Sony launches second open source Android project, this time for its Xperia Z smartphone

Sony launches second open source Android project, this time for its Xperia Z smartphone

Last year Sony launched an open source project to allow developers to tinker with the Xperia S and now, nearly six months later, it has introduced a similar AOSP (Android Open Source Project) for its new, water-resistant Xperia Z smartphone.

The Xperia Z project is being overseen by Johan Redestig and Björn Andersson, the two engineers that ran the initial project. Since last year’s AOSP was moved to the Sony GitHub, that’s where the Xperia Z open source efforts are based out of.

“It’s part of our ongoing commitment to support and collaborate with the Android community – the Sony software code will be open for external developers to work with and contribute to,” the company explains in a blog post.

There are some limitations however. The software is not for everyday use — and is therefore devoid of some standard applications and services — but Sony is providing binaries that will give developers the drivers that are necessary for chipsets; though there are limitations around how they can be used, in accordance with Qualcomm’s license.

For now, most of the device is accessible (SD-card, GPS, LED, sensors and WiFi) but the modem and camera are off limits, initially at least, since Sony is not able to release the proprietary binaries that are required for them. There is a slight suggestion that this could change in the future — Sony says “we cannot publish [them] at this time” — but that would likely require negotiation and the outcome is far from certain.

What will be released in the not-too-distant future are source codes and binaries for NFC, which Sony says will replace the binaries that it has initially provided through its Developer World site. That will unlock more opportunities for developers to go beyond the customized Android build that Sony uses for the Xperia Z.

The company is encouraging developers to get involved and contribute to the open source community, and the project is likely to benefit and advance the Android developer community as well as Sony’s own crowd.

Those that are interested can find full details and links at Sony Developer World.

Headline image via David Becker / Getty Images

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