MiniCM9 Matures


This weekend I had the pleasure of testing a new build of MiniCM9 for the developer nobodyAtall on my X10 Mini Pro.  I’d already been using the first release of MiniCM9 (3.0.1) but decided it wasn’t there yet to use as my daily driver; I even worried if the 2010 devices were just too old for ICS so reverted to MiniCM7 (which is rock solid and fast).

I was really surprised when flashing 3.0.2; The speed and responsiveness of it struck me straight away.  I used it quite heavily and had no noticeable lag and even after installing a number of apps didn’t notice any slow down.  Pretty impressive for 3 year old hardware.

I’ve now got a Class 10 SD card so partitioned it to have 256Mb swap and 512Mb for apps2sd and then ran the a2sd install script from terminal.  There are, as there always is on the ldpi screens of the  x10 mini/mini pro, times when things don’t fit quite right but ICS wasn’t designed for ldpi at all so a real achievement by nobodyAtall.

The XDA threads for the X8, X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro are as follows, respectively;

MiniCM9 XDA links


The links to the XDA discussion threads for each device are as follows:

X8

nAa-ics-02 – The nAa kernel required for ICS

MiniCM9-3.0.1 - MiniCM9

X10 Mini

nAa-ics-02 - The nAa kernel required for ICS

MiniCM9-3.0.1 - MiniCM9

X10 Mini Pro

nAa-ics-02 - The nAa kernel required for ICS

MiniCM9-3.0.1 - MiniCM9

Installation

The installation is the same as MiniCM7:

  • Unlock the bootloader
  • Install the kernel
  • Flash MiniCM

You can find demo videos unlocking the bootloader and flashing in the video tutorials section. The videos use SpyderX’s Bootloader and kernel guide but the S1 Tool in the guide is outdated; a more recent version can be downloaded from here: S1 tool download.  You’ll need Flash tool which you can get from the Flashtool homepage.

 I can’t try it out yet as am waiting for my internet connection to be able to download all the files and tools.  Once I’m up and running I’ll do some comparisons with AOKP and post some videos.

April Showers


As I still don’t have a decent interent connection at home I’ve not been able to post during the month so here’s a collection of news items from the month.

It’s no Joke!

At the start of the month there was a post over on the CyanogenMod Blog announcing a new mascot, Cid.  I didn’t post about it as I was convinced it was an April Fools prank and am still waiting for the ‘fooled you!’ follow up post; Yes, you can tell I’m not a fan of the new mascot but to be honest I’m not a fan of Andy the bugdroid either.  Perhaps I’ll come to like it…

2011 Xperia official ICS updates

It’s taken taking longer than was originally announced but Sony are pushing out the official ICS update to the 2011 Xperia range of devices.  It all started near the middle of the month with releases in Nordic countries.  The Mini/Mini/Pro/Active updates are expected from late May and into June.  Over on Xperia Blog you can read some first impressions of the ICS update on an Arc S and already there are guides out there to get root access on the ICS firmware.  The last word on the Sony Mobile Blog doesn’t really tell us anything new..

Xperia Active’s successor

If you’re a fan of the Active (I certainly am and would love to get one if it were available on contract in the UK) then you’ll be interested in the rumoured ST27.  Predictably the screen size had grown but only to 3.5″ so hopefully bucking the huge screen trend!  Again, more details over on Xperia Blog.

Sony ST21i ‘Tapioca’

It seems that Sony have throw all their sleek designs out of the window and gone for a budget phone with a budget look as the pictures of the chunky ST21i/Tapioca have recently leaked.  With a 3.2″ display it’s a pretty small device although there’s quite a bit of bulk added to the phone with a large bezel.  It will be launching with ICS and the specs, while modest, aren’t too shabby!

Other news

Retro gaming fans might be looking forward to a slew of Prince of Persia (PoP) variants as the source code for the original PoP on the AppleII has been recovered and released.

For those with no shame or sense you can now pick up an Android Hoodie over on the Google store, I’d be more than happy to post pictures of anyone brave enough to buy one and wear it in public!

It’s the last day of April, in the UK it’s been really wet with heavy rain to get us to the end of the month, I hope the weather’s been better wherever you are!

The Suffering!


It’s been a long time but, for now I’m forced to use my X10 Mini Pro on the stock SE firmware…. Man it sucks!!!

It’s quite common that I hear from people who are fearful of moving from the stock firmware; they usually say something like “I want a flawless bug free experience” I don’t think they realise how ropey the stock firmware is; also it’s got bugs too!  The other thing that noo-b owners want to do is to emulate the original Xperia experience; I can tell you that in every area stock Android beats let alone when you start comparing CM awesomeness.

Being back on stock has made me realise how much of a mess Sony Ericsson made of Eclair; a lot of people make out that the original Android 2.1 itself was no good but anyone who’s actually tried AOSP Eclair will know it was class.  Why they felt the need to change break stock features and replace with inferior versions I don’t know; what where they thinking!

In case you’re wondering why it went like this:
My USB socket on my phone started playing up, it took me ages to get it sorted by T-Mobile as it went to the repair centre twice before they replaced the handset.  Unfortunately I got the replacement the day after I cancelled my home internet connection and I’m in broadband limbo so won’t be properly online now until May. Basically I can’t download the files needed (flashtool 100Mb+, MiniCM 88Mb) to get my Pro back in order. Oh well, it will make me appreciate running custom firmware even more when I’m back up again!

The State of All Things Mini(Android)


If a large phone isn’t your thing then recently there’s not been much going on as far as new android tech goes.

Now, what constitues a small phone is somewhat subjective, i.e. for some people a 3.5 inch screen is tiny, and something I’ve pondered over in the past when considering what to cover on this blog so decided to ignore anything over the 3 inch display size.  Well after months of watching (and waiting for Sony Ericsson to announce a continuation of the mini series) there has only been one phone of note, the Galaxy Pocket by Samsung; a low end device more in line with the specs of the original 2010 SE kit.  Hardly inspiring…

To be fair this is reflected in many of the surveys out there; most people are after a device just short of tablet proportions.

Obviously this leaves the mini Android phone space that the Xperia devices occupy open; not to forget that the 2011 devices, (the mini, mini pro and active), are pretty decent bits of kit and, in the UK at least, can be found with decent contract deals.

Custom firmware updates

Due to a number of reasons there haven’t been updates to the blog for a while which gave me an opportunity to look at the stats and rethink things.  There’s been a lot going on with lots of ICS/Android 4 builds for all devices; just to remind anyone the devices (with links to the XDA forums) include:

2010 devices

At the moment the scene for the 2010 devices is much like it was in the early Froyo and Gingerbread days; there lots of different builds of Ice Cream Sandwich with a number of bugs but running pretty well.  For a lot of seasoned users the ICS ports are fine for use but for those looking for a seamless experience and fully functioning hardware it’s not for them; yet!

The most accomplished release is MiniCM9 for the X8 by NobodyAtAll, the most notable missing functionality is the camera.  It’s now only a matter of time for nAa to bring his work across to the LDPI X10 Mini/Pro.

Lots of other builds are out too, helped by a lot of work by paul-xxx of both ports of ICS/CM9 and guides to get others building ICS from source.

2011 devices

After a slow start the scene is now really active; a combination of builds based on modified Sony stock firmware, the FreeXperia builds of CM7/CM9 and AOSP (or AOKP if you like) are available.  Of course the official Sony ICS firmware is around the corner.

Future updates

I’ll be following up with some firmware roundups soon and working on adding to and updating the pages on the site.  I’m waiting for my X10 Mini Pro to get repaired as it’s not charging properly; very strange, it’s stopped taking a charge from lower amp USB sockets so am just waiting for T-Mobile UK to get their act together (it’s been weeks already!).

Sony Mobile releases Ice Cream Sandwich beta for 2011 Xperia devices – unlocked bootloader required.


http://developer.sonymobile.com/wp/2012/02/23/android-ice-cream-sandwich-beta-rom-available-for-unlocked-2011-xperia-smartphone-models/

So I’ve a 2010 device, anyone with one of these 2011 devices tried it yet?

Apps2SD and SWAP explained


I just answered someone’s question about partitioning their SD card over on the XDA forums and thought it would be a good post to put on the blog.  Those running MiniCM-2.1.9 may already be using the new Apps2SD scripts or thinking about it so hope this is helpful!

Swap is a way of increasing available memory so you can run more at once but you shouldn’t use it unless you have a fast SD card (it should have class 4 or 6 on it); it does work with class 2 cards but performance can be poor.

Using Apps2SD you can store your apps on an ext partition of your SD card, this is similar but different to the native android way of moving apps to SD. I’ll elaborate:
The native way of moving an app to SD leaves a bit of the app in memory and the remainder gets put on the FAT partition of the SD card. There are two downsides: 1; space is still taken up in the devices internal memory, 2; the app is not available until the end of the boot process which means that anything that needs to run at boot doesn’t and you can’t use the apps widgets.
Apps2SD in MiniCM uses bind hosting to move the entire apps directory to the EXT partition of the SD card, this has some advantages: you can still use widgets and items can load at startup, you can also create a really big partition and install loads of apps. The disadvantage is that, unless there’s a way I don’t know of, you can’t use the space on your phone any more; you can’t move some apps to SD and leave some on the device. Again a slow SD card can lead to very poor performance; especially when you have a number of apps running at once.

I won’t go into the caches and other things, I’ll save that for another day, but I hope this has helped a bit!

When I get around to writing some instructions in the getting started section I’ll go into more details but for now if anyone has any questions I’d be happy to help.

February 2012 update


I usually go through the updates in the order of my bookmarks for news so this time, just to be fair to those who usually come last I’ll go in reverse ;)

2011 Mini, Mini Pro and Active news

Tools and guides

How to root ALL Roms (mini, mini pro… etc) [unlocked bootloader required]

Xperia 2011 Easy Rooting Toolkit [v4.0](zergRush Exploit)

5.0.2.7-nAa-r2 ClockworkMod for Stock Xperia Mini/Pro/Active/Arc - ClockworkMod recovery now made easier with Auto Installer

Flashtool version 0.6.7.0 - Flashtool by Androxyde gets an update with Fastboot toolbox for 2011 line devices and bootloader unlock for X10 Mini/Pro and X8

Custom firmware

CM9.0 – FXP105 – FreeXperia Project - CyanogenMod 9 for the Mini/Mini Pro/Active/Live

CM7.2.0 – FXP105 – FreeXperia Project - CyanogenMod 9 for the Mini/Mini Pro/Active/Live

Lewa OS (Based on FXP 104 CM 7.2) - a port of http://www.lewaos.com/ for the mini pro

AOSP ICS Android 4.0.3 Alpha v2 - The ICS AOSP port by the W!ckeD Team (kamarush & expeacer) for the Mini and Mini Pro reaches Alpha V2 with the camera as the only remaining core functionality to fix

There are a lot of releases which are modded stock firmware, if this is your thing then take a look at the XDA forum as I can’t report on them all…

Kernels

X kernel 2.6.32.54 ZRAM - for the Mini/MiniPro/Live/Active based on  DoomKernel by DooMLoRD

Rage Kernel v2.3 - based on SE sources with additions from DoomKernel

KRsH Kernel v3.0 (MiniPro)

KRsH Kernel v3.0 (Mini)

2010 X10 Mini Pro news

Tools

Flashtool version 0.6.7.0 - Flashtool by Androxyde gets an update

Custom firmware

MiniCM7-2.1.8 - The unofficial CM7.2 get some nice new features including ICS transitions in this update and new kgsl drivers

GingerDX pro v21b - Minor fixes for Eyama’s port of Ginger DX by doixanh

Kernels

nAa-10 - the kernel by nobodyAtall for the X10 Mini Pro

Dev releases (i.e. not for daily use)

CM9 ICS 4.0.3 – Beta3 - paul-xxx’s CM9 port

Guides

Bootloader and kernel guide | X8 | W8 | X10 mini | X10 mini pro| - SpyderX’s definitive bootloader and kernel guide

ClockWorkMod Installer – Windows v4, Linux v4 - for Windows users it’s all self contained in the zip file, Linux users need to root first; there are links to the Linux Rooter in the thread.

2010 X10 Mini news

Tools

Flashtool version 0.6.7.0 - Flashtool by Androxyde

Custom firmware

MiniCM7-2.1.8 - The unofficial CM7.2 get some nice new features including ICS transitions in this update and new kgsl drivers

GingerDX pro v21b - Minor fixes for Stelios97’s port of Ginger DX by doixanh

Kernels

nAa-10 - the kernel by nobodyAtall for the X10 Mini

Dev releases (i.e. not for daily use)

CM9 ICS 4.0.3 – Beta3 - paul-xxx’s CM9 port

Guides

Bootloader and kernel guide | X8 | W8 | X10 mini | X10 mini pro| - SpyderX’s definitive bootloader and kernel guide

2010 X8 news

Tools

Flashtool version 0.6.7.0 - Flashtool by Androxyde

Custom firmware

As always there are a ridiculous number of releases for the X8;

GingerXperia V24b - with this release it seems development is stopped for now.

MiniCM7-2.1.8 - The unofficial CM7.2 get some nice new features including ICS transitions in this update and new kgsl drivers

GingerXperiaRay_V004 for nAa - MiniCM with an ICS look and feel.

GingerDX | v022 - a minor update for GingerDX

FroyoPro - MiniCM6 with Gingerbread features.

AtiCMv3 for nAa kernel - a stylised release based on MiniCM.

LinuXperia Penguin Edition) - lots of tux

AtiFroyo v5.2 - a stylised release with ICS and Xperia themes.

FROYO 2.2 Update 3 - based on CM6/HackDROID FLOYO

SHINdroid_v5 – from Indonesia FB

CM7.2 GINGERBREAD V3 (alfs kernel) - a port of MiniCM7 for alfs kernel

Stornmix V2.3.0 - lots of miui apps in this release

XPERIADROIDX - anyone used this, details thin on the ground…

Kernels

nAa-10 - the kernel by nobodyAtall for the X10 Mini

Dev releases (i.e. not for daily use)

CM9 ICS 4.0.3 – Beta3 - paul-xxx’s AOSP port for the X8

ICS For Stock Kernel – An ICS port for the stock kernel.

Guides

Bootloader and kernel guide | X8 | W8 | X10 mini | X10 mini pro| – SpyderX’s definitive bootloader and kernel guide

Rooting from stock (2.1)

ClockworkMod Recovery 4.0.1.5

How To Unbrick Xperia X8 | Kernels | Tweaks | ROM | Extra