The Sony Xperia SP‘s main claim to fame was its notification strip on the bottom of the handset that showed users when a new email or text was received. It would even flash in time to the beat when playing music. A little gimmicky, but hey, it was a bit of fun and helped distinguish the Xperia SP from other budget handsets. After todays announcement from Sony though, it would seem that it’s new claim to fame is to join the growing number of KitKat capable smart phones that have been abandoned by their manufacturers.
The Xperia SP launched with Android version 4.1 Jelly Bean on-board last year, and received the 4.3 Jelly Bean update in February this year. Despite running a Dual-Core Snapdragon that is clocked at 1.7 GHz with 1GB of RAM on multi-tasking duty, after ‘investigation’ Sony have decided that it is unworthy of an update to Android version 4.4 KitKat. This is a bizarre decision, given KitKat’s lightweight nature, and its ability to run on devices with only 512MB of RAM. KitKat was designed to bring Android together, both budget and flagship devices, but manufacturers such as Sony with the SP, and Samsung with the now marooned Galaxy S3 are using it as an excuse to pull the plug on support.
It’s particularly disheartening to learn of Sony’s decision when you consider that the Xperia SP was only announced in June of last year. Is it wrong to expect more than 15 months of support for a device you’ve probably bought on a 2 tear service plan? And how does Sony expect decisions like this to foster brand loyalty? Chances are that disappointed Xperia SP owners will vote with their feet and march on to a different brand for their next smart phone purchase.
For the adventurous Xperia SP owner, this shouldn’t mean the end of the world though. By rooting your device, and installing third-party software such as CM11 from CyanogenMod, you can experience the goodness of KitKat. It’s not an option for everyone though, and indeed, why should you have to flash a custom Rom to update your phone to a version of Android that was launched less than 6 months after your phone launched?
If you own an Xperia SP, what do you think about Sony dropping support for your phone? Let us know your thoughts on this travesty in the comments below or at our Google Plus page.