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:


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


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 The videos use SpyderX’s Bootloader and kernel guide but the S1 Tool in the guide is outdated; a more recent version can be downloaded from here: S1 tool download.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.

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!).

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.