Archive | April 2011

Bloody Android bloody Bluetooth AGAIN!

So, after an afternoon playing with the MW600, I’m starting to get a little disgruntled with Android again.

When Mrs The Hurf got her X10mini last year it was on 1.6. The problems with Bluetooth were painfully apparent in any Android release pre-2.1 in that Bluetooth didn’t really work that well at all, which, if I’m honest is incredibly annoying. And then some. How can you justify building an operating system for a phone that up until Christmas 2009 (or October 2010 – thanks SE) didn’t have properly functioning Bluetooth? It’s just ludicrous.

The madness continues with Android and the MW600, as while the Arc is perfectly happy sending audio to the device it’s not happy sending ID3 tags for music. So, one of the major selling points for the MW600 – the really fancy OLED screen – is rendered practically useless thanks to more limitations of the system. Poor old SE, they do their best to bring some really fancy gear to the market, but they really don’t get a break do they!?!

UPDATE:
Posts 22 and 24 on this post repeat the same as before – Android currently doesn’t support the particular form of Bluetooth required to get things like ID3 tags and even caller names to send to the MW600.

Advertisements

Radio

About three weeks ago I entered the Xperia competitions on the Sony Ericsson UK website. To my surprise I was lucky enough to win a MW600 Bluetooth headset. I received it in the post today, and very nice it is too!

Upon closer inspection I can see the unit itself – not much bigger than a lipstick – not only bounces my calls and other audio via Bluetooth but it also contains a very reasonable FM radio reciever. On a unit so tiny that really is impressive, although one can’t help but wonder the following…

…The Arc has a much slimmer handset yet has managed to cram an FM radio in. The X10mini is smaller than a credit card yet packs an FM radio. If those two handsets had it, how come it’s missing from the X10a/i/HD? Perhaps that’s why in some markets the X10 was shipped with a MW600 to counter the missing radio hardware on the phone itself?

It’s not the end of the world, just my musings!

Bootloader

Unlocking the bootloader on the Xperia range of phones is a debate that has raged on for months between users and SE:

Android is supposed to be an open-system – Users
We cannot open the bootloader due to legal issues with our partners – SE.

Of course there are countless other issues too, namely that hordes of people would’ve opened the bootloader on their phone and wandered off to use different versions of Android. Or – worst case scenario – bricked their phone, and gone bleating to SE for a new one or a repair.

Thanks to the dedicated work of the geniuses over at XDA, there have been ways and means for people to load custom ROM onto their phone. Held back only by the custom kernel (courtesy of the locked bootloader) they’ve been providing us with alternate versions of Android for months and months. And jolly fine work it is too.

However, all that changed waaaaaaaaaay back in March when SE announced they were going to open the bootloader for their 2011 range of phones. Of course it wasn’t all wine and roses/beer and pizza for the X10 series as “we cannot allow the boot loader to be unlocked due to technical and legal reasons.”

That said, it still sent a clear message to the developers that “demonstrates that Sony Ericsson is listening to and working with the open developer world.” A massive step in the right direction, let down only by there being relatively few 2.3 custom ROMs currently available for personal use. Damn!

Anyhoo, true to their word SE’s bootloader page went live on the 13th of April. Cue all sorts of happenings on blogs – Xperiablog were particularly vocal. It’s nice to see though when reading through the comments on the above-linked post that people are starting to forgive SE for past mistakes with Android. You can see evidence of the same shift in opinion if you sift through the 90-odd comments on the SE developer blog page.

I have unlocked the bootloader in anticipation of a root solution – there’s some things one needs on a phone and AdBlocker is one of those. Plus there’s a few other bits and pieces I use that require root access.

The actual process is spelled out for you by SE although it does help if your PC responds to your commands. I had problems installing the required drivers thanks to some dodgy codes and the above-mentioned ill-behaving PC, but once that was done it was relatively straightforward if you know what you’re doing. Thanks to Alan on the Test Lab for his help with those darn drivers!

With the bootloader unlocked there’s really not a lot you can do but wait for custom ROMs to become available, FlashTool can install new firmware (if/when when it comes out) but still can’t root the device, but it’s still a really important move by SE to make it available to those who want it. Really important.

Gravity….

….dealt a cruel blow to a fellow member of the Test Lab over the weekend:

http://justnoel.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/wtf-nightmare-start-sony-ericsson-play/

Video lag

It’s interesting that this post mentions lag from the hardware video decoder.

Perhaps the problems with the 720p video lag on the Arc are related to Gingerbread itself?

The plot thickens….

720p AV sync update

The rest of the world finally catches up to Test Lab:
http://www.xperiablog.net/2011/04/18/xperia-arc-suffers-audio-sync-freezing-issues-when-video-recording-in-hd/

http://talk.sonyericsson.com/message/66918;jsessionid=CCCACD11C412A29E2FF69E62F8B09FAA.node0#66918

There are 9 people on the Test Lab team with an Arc and I think they’ve all got the same issues as I was experiencing, what’s strange is that the issue wasn’t present on the X10HD. Anyhoo, hopefully there will at least be some sort of developer post about this soon, followed by a firmware release to fix the problem.

In the meantime, it should be possible to take non-HD video and not experience any sync issues. And the standard still-image bit of the camera still takes the most fabulous photos!

SD Card

More delays, this time due to wedding preparations!

We in the Sony Ericsson Test Lab have spent most of the week dissecting and examing our phones. Many  issues and problems have come to light, which are being flagged accordingly internally, but something has come up with regards to Xperia Play games taking up system ROM space on the Xperia Play.

One of my colleagues has noticed their phone is full to the brim after only two weeks of use. For example, Asphalt 6 needs to download 200+ MB; admittedly the game itself is stored on the SD card but, there’s still a 30MB file on the phone memory. Throw in a couple more games, less apps than were on their X10HD and apparently they keep getting the low/out of memory notification to the point where they can’t install anymore apps on the phone.

From a most basic point of view, if you can’t shift something like that around – it’s either use it as a phone or as a gaming device, but not both? A bit strange when when it IS actually meant to do both?

Hopefully this is something that can be fixed with a future update to the phones, but there may have to be updates to the games themselves in order for App2SD to work with the software?