When you gather all these devices together for an update, there's no doubt Sony really loves the letter Z. Apparently it also loves KitKat, because all these devices are about to get their Android 4.4. KitKat updates. It's more than a number in this case – Sony has made some substantial tweaks.
Typically Christmas day is a slow one for technology news, but apparently the good folks at the Android Open Kang Project have dragged their coding machines in front of the open fire. Today AOKP has posted the first nightly builds of Android 4.4.2, granting deliciously fresh custom ROMs to all the good little girls and boys. And all the bad ones too, I suppose.
The list of initially-supported devices doesn't cover AOKP's official support list yet, but it covers most of the major Nexus devices, Samsung's Galaxy SIII and S4 American and international incarnations, all five major versions of the HTC One, and a handful of Sony devices (because they tend to be pretty open as far as bootloaders and modifications go).
While the Nexus elite have since moved on to KitKat, there are still a lot of devices just getting by with some flavor of Jelly Bean. At least Sony is keeping its promise of updating devices to the latest version of that sweet-themed platform. Android 4.3 is beginning to make its way to the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, And Xperia Tablet Z.
OmniROM has only existed for a few weeks, but it's already gaining traction with certain groups (you know who you are). The first nightly builds of OmniROM based on Android 4.4 supported 15 devices, and today brings six more to the fold.
It's been less than 24 hours since Google announced Jelly Bean 4.3 and published the new code to the Android Open Source Project, and Sony is already talking up their plans for phone updates. That's what I call customer service! In a short blog post, Sony confirmed a 4.3 update for six of their latest phones and (one) tablets:
This isn't necessarily an exhaustive list, and no timeframe has been announced.
Sony Mobile is moving the Xperia ZL up to Android 4.2.2, making this the first non-Nexus handset to get updated to (instead of ship with) this particular version of Jelly Bean. The latest firmware build, version 10.3.A.0.423, also ushers in updates to Sony's Media apps, expands widget functionality on both the lock screen and the home screen, and introduces support for 64GB microSD cards. This is a big plus for users who shun cloud storage and prefer to carry their media the new-old fashioned way.
The CyanogenMod crew is at it again, welcoming a new device into the fold. This time around, the Xperia ZL is joining the extensive collection of devices with CM 10.1 support.
It could oftentimes be unstable and not properly tested, lacking any changelogs, but eventually evolving into alphas, betas, release candidates, and finally stable releases.
We first saw the Sony Xperia ZL back in January, and although its brother, the Xperia Z, has been available in Europe for a while now, it's taken a little bit longer for the ZL to reach American shores.
The good news is that you can now pre-order the Xperia ZL directly from Sony's website. The bad news is that it will put you back $759.99 or $719.99, depending on the model that you choose (HSPA+ or LTE).
The Xperia ZL is the 'little' brother to Sony's recently-unveiled Xperia Z, and to get the most pressing question out of the way immediately: what's the difference between the two? Well, the ZL isn't waterproof (and thus has a different chassis and design), has a hardware camera button, and uses a minutely larger (by 40mAh) battery. That's really it. The display, the chipset, the camera, and the software are all near as makes no difference identical to those on the Z.