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!).

Video tutorials added


I get a lot of requests for video demonstrations.  I’ve recorded some and added them to the Getting Started section, in the video tutorials I cover:

  • Restoring with SEUS and PC Companion,
  • Unlocking the bootloader with Flashtool,
  • Locking the bootloader with the S1 Tool,
  • Flashing a custom kernel with Flashtool, and
  • Flashing custom firmware with CWM recovery.

I own no decent recording equipment (ironically the best device I own for this is my X10 Mini Pro but I can’t use it to record itself…) so the quality is low but hopefully some people will find these useful.

This is all done on my X10 Mini Pro so relevant to all the msm7x27 devices (aka the 2010 mini Xperias).

Site update, feedback welcome


Good afternoon

I’ve been making some behind the scene changes and have just started to push these out to the site.

Site appearance

In advance of the new site logo which will be revealed soon I’ve changed the site theme to Piano Black, as anyone who has a WordPress.com blog will know you can only use the provided themes and, from the options available, felt this was clearer, in keeping with the original look and, well, quite nice in general.

Changes to the site pages

I spent a long time reading through all of the pages on the site and realised that it was time for a bit of a rethink.  I didn’t want to loose any of the users comments or content written by Divr or The Spak so have simply moved all of the pages to a new section called Archived Pages.

I’ve also published the first major new page to the site; it’s just a site introduction.  Hopefully it will give new readers a place to start and is also interesting to read.  If anyone notices any errors or omissions please let me know via the comments, help from everyone to make this site useful for all is much appreciated!

New guidance on the road to custom firmware will be added and updated regularly but I’m aiming for quality not quantity!

Updates

As you may have seen I now run a weekly news round up for each device, in this I’m providing a simple one line description of each firmware (or kernel etc.) to help people choose the right one for them.  You’ll be happy to know that I also read the news regularly and will send out additional updates as they come but I am not going to simply repost the content from the XDA forums.

Please let me know what you think, thanks!

Changes to updates


Hi everyone.  I’ve just done a batch of updates for the X10 mini pro, updates for x8 and x10 mini will follow. I’ve decided not to repost  just any new version from the XDA forums for two reasons:

  1. Re-listing the text directly from the thread doesn’t help anyone, you may as well just read the forum directly, I want to give readers of the blog a quick summary of the firmware to help you choose the right one for you.
  2. There are a growing number of firmwares for our devices, a lot of these are just mods of the others. If all goes well I’d like to expand this blog to the include new mini SE devices and other mini devices out and coming out and it wouldn’t be manageable like it is.

Action stations


Now that I’ve taken over as administrator of this blog I though I’d let you all know my plans.  As I want to re-jig a number of elements there will probably be a little delay in posts while I get it all ready so don’t think nothings happening.

To start with I was a little concerned with audience fragmentation: what I mean by this is that there are three core audiences:

  1. Blog followers who subscribe by email or regularly read the site
  2. FaceBook fans who follow the FaceBook page
  3. Twitter users

Ideally any blog should get all it’s readers visiting the site.  To do this I’ve changes the FaceBook page to import the blog entries from the site’s RSS feed and am using twitterfeed.com to push out tweets from the posts directly.  This should speed up the admin of the site so I don’t need to manually post to the different audiences.

The next steps are:

  • Work on the site look and feel
  • Create a new site logo
  • Update the sites pages
  • Refine the RSS feed and email subscriptions
  • Consider ways to make the blog more collaborative with Xperia mini users

A bit about me

I’m really happy to have been able to take over this blog.  I live in the UK and have been using an Android phone since the launch of the G1.  I own an X10 Mini Pro and have been following this blog since it started.  I’ve worked in ICT and Design for over 12 years in London and now live in Somerset.  I’d be interested in hearing from the readers of the blog and what you want from it so please get in touch.