Welcome to minicyanogen(mod), a blog about mini android phones.
At the time of writing the Sony Ericsson Xperia x10 mini, x10 mini pro and x8 are covered; soon, as the development scene develops, the Xperia mini and Xperia mini pro will be included.
I’ll post weekly round ups of news on custom firmware (or aftermarket firmware if you prefer) to keep the followers up to date and hope it will be useful and interesting.
Your Sony Ericsson Eclair must have gone stale by now; it’s time to taste some fresh Froyo and Gingerbread.
Just in case you didn’t know Sony Ericsson messed up with their first round of Android handsets; the Xperia X10 and X8 line. I don’t know the full details but early on in the product development they made decisions that took their handsets off Google’s safe development path and heavily developed features and re-developed some areas replacing default android functionality. This meant that with each OS update they would have to commit significant development resources despite diminished revenue from the handsets that, by then, would not be top sellers.
By the time the Xperia X10 handsets were released Android 2.2 (Froyo, Google use desserts to name their releases) was already available yet the Sony Xperia range were launched running the already dated Android 1.6… boo Sony Ericsson!
So SE found themselves in a bit of a pickle, it took them months and months to update the handsets to version 2.1 of Android (also know as Eclair) by which time version 2.3 was already out (Gingerbread). Initially they announced that the X10 and X8 handsets would not be updated any further although they did release a minor update to enable ANT+ for the minis and X8. Due to the larger user base they finally gave in to pressure and updated the X10 to Gingerbread but not the rest of the range; it simply isn’t commercially viable.
For many users the stock 2.1 firmware may be enough, and quite possibly don’t even realise that they’ve been short changed by Sony Ericsson, but with a growing number of apps that are not available and the slower performance of 2.1 in comparison to 2.2 and 2.3 there are a great many X10 mini, mini pro and X8 owners who expected more from Sony Ericsson and their handset.
One of the greatest things, if not the greatest, about Android is that it is Open Source. Without going into detail what this means for us is that Google are very open with the operating system, unlike Apple’s iOS or Windows Phone Android is not proprietary it is developed by the Open Handset Alliance which is led by Google.
Fortunately as a result, combined with a technique called ‘rooting’, there is a very active development scene for unofficial or modified firmware for many android handsets including those of interest to this blog. Custom firmware, aftermarket firmware and custom ROMs are all different names for alternative operating system software to the official Sony Ericsson software, personally I feel that ROM is a little bit of a misnomer but is probably the most commonly used term.
Possibly the biggest and widely used ‘aftermarket firmware’ based on Android is Cyanogen(mod) and to which this blog gains it’s name. At present most of the customised firmware for our devices is based on the Cyanogen(mod) releases, at the time of writing Sony Ericsson phones have only just been added to the officially supported devices by the core Cyanogen(mod) project however the MiniCM project is gaining pace and with recent developments, such as gaining access to the bootloader followed by the announcement that Sony Ericsson are now supporting the FreeXperia project to bring Cyanogen(mod) to the Xperia handsets, we can all hope that our devices listed on the Cyanogen(mod) devices page we’ll enjoy the official Cyanogen(mod) firmware!
And there’s more
It doesn’t stop with Cyanogen(mod), although another major aftermarket firmware MIUI is not available for mini devices, there are great number of customised versions of firmware to try out.
Due to the Open Source nature of Android and goodwill among the development scene we can now choose from a great variety, there are nearly new firmware release s(or at least a major updates to existing releases) every day over on the XDA developers forums. Through this blog you can find weekly round ups of this news, in the updates you’ll find a simple one line description of the releases to help you choose which one is right for your phone.
Those who have taken the plunge and are already running custom firmware on their phone will have found that it has breathed a new lease of life into their device. Unfortunately, for me, this causes a small amount of anger towards Sony Ericsson as the handsets they’ve created work so well and by treating their users like this they are unlikely to keep them as future customers. The good thing is, apart from me being a happy man, that I’m enjoying following the development scene and having fun with my phone.
As mentioned above the posts on the blog will cover the news from the development scene but it will also contain pages, like this, that provide information and resources to help while, I hope, provide interesting reading.
This blog has had two previous administrators; the original creator, DIVR, and his successor The Spak. Both have moved on to devices new and I’ve taken over.
I live in the UK and have been using an Android phone since the launch of the G1/Dream. I own an X10 Mini Pro and have been following this blog since it started. I’m on a contract with my X10 Mini Pro for quite some time and am quite likely to upgrade to the newer Xperia Mini Pro or similar so this blog will remain relevant to me and my phone use.
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.