Sony is just the best. Ok, that statement is a little too broad, but when it comes to Sony’s Android devices, I’m totally okay with admitting that I’m a fan boy. The Xperia Z3 is one of the best Android smartphones that isn’t readily available in the U.S. yet. The Z3 Compact is right behind it. Sony is also good about working with Google and developers. They make it relatively easy to get vanilla Android running on their Xperia devices, through their AOSP for Xperia project. It’s not quite the same as the Google Play Edition line, but it’s the next best thing for those of us who like stock Android and want it on our Sony devices.
Sony announced that they are adding the Xperia Z1, the Xperia Z2, and the Xperia M2 to the AOSP for Xperia project. That doesn’t mean that they are releasing AOSP builds for these devices. It does mean that they are officially providing device configurations and kernels for developers that want to build AOSP ROMs for these phones. This also makes it easier for devs to build custom skins on AOSP and run it on their Sony phones. Pretty cool, right?
It is cool, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. The device configurations in the AOSP for Xperia project are merely shells. The software has bugs and some major elements don’t work. The cameras don’t work and more importantly the voice calling doesn’t work either. This is really just the foundation that developers can use to build a working AOSP ROM for one of these Xperia devices.
Sony did a couple other things here as well. They updated the AOSP source for the Xperia Z, which was already in the AOSP for Xperia project. They also unified the kernels for these new devices, making it even easier to build AOSP versions of Android for all of them at once. Good on you, Sony, for playing nice with developers.