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.
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.
Over the last week there have been a rash of reports that folder with labels mentioning the Chinese search engine Baidu have been appearing on phones. The most obvious and prominent examples have been Sony's new Xperia Z3 series of phones and others running KitKat. Many users (and media outlets) jumped to the conclusion that these files were evidence of spyware, perhaps bolstered by recent and more credible reports of digital spying and hacking linked to the Chinese government.
The Galaxy S5. The One M8. The LG G3. All very good phones - all phones that I like, for various reasons, and dislike in certain respects for others! HTC, Samsung, and LG have generally been the de facto leaders of the high-end Android smartphone market here in the US. But what about Sony? I'll freely admit that I've never been much of a Sony smartphone fan. I didn't like the Xperia ZL as well as its competitors.
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.
A reasonable person would expect Sony to release a single companion app for its SmartBand Talk activity tracker, which comes equipped with a small e-ink display. In this case, a reasonable person would be wrong. Sort of, anyway. Yes, there's one primary app for the SWR30, but you're going to need to install some separate extensions to get full use out of the fitness band once it hits store shelves next month.
If you live in a real-life version of the latest James Bond or Spider-man flicks, where absolutely every piece of electronics everywhere is made by Sony, then we've got good news: the PS4 Remote Play app is now available for download. This lets the Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, and Z3 Tablet Compact use a PlayStation 4 controller and super-fast streaming video to play PlayStation 4 games over a home Wi-Fi network.
Dedicated PlayStation 4 gamers have had Sony's official Android app to play around with for a while now, but apparently it hasn't been optimized for use on tablets before today. You might think that's strange, seeing as Sony, well, makes tablets, but the various hardware, software, and digital content arms of Sony are somewhat disjointed. That tends to happen in gigantic international corporations. In any case, the 2.0 update to Sony's PlayStation is now available in the Play Store.
Today is a good day if you like big, powerful phones, and if you want (or need) to use them on Verizon. The Galaxy Note 4 and the Xperia Z3v, the current flagships of Samsung and Sony, have both launched on Big Red. You can pick up a Galaxy Note 4 for $299.99 with a new contract or a whopping $699.99 without one. The Xperia Z3v is slightly cheaper at $199.99 and $599.99.
Android 4.4W.2 is slowly rolling out to various Wear devices this week, and my G Watch R review unit just received it earlier this afternoon. A couple of commenters have pointed out a new feature in W2 that we hadn't yet noticed - you can now hide notifications, as opposed to dismissing them, directly from the watchface.