The lads and lasses on the open source CyanogenMod Team continue to bring their Android nightly ROMs to phones and tablets that have long been abandoned by uncaring manufacturers. This week a handful of new devices get builds for CM13, based on code from Android 6.0. All of them are nightlies (so possibly not ready for primetime), but I'll bet their respective users are happy to get the attention anyway. Here they are:
Normally only Nexus and other first-party Google devices get a taste of an upcoming Android version before it's released, barring custom ROMs and other end user activities. But Sony has been offering experimental AOSP builds for some of its phones for some time, and today the company has surprised and delighted owners of the former flagship Xperia Z3 with a custom Android N developer preview. This is more or less the same as the preview builds for Nexus phones and tablets, and it includes the Play Store and Google Services - everything one needs for a full Android experience.
Some of Sony's older hardware (well, relatively speaking, anyway) is getting updated to Lollipop today. If you own an Xperia Z (LTE model), Xperia ZR (LTE model), Xperia ZL, or Xperia Tablet Z, all released in 2013, check your status bar for an over-the-air update. According to Xperia Blog and the always-reliable XDA, all four of these devices are being upgraded as of now. As usual, it may take a few days or even a week or two for the rollout to reach you.
Sony's Live on YouTube app, which allows you to offer live streams from your Xperia handset, has updated to bring more devices into the fray. First off, sorry, but this is still Xperia-only and is likely to stay that way. The other key feature addition is the ability to broadcast in full HD when the camera and local upload speed allows it.
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.
Sony has announced that the latest version of KitKat is now rolling out to many of its Xperia products with Z in their name. That includes the Z, the ZL, the ZR, and the Tablet Z. For the confused, no, I'm not talking about smearing chocolate all over a Wii U controller. Sony just really likes the final letter of the alphabet, and it's now delivering Android 4.4.4 to four devices all bearing Z in their names. The software version is number 10.5.1.A.0.283.
just in: #android 4.4.4 rolls for #Xperia Z, ZL, ZR & Tablet Z – brings fixes, battery, wifi & email improvements and more #SonyXperia
Update: Xperia Blog has confirmed this update is, in fact, Android 4.3. I can confirm that T-Mobile does, in fact, suck at changelogs. The version has also been tweaked to 10.4.C.0.814.
It might not be the latest and greatest anymore, but the Sony Xperia Z on T-Mobile is still getting some update love today. That mysterious Android 4.3 update that was pulled a few months back still isn't back, apparently. Instead, you get some small tweaks.
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.
Update: It looks like T-Mobile got cold feet. The support page has been reverted to its previous state, showing only the Android 4.2 update from November. Sorry, folks.
Do you use a Sony Xperia Z? Did you buy it from T-Mobile? Then check that Settings menu - according to this T-Mo support page, you're getting a taste of Jelly Bean 4.3 starting today. Of course these things tend to go out in waves, so those without patience can follow the links on T-Mobile's site and manually download and flash the new software (10.4.C.0.797) using the Sony PC Companion software.
The last time T-Mobile's carrier-customized version of the Z got an update was way back in November, when it was upgraded to Android 4.2.