Sony has been rolling out Android 5.1 updates intermittently ever since last July... up to and past the point where Android 6.0's AOSP code has been available to manufacturers. The last few devices that received bumps to 5.1 were the Xperia C4 and C5 Ultra earlier this month, and today the Xperia M5 gets the same treatment. Users can wait for the over-the-air update alert in the usual manner, or use Sony's PC Companion computer program to download and install the update manually.
This "super mid-range" M5 was launched back in August, running Android 5.0 at launch, much to the consternation of Android fans who would have preferred the latest software.
There's a lot to like about Sony's latest generation of Android devices. One od the things that most people don't like is the custom interface that Sony puts on pretty much everything. If you want to do away with it and get some sweet, clean Android Open Source Project code running on your shiny new Xperia Tablet Z, Sony is happy to oblige. They've posted an AOSP 4.2 build for the Tablet Z to GitHub, following their surprisingly open approach to other devices, most recently the Xperia Z flagship.
Sorry ROM aficionados, there's no flashable ROM package posted. Developers will need both the AOSP code and the binaries for their specific device (which you can find here) to build a working ROM, and end users need an unlocked bootloader, with the voided warranty that comes with it.
For developers wishing to tinker with Sony phones, the Open Devices program is a welcome official point of entry. The Japanese company adds most of its high-profile Android handsets to the list of supported devices after a little while, and the Xperia XZ2 and XZ3 are the latest to join the ranks.
In a gesture of good faith, Sony, on its developer blog, has announced the company is releasing the software binaries for the Xperia S. It has done so explicitly in support of Android developer JBQ's "experimental" support for the device in AOSP (found here). If you're unfamiliar with the project, we covered it earlier this month when it was announced.
The software binaries Sony released consist mainly of drivers for the hardware on the Xperia S's chipset. These binaries allow developers to get that hardware to function with non-OEM software. Manufacturers are generally under no obligation to make these binaries public, because they typically fall under the "proprietary" umbrella.
Sony has been a surprisingly developer-friendly Android phone maker, with its Open Devices program giving anyone the opportunity to build and flash custom versions of the OS firmware on its devices. A few days ago Sony published the relevant binaries for the latest AOSP version of Android 8.0 Oreo for a number of its phones, and now it's added two newer Xperia models.
The XZ1 and XZ1 Compact were launched at the end of August at IFA 2017 in Berlin. They're essentially the same as their predecessors, the XZ and X Compact, on the outside, with updated internals such as the Snapdragon 835.
Well, look what we have here. It appears an observant shopper got in touch with Android Central this morning with a link to a piece of evidence that is so random it must be real.
A British online phone store called phones4u (shudder) put up some product images for its Xperia T page. What it didn't notice, apparently, was that at least one of the images Sony sent along was for the wrong phone. It's still an Xperia T, but "oops" is probably the best way to describe this leak:
Now, look carefully. Yeah, that's an AT&T logo on the front.
Sony is pretty cool about supporting the open source community by contributing code back to AOSP and helping developers tinker with devices. So it's no surprise that the company has already dropped source files for the Xperia Z Ultra.
The Xperia Z Ultra is, of course, a very large phone. It's not just big like other phones are big – it's obscenely large. The Z Ultra has a 6.4-inch 1080p screen, and it's not a tablet, it's a phone. Like the other flagship Xperia devices, it's water and dust resistant.
No matter how you feel about the device, developer types can feel free to paw around in the code.
Some interesting leaked news are hitting the airwaves today: according to a former high-level Open Handset Alliance executive from Google, the said Alliance was "nothing more than a myth".
The one-time company head called the group “oligarchical” and revolving solely around Android:
"The power is concentrated with the Google employees who manage the open source project"
The Open Handset Alliance
The Open Handset Alliance, founded and led by by Google in 2007, contained 34 large and small companies related to the mobile business, and this number only grew over the years, currently standing at 65.
The primary purpose of this *open* alliance was to share and mold ideas in the open, creating and maintaining standards together:
Innovating in the open Each member of the Open Handset Alliance is strongly committed to greater openness in the mobile ecosystem.
Sony has added yet another handset to its Open Device Program. This time it's the Xperia XZs. With older brothers, the Xperia XZ and the X Performance, already on the list, it was only a matter of time before the newer flagship made its way to the program. Sony's support for the open source community is commendable, and this is more great news for developers hoping to play with custom builds of Nougat on their Xperia devices.