Sony is continuing its odd support for modifications and software based on Android's open source core. Today they're releasing a collection of flashable recovery partitions for some phones - technically these count as "custom" recoveries, but they're based on AOSP, and therefore pretty close to what you'd find on Nexus devices. Sony's intro video does state that the recovery can restore data, flash custom ROMs, and boot to multiple ROMs, something that most stock recoveries can't handle.
Sony's recent Xperia phones and tablets have included themable skins for the proprietary Sony UI that runs on top of Android. Now Sony wants you (yes, you!) to make themes for its devices using a custom Java desktop program. The company has released a beta version of the application for aspiring theme makers, available from the Sony Developer site.
The program allows you to apply different colors and graphical elements to the various bits and pieces of Sony's themes.
Anyone eager to see what Sony has planned for the Xperia Z4 Tablet won't have much longer to wait. According to XperiaBlog, Sony has let slip its plans to show off the tablet on March 3rd. That date lines up with a certain Mobile World Congress taking place at the time where a bunch of other manufacturers will also be showing off their upcoming products.
A few images of Lollipop running on an Xperia phone have hit the web, and the most noticeable takeaway is what Sony has done to the navigation buttons.
The full-size screenshots can be found over in the original XperiaBlog post. All we care about is what's visible at the bottom of each. To put things simply, Sony has changed the icons, and not necessarily for the better.
Here are the on-screen navigation buttons on a Nexus device.
Folding@Home, at first glance, looks like a trendy name for a blog about mastering origami, but it's actually an initiative that could some day help crack the secrets behind certain life-threatening illnesses. Folding refers to the way in which proteins bend themselves into various shapes, forming the building blocks for our bones, skin, and everything in between.
Sometimes proteins don't fold correctly, leading to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's. Unfortunately, the process occurs so quickly that it's difficult for scientists to observe.
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.
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.
With a new Sony smartphone comes a new Sony ad campaign, and the Z3's has just been released in the form of (so far) eight videos published on the company's Xperia YouTube channel. While seven of the spots are actually one and the same product storyline edited differently to showcase various features, one of the ads really did strike me as genuinely good, which is pasted below.
It's 3 minutes or so long, so it's a bit of a lengthy video as an ad, but I think Sony really nails the "product as hero" thing here with just the right mix of emotion (eg, not going overboard) and real human interest story.
It's great that OEMs are using the Play Store to distribute apps to their devices these days. However, Sony might be taking it a little far with a trio of new apps for Xperia devices. AR fun, Ninja, and Sticker Creator exist now, and no amount of wishing will make them go away.
All three of these apps are ways to add stuff to your pictures within the Sony camera app.