Sony's Xperia S gets added to AOSP - to be a Nexus soon?

Just a few days ago Jean-Baptiste Queru, technical lead for Google's AOSP (Android Open Source Project), added the Sony Xperia S to the AOSP project. This makes the Xperia S the very first device without Google's involvement in the project. Queru chose the device for the experiment because it is a powerful, current GSM device with an unlockable bootloader - and because Sony has always been very friendly towards AOSP. The Xperia S was launched with Android Gingerbread and has been updated to ICS a while ago.

Google labeled the project as an experiment. Currently not all necessary source code is available, and without all needed code some essential components of the device might not work. However, the FreeXperia team (the people in charge of Cyanogenmod for the Xperia range) has already started working on the project and the prospects are good.

Even better news is that trusted sources within Sony Mobile over at XDA-Developers have said that there are talks going on about Sony actively supporting this project by making the necessary drivers available open-source (if they get an okay from the legal and management teams). What this means for owners of the Xperia S is that their device might soon sort-of be a Nexus device! When updates start coming straight from AOSP you can expect new Android versions to be available only a few days after release!

This experiment might also be a sign of Google trying to broaden the Nexus brand. There have been rumours for a while now about a possible release of multiple Nexus devices from different manufacturers this fall, but there hasn't been any concrete information about it so far. If this project works out Google might just decide to start building Nexus software for multiple phones themselves.

The Xperia S is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 dual-core chipset and has a 4.3" 1280x720 display. It has been available since March this year and is currently priced fairly low for a flagship device. For more information on the Xperia S you can read our very own review!

Source: AOSP project

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18 Comments

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simplezz said,
This is wonderful news. I do hope more manufacturers follow suit and get involved with AOSP.

Except on an Experia S, AOSP will lose a lot of important things, You lose their enhanced sound for example. thought hat can be hacked in, more importantly, you lose Bravia engine which can't be hacked in since it's a kernel function an AOSP and Cyanogen is supposed to be "clean"

HawkMan said,

Except on an Experia S, AOSP will lose a lot of important things, You lose their enhanced sound for example. thought hat can be hacked in, more importantly, you lose Bravia engine which can't be hacked in since it's a kernel function an AOSP and Cyanogen is supposed to be "clean"


Bravia engine and the enhanced sound are both not kernel functions. Briavia Engine is more a system plug-in for the hardware media renderer, and the xLoud only increases the loudness on the speaker slightly. Both aren't really that special.

The main thing you lose is Sony's set of software. If that bothers you is completely personal. I really like Sony's album and Walkman apps, but some people might not.

Ambroos said,

Bravia engine and the enhanced sound are both not kernel functions. Briavia Engine is more a system plug-in for the hardware media renderer, and the xLoud only increases the loudness on the speaker slightly. Both aren't really that special.

The main thing you lose is Sony's set of software. If that bothers you is completely personal. I really like Sony's album and Walkman apps, but some people might not.

According to XDA Bravia engine can't be added to Cyanogen mods since it's requires kernel changes, so it's needs a special cooked kernel, which is not allowed in Cyanogen and thus AOSP. xLoud can be added in by doing some commands and grabbign some sources and stuff.

HawkMan said,
According to XDA Bravia engine can't be added to Cyanogen mods since it's requires kernel changes, so it's needs a special cooked kernel, which is not allowed in Cyanogen and thus AOSP. xLoud can be added in by doing some commands and grabbign some sources and stuff.

Hm. I thought the BE wasn't kernel-related. I vaguely remember seeing some ports of it to other devices, but myeah it's possible. Still, it's not a major loss.

HawkMan said,
According to XDA Bravia engine can't be added to Cyanogen mods since it's requires kernel changes, so it's needs a special cooked kernel, which is not allowed in Cyanogen and thus AOSP. xLoud can be added in by doing some commands and grabbign some sources and stuff.
Not sure who you're asking at XDA, but many devs have added XLoud and the Bravia Engine to many ROMs. Even the tweaked HTC stock GB rom I'm running on my MyTouch 4G Slide has the XLoud, Bravia Engine, and Beats Audio included and they work just fine.

The Xperia S is a fantastic phone but part of it's appeal (to me at least) is the custom software Sony include with it. Turning it into a stock Android "Nexus" device would be a step backwards to be honest.

To be honest, I'd rather they (Google) tried to fix the current mess with the Nexus line then trying to flood it with more devices. That "mess" being the whole, Google updated Nexus and Carrier/Samsung updated one and plus there is technically 2 more devices, being the LTE and CDMA versions as well - there *should* be only one universal model updated by Google.

I've been a very satisfied Sony customer over the last few months. The Xperia S is the best phone I've owned in the last few years. If this turns out to be real, then things will only get better. Sony (and Google) have something good going for them, if all goes well with this project. I for one, can't wait to see this develop.

McKay said,
Im tempted by a Nexus device, but I'm also tempted to sit back and wait for WP8....

The Sony phone is very pretty, but I agree.

Myself, I'm just burned out on Android. Been on it for more than 3 years now and I'm itching for something different. Google's improvements in Jellybean are solid, but in the end the 3rd-party app design style has barely changed since the Eclair days. I'm bored.

Joshie said,

The Sony phone is very pretty, but I agree.

Myself, I'm just burned out on Android. Been on it for more than 3 years now and I'm itching for something different. Google's improvements in Jellybean are solid, but in the end the 3rd-party app design style has barely changed since the Eclair days. I'm bored.

It's been getting much better lately though. Many apps are starting to use the ICS style guidelines, and it's a huge improvement. Take the new Foursquare for example, or Boid (Twitter app). But in general you are right in saying that most apps are stuck with an old design. That's just what happens if you have an evolving platform. iOS was well-designed from the very first version, just like Windows Phone. Android is the only platform that went through quite a few big transformations, and that is always a challenge for developers.

Especially good tablet apps are a problem now, there are virtually none.

McKay said,
Im tempted by a Nexus device, but I'm also tempted to sit back and wait for WP8....

And in three months, you'll be sitting back waiting for WP9 after being disappointed with WP8. It's a common trend with Windows Phone. The next release is always going to be a hit, perfect, etc. That never happens of course.

simplezz said,

And in three months, you'll be sitting back waiting for WP9 after being disappointed with WP8. It's a common trend with Windows Phone. The next release is always going to be a hit, perfect, etc. That never happens of course.

Better than being dissapointed by the unstable Android devices. Common problem on android, on all my old android devices, and still there on my new one. Android will sometimes completely freeze up. usually overnight, happened twice on my new phone in one month now. causing the alarm to now go off. in the 1.5 years of my WP phone which I replaced just to try something new while waiting for WP8 devices from Nokia, NOT ONCE has the phone locked up, if it detects a lock up, the kernel will force a reboot. this is the kind of quality you don't get on android yet.

But hey, having an alarm you can trust isn't important is it...

HawkMan said,

Better than being dissapointed by the unstable Android devices. Common problem on android, on all my old android devices, and still there on my new one. Android will sometimes completely freeze up. usually overnight, happened twice on my new phone in one month now. causing the alarm to now go off. in the 1.5 years of my WP phone which I replaced just to try something new while waiting for WP8 devices from Nokia, NOT ONCE has the phone locked up, if it detects a lock up, the kernel will force a reboot. this is the kind of quality you don't get on android yet.

But hey, having an alarm you can trust isn't important is it...

You sure you never modified it or so? o.0 And what is that phone anyway...