If you’ve hung around this site a while, you may have seen us report on Xperia Overlay before. They specialize in porting newer software from the Xperia Z series to older Xperia phones, mainly 2011 and 2012 models. If your phone has hung around for a while as well and happens to be an Xperia of some sort, you may have a reason to rejoice. The Xperia Overlay crew is at it again, this time bringing Lollipop to a good crop of Xperia devices, both ported from the Xperia Z line and Cyanogenmod-based.
The newest update, version 3.1 based on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, hits the Sony Xperia S, SL, Acro S, and Ion. The Ion will also be getting a stable Cyanogenmod 12 build courtesy of some fixes issued by the Xperia Overlay team. A longer list of devices will be getting the update next month, including the Xperia SP, P, U, Sola, T, TL, TX, V, M and L. A stable of older devices will be getting version 2.1 with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, including the Sony Xperia Arc, Arc S, Neo, Neo V, Neo L, Pro, Ray and the well-loved Sony Xperia Play.
The updates will bring not only the latest Xperia features and Android versions, but tons of under the hood fixes. Optimized CPU and GPU management are on board to help with speed and allow users to play newer games. Super Stamina Mode and Ultra Stamina mode also make an appearance, helping to ensure those older batteries don’t give out on you when you need to make that important phone call. Sony’s proprietary Clear Audio tech blasts its way into older Xperia owners’ headphones as well, providing clearer, louder and higher-quality sound input and output, leagues ahead of the stock Android versions for the discontinued devices. The crop of supported devices also get to experience the joys of DLNA and Miracast, provided their hardware is compatible. Of course, these wouldn’t be true Sony firmware backports without Playstation compatibility, allowing you to play Playstation Certified titles and buy from PSN. PS4 Remote Play is not specifically mentioned, but there are ports of the excellent software out there that supposedly work on any phone, so if you have a PS4 lying around, it’s certainly worth a shot.
The newer software will likely continue to support these aging devices for a while, albeit a bit behind. With Android 5.1.1 Lollipop being made old news by the fledgling Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Android 4.4.4 KitKat and 5.0.2 Lollipop seem a bit ancient by comparison, but they are still plenty usable and leagues better than what the poor old phones had when Sony cut their support.