smiled favorably upon the Xperia Z3 and the Z3 Compact.
Now at the end of the month, that attention is being poured upon the Xperia Z3v, Z2, and Z2 Tablet. The first is just Verizon's version of the Xperia Z3. The latter two are Sony's flagship phone and tablet from earlier this year.
Sony's relationship with "pure" Android is an interesting one. As a company they generally make it easy to root or otherwise modify their phones or tablets, with a few notable qualifiers. The AOSP for Xperia project, which provides the basic tools for building standard Android ROMs on popular devices, is also one way that Sony stays relevant for those who buy phones with the intent to add aftermarket software. Today it gets two new flagship options, the older Xperia Z1 and Z2.
You can find the binaries for both new phones on the SonyXperiaDev GitHub. They're classified by codename: "Honami" is the Xperia Z1 while "Sirius" is the Z2.
The Sony Xperia Z2 is a water-resistant phone, and it may just be more humble than it puts on. One reportedly managed to survive for six weeks on a sea bed more than 10 meters deep. It didn't come out of the deal without a fair bit of damage, but the phone was still able to boot up and make calls.
Swedish reports speak of a man from Gothenburg who, while water-skiing with a friend on vacation, lost his mobile phone in the water. The Xperia Z2 reportedly sank more than 10 meters to the bottom of the salty sea bed.
Sony is beginning the rollout of a new firmware update for its current flagship, the Xperia Z2. The software (version number 17.1.2.A.0.314) doesn't bump the underlying version of Android, which was already based on KitKat. Instead, Sony is cleaning up the rough edges.
Update 3: Live on YouTube is back, more than two weeks after it debuted and almost immediately vanished. The description still says it's only for the Xperia Z2, but we have no way of confirming that, so your mileage may vary.
Update 2: ...aaaaaaand it's gone.
Update: Commenters who own the Xperia Z2 and Xperia Tablet Z2, as well as the previous-generation Z1, have said that their phones are listed as incompatible. Perhaps Sony has published the app before it was ready, or simply made an error with the compatibility assignments. Thanks for letting us know, folks.
We've looked high and low, and even a little bit laterally, and we couldn't find an Android app that lets you broadcast a live video stream directly to YouTube.
The Sony Xperia Z2 is a great device out of the box, but let's not kid around, a certain number of people are going to want to root and flash it if for no reason other than spite. The task requires a good custom ROM to turn to in place of whatever unbearable software the phone shipped with, and fortunately the latest version of CyanogenMod, complete with Android 4.4, is now one such option available to Xperia Z2 owners who just can't bear to let things be. It's offered as a nightly under the name "sirius," a codename for the Z2 that frankly gives the word "Xperia" a run for its money.