Hi folks and welcome to the first of hopefully many weekly-ish posts from an everyday average “advanced” android user. I use the term advanced quite loosely as an average user wouldn’t necessarily know about, or want, root and custom roms. The idea behind this weekly is to hopefully inform readers about the versatility of Android as an OS, and how effective it can be as a desktop replacement. My PC has been out of action for several months, and I currently lack funds, time and motivation to get it repaired, so instead I rely on my android phone for most day to day tasks such as email, social networking and gaming. As it happens I’m also writing this post right now on my xperia play. While it does sound quite impressive, it does get a little bit annoying working with only thumbs on a small screen.
So let’s get started….
Sony Mobile, formerly SonyEricsson, have won respect from gamers world wide this last week by releasing a public beta of the Xperia Play ICS update for people with unlocked bootloaders. Naturally, being a gamer, Xperia play owner and all round tinkerer, I decided to give it a go. Sony provided very clear instructions in their blog post and download links for the update. Following the instructions, I had ICS on my phone withing 10 minutes, and all seemed great until I came across two fundamental flaws….. No google apps, and no WiFi. Rest asured after a few minutes searching, I discovered there was already a way to get the google apps installed, and it was a simple procedure too. Here’s a very basic How To, assuming you already have the android SDK and have fastboot working.
Download the ICS beta update from Sony and unzip somewhere easy
Open a terminal and type the following
fastboot flash boot boot.img
fastboot flash system system.img
fastboot flash userdata userdata.img
You should now have the official ICS from Sony. The first immediate change you’ll notice is the boot sequence. All SonyEricsson branding has been removed and replaced with simply Sony, and the boot animation is a very basic almost cupcake-esque sliding xperia logo. Those who have been with android before 2.1 will know what I mean. Now for google apps.
You’ll need to download either a modified kernel with CWM built in, or the CWM recovery, and of course the latest GAPPS.
If you downloaded the CWM recovery, you will need to BOOT the kernel with fastboot, remembering not to FLASH it. If you go for the recovery option, rename the img file to recovery.img to make it easier.
Open terminal again and enter fastboot boot recovery.img
You should now reboot into CWM recovery.
From here you can flash the GAPPS package you downloaded if you copy it to the SD card. If you don’t know how to use CWM, you probably shouldn’t be doing this.
If you went for the modified kernel, you can simply flash it using fastboot, and then enter CWM using the instructions provided with the kernel. Some use volume buttons, while others use the back button. Check with your chosen kernel and flash away.
Once rebooted you should now have access to the Play store (can I please just call it the market??) and if you flashed a new kernel, you’ve probably fixed the WiFi too and have root too. Personally I flashed a kernel with the wifi fixed, but not rooted, so i won’t go into that at all, but if you’re bored then a simple search in XDA will give you loads of help with root.
I’ll be doing a full review of the beta rom in the near future so keep an eye out for that, but so far everything seems to be running great. everything works as it should. I’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but i’m not complaining as it’s beta.
You can find more detailed instructions from HERE
Since the launch of the Xperia S, I’ve been noticing quite a few different advertisements with a B icon in the corner. After very little searching I came across an app called Blippar, and found it quite entertaining. Blippar is a new way of advertising, using augmented reality or AR. Simply by using your phones camera, you can access hidden content from within an image. If you have a Phones 4U store nearby, you can go try it out. Download the free app Blippar from the play store (why did they change from market???) and simply point your camera at the Xperia S poster in Phones 4U. Network speed dependent, within seconds the poster will come to life and show you some features of the phone and provide web links to other information, making a simple advertisement alot more interesting. There are also some other food products that have a “Blip” in them. A few days ago I found a bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup and decided to try and Blip it. To my amazement, the bottle came to life and showed me a virtual cook book with links to various recipes. Ingenious idea I think. Enough with boring 2D posters that say “buy me”, bring on more interactive advertisements that say “look at what I can do if you buy me”. Random I know, but I thought I’d share that one with you all. Keep an eye out for Blippar enabled adverts near you, make waiting for the bus less boring.
Thats all from me for now, but i’ll see you all again in the very near future.