Introduction

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.

Background

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!

Commercial viability

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.

Custom firmware

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.

Thank Google

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.

Cyanogen(mod)

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.

Happy days

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.

This blog

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.

The author

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.

15 responses to “Introduction

  1. Mate I’ve just stumbled upon this blog.

    Basically I have an X10 mini which is probably 18 months old and which I initially loved but learnt to hate.

    As I *could* upgrade on contract but would prefer to save the money I don’t have I did a quick check to see on x10 mini cyanogen progress (last check was almost 18 months ago!) and sure enough, lots of progress.

    I’m a dev and reasonably familier with Android – I’ve written a few games and so on – familier with the general modding process and Android framework but it’s an occasional hobby – so I rooted the device (SuperOneClick) no problem with the aim of installing cyanogen.

    But then I find there are loads of ‘tutorials’ for unlocking the bootloader, all of which involve installing a billion tools, and have mixed emotions from the comentators.

    I also find that officially ‘fastboot’ is used but some use Flashtool and xRecovery crops up but less so now, i.e. most posts around XRecovery are older and it is hard to tell (from a custom rom noob point of view)

    Basically, is there a “SuperOneClick” equivalent of installing cyanogen on an x10 mini?

    Nope.

    But do you know what the closest is to that? Half the links in XDA forums get picked up by AVG virus software and half the links to download xRecovery indicate zero downloads. After googling around I honestly don’t know what is the best way to unlock the bootloader (safely, risk-free) of my x10 mini and install cyanogen.

    I’m tired of the disclaimers (believe me, I appreciate them, understand them and would expect them) but is there anything close to the clean, simple, relevant guide for shoving cyanogen, or any rom to be honest, on an x10 mini without a billion broken links, suspected viruses and discontented monkeys…

    haha

    Discontented my arse. I’m not discontented, this blog was extremely useful, but would really appreciate the silver bullet OR AT LEAST the closest thing we have to one.

    • Hi, thanks for your comments. Yes, these devices are not as straight forward as some and the info out there can be misleading. I need to update the instructions on this blog too as recent changes have made the process easier. I think your frustrations have been added to by the recent closure of megaupload.com where a lot of downloads were hosted. Have you looked at the video tutorials that I added to the site; the route to cm is not so arduous!

      • Thanks mate. I haven’t, and I’m not sure what is ‘current’. Can you let me know what is current?

        Basically after digging around the web it seems the simlest route to cm on an x10 mini is

        1) Root
        2) Install xRecovery
        3) Backup then flash cm

        However I’m stuck on (2).

        Generally people either say (1) download xRecovery.tar (most links refer to 0.1 beta I think) and unzip in the root folder. However the tar seems to contain loads of utilities and commands that I already have within bin/etc/sbin etc. So I’m reluctant to do that.

        Or (2) download the universal xRecovery installer, mount the \ and system partitions with w/r and install. I’ve done this successfully but all that results in is busybox and chargemon (I think) installed correctly but I get xRecovery.tar in sbin. Presumably there is a step missing in the installer but again, I’m reluctaint to simply unzip the tar in ‘\’ because it will overwrite loads of files!

      • Hello xRecovery is out of date and has been superseded by ClockWorkMod Recovery (CWM Recovery). The CyanogenMod for the mini is called MiniCM and the homepage is http://minicm.googlecode.com

        The process is:
        – backup with tools like SMS Backup +, Bookmark sort and backup, APN backup and restore
        1) check that your bootloader can be unlocked with S1 tool (download from here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=19624790&postcount=2)
        2) Turn on USB debugging on the phone (in settings in the applications section)
        3) Use flashtool to root the phone (download from the homepage http://androxyde.github.com/Flashtool/)
        – backup with a root backup app (Titanium backup or MyBackup Root)
        4) Use flashtool to unlock the bootloader
        5) Flash the nAa kernel in flashtool (here’s the XDA discussion thread http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1415026)
        6) Boot into CWM Recovery and flash MiniCM7 (here’s the XDA discussion thread for this too: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1415026)

        The (very boring) videos I have made show me going through this process, I’ll be writing out instructions with screenshots soon. I hope this is helpful! Thanks

  2. Thanks mate, that all looks very promising and reasonably simple.

    One thing I’m confused about is the nAa kernal.

    The thread you linked to lists three requirements

    1) Latest 2.1.1.A.0.6 firmware (check)
    2) Unlocked bootloader (I’ll try that with flashtool)
    3) Latest version of the nAa kernal

    However it then follows with install instructions of the nAa kernal using flashtool.

    So I’m not sure, do I need to download the nAa kernal from somewhere or will flashtool do that for me?

    Also, the other thread states

    “For wifi to work, the ROM MUST have Wifi built from sources as in CM”

    I’m not sure if the latest MiniCM7 ROM will or will not have wifi support! How do I determine that?

    Thanks very much for your quick responses. I want to try this tonight and if all works I’ll give a quick summary!

  3. Hmm, unlocked the bootloader with flashtool no problem. Can’t figure out how to flash kernel – the link just says ‘flash kernel with flashtool’!

    I’ve I select Flash, Fastboot mode, I get stuff like

    24/054/2012 21:54:07 – ERROR – This action can only be done in fastboot mode
    24/054/2012 21:54:11 – ERROR – This action can be done only if the connected phone has fastboot mode

    Not sure where to go from here!

      • Tell you what, it’s made my grubby little x10 mini ultra fast and fun again. The only issue I had was that when importing all my backed up contacts something went ahead and duplicated all the phone numbers – shoving ‘-‘s in the duplicates. No idea why but hey, it’s not a huge deal.

        Ha, also forgot to hit back when the new kernal logo appeared, which got the phone trying to use the Sony animated splash thingy and with the new kernal that all went pearshaped, fortunately a reboot from flashtool and into cwm recovery sorted that out ;)

    • It’s built in with MiniCM7, you can find it in the settings; works great but switches off when the display goes to sleep unless plugged in. Also you can add a toggle to turn it on and off to the power control widget too!

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