CyanogenMod 13 is the latest version of the popular open source custom ROM. It delivers Android Marshmallow to hundreds of devices, many with no hope of ever receiving an official update. On other hardware, CyanogenMod offers a chance to remove heavy skins and enjoy a mostly stock Android experience. The latest wave of devices receiving version 13 represents both types.
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.
The new recovery is available on the Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia T2 Ultra, Xperia T3, Xperia M2, and Xperia E3, all of which need to be unlocked at the bootloader level and running the latest "generic" software from Sony.
Xperia owners, watch out. Lollipops are raining from the sky and smashing straight into your screens. If you welcome this phenomenon, don't do anything. These lollipops have heat-seeking sensors and will find your devices wherever they lay. If you prefer KitKat, you can swat the intruders away, but you'll never get to experience the future changes in store for your Android device.
Sony has confirmed that it is launching lollipops at Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, and Z3 Tablet Compact devices all over the world (some of these updates were previously pushed out to smaller, test markets). The manufacturer plans to open fire on the Z2 and Z2 Tablet starting next week.
Owners of the Xperia T, TX, and V had a little hope before today that their beloved devices would see some of that KitKat goodness, but now their hopes lay dashed to bits at the feet of Sony's heartless engineers. These devices won't be making the jump to Android 4.4 KitKat, but will continue to live on with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
Sony has announced an impending software update for the Xperia T2 Ultra and the T2 Ultra Dual that will deliver Android 4.4 to both devices. The update contains the changes introduced by KitKat, but it also tosses in a number of Sony-exclusive touches.
Sony's designers have tweaked the status bar and quick settings to make them easier on the eyes, and they've tossed in new animations at launch and on the homescreen that may look familiar to PlayStation 4 owners. And don't forget about those pre-installed Sony apps. They're getting love too.
Here's the provided list of what to expect.
Google’s Android 4.4; KitKat as standard – bringing performance & UI optimisation…
We’ve added our tweaked Status Bar and Quick Settings… now more intuitive and customisable (and pretty easy on the eye)… cleaned up to ensure you only get the notifications you really need
If you’ve got a Sony PlayStation 4, you might recognize our new user interface – we’ve added the same sleek launch animation and livewallpaper across the lock and home screens
We’re also uplifting Sony’s entire native app portfolio to the latest versions – bringing tweaked / improved / current experiences for (to name but a few): Messaging, MyXperia, Smart Connect, Small apps, TrackID, TrackID TV, Sony Select, Smart Social Camera and…
Sony’s Media apps: WALKMAN, Album and Movies, with Sony Entertainment Network cloud service integration* – a more converged and full Sony entertainment experience – Sony Entertainment Network & PlayMemories integration with a more intuitive UI, better download speeds, and more!
The mid-range market continues to expand into larger and larger handsets, and Sony doesn't want to be left behind. To that end, they've announced the Xperia T3, a 5.3-inch Android phone with an awesome industrial design, but internals that will leave hardware buffs wanting more. The star of the show is an all-steel body that's admirably thin at just 7mm. It will be available globally in late July.
Move past the admittedly pretty body (available in white, black, or purple), and you'll see hardware that's shooting for the bottom of the mid-range. First, the large "Triluminous" LCD screen is only 720p, meaning it will be noticeably less sharp (227 PPI) than most of the other phones at that size.
Sony's typically quick about releasing the open source underpinnings of its devices. After having announced the Xperia T2 Ultra earlier this year, the company has now made the kernel files for the device available for download. The company's offering these files up for three variants of the device, the D5303, D5322, and XM50h. The software version for the first model is 19.0.1.A.0.207, while the latter two fall under 19.0.D.0.253.
The file size for both versions is 157MB total. These bits aren't of much use to the average consumer, but they're valued assets for developers looking to bring their custom ROMs to Sony's phones.
Let's forget about KitKat for a moment. A large number of Android devices out there still need an update to the latest version of Jelly Bean, and while many of them will never receive such an OTA, four of Sony's handsets are receiving one this week. The company is rolling out an update to the Xperia T, TX, SP, and V.
In addition to Android 4.3, the OTA brings updated Sony pre-installed apps, more integration between the company's media apps, and the launch of the new "Xperia Themes" custom interface. These are joined with the security enhancements that typically come with newer versions of software.
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).