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 Xperia Z1 (nee "Honami") made a bit of a splash at IFA in Berlin a few weeks ago. The phone's focus on high-quality imaging via a 20.1 megapixel camera, combined with the undeniably slick high-end industrial design that Sony has been putting out for the last few years, has already earned it a few fans. As usual, Sony has posted the required open-source kernel files for the new device to their developer website, this time before the hardware is actually available for purchase.
Sony's latest phone, the Xperia XZ Premium, launched in the United States last week. As the name implies, it's a rather expensive phone ($799.99), but offers a few unique features like a camera capable of recording 960FPS slow-motion video. Sony has now added the phone to its Open Devices program, making it easy for developers to build AOSP for the device.
If an official AOSP build and CyanogenMod support have got you hot and bothered to try out Sony's latest entry into the tablet world, there's good news. The Xperia Tablet Z is now officially available through Sony's partner channels worldwide, according to a press release issued this morning. This much-anticipated 1080p tablet is the larger brother to the Xperia Z smartphone, in both design and hardware terms. Sony's US store still shows a pre-order doesn't list any retailers, but Amazon shows the 16GB and 32GB models at $499 and $599, respectively, arriving on Friday the 24th. Newegg has it coming in the day after.
After spending over a month in the release candidate stages, a final (stable) release of Android's most popular ROM has just been pushed out. Cyanogen himself tweeted the news, but also mentioned one small caveat: Samsung devices (read: the Galaxy S line) are left out of the fun, with no ETA. (Update: not available for the HTC Wildfire either.)
What's new in 6.1, you ask? Oh, just a few things:
Common: Update to Android 2.2.1
Common: Various bugfixes from AOSP and CodeAurora
Common: ADWLauncher 1.3.3 - Ander Webbs
Common: Configurable audio focus for music app - Jonas Larsson
Common: APN cleanup (fixes many issues with GPS and MMS) - Cyanogen
Common: Use ARMv6 optimizations for DS/Hero targets - Ninpo
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Sony announced today on it's official Sony Mobile Developer blog that the Xperia S "experimental AOSP support" project, first announced by JBQ back in August, is no more. It was an interesting idea, to be sure - a non-Nexus device that would be supported both with the help of members of the Google developer community, as well as AOSP maintainer JBQ, on the AOSP main branch.
The project did see some success, too - Android was booting, and according to Sony, Wi-Fi and sensors were up and running. Unfortunately, because of proprietary software binaries that by definition could not be part of AOSP (which requires legitimate open source code only), it seemed unlikely audio and mobile network modem functionality could be achieved in that environment.
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.