I have a lot on my mind today….
It may seem at times I’m putting the boot in a lot with Sony Ericsson and their parent company. I must admit it’s not really my intention to give them a good kicking but, well, these things just keep presenting themselves to me! Fairly spectacular catalogues of errors, mishaps and cruel twists of fate have befallen the beleaguered company recently, leaving its dwindling fan base wondering what’s coming next:
Saw the introduction of the Sony Ericsson Arc and ON THE SAME DAY the announcement that the X10 series of phones, not 9 months old, wasn’t going to receive any support past Android 2.1. Cue a backlash so severe it completely dwarfed the news about their latest shiny-shiny and raged on for weeks and weeks. At their own admission, this was a stupid mistake to make. More to follow on this below.
In response to this, SE issued a software update that incorporated Dual-Touch as the X10 was unable to cope with Multi Touch. This limped out at the end of the month to most carriers, although I believe some people are still waiting for it, thanks to the lengthy time it takes carriers to approve these things.
Saw the R.0.435 FW update bugger up the Blu-ray players it was designed to upgrade, presenting users with another reason to moan at Sony. I contacted the Sony Facebook page with my issue and was told to return the unit to the seller! No apology was forthcoming, and quite why I’d return the unit to get the same unit back and be subjected to the same update is beyond me. To compound matters, despite the worldwide furore over this, there’s still no FW update to fix the problems.
Saw Sony Ericsson do a complete U-turn on Android upgrades for the X10 handsets, but only the X10i/a models, nothing else. Cue more upset. To counter this, SE announced they would be opening the bootloader for the latest models, the Arc and the Play, for developers and phone hackers alike, but it came with a catch – it wouldn’t be available on the X10i/a handsets, which is what started the bootloader argument in the first place. Unlocking the bootloader came with an even bigger sting in its tail, which we’ll come to shortly.
This month also saw the terrible tsunami in Japan do unspeakable damage to its people, resources and infrastructure which have caused delays in supplies of components which have knocked on to delays in releasing phones like the Neo.
Saw the release of the Arc and Play to reasonable fanfare for the Play and almost universal approval for the Arc. However cracks soon appeared in the Arc’s sexy façade when it was discovered the HD video recording on the Arc (and the SD video recording on the Play, as it turned out) was practically useless: Thanks to a problem with the way the video and audio are buffered on the phone, the audio goes out of sync with the video after just a few seconds.
Rumours abound that 2.3.3 was coming to the handsets as well, bringing some performance updates and an in-depth Facebook interaction to the handset called Facebook Inside Xperia. More on 2.3.3 below…
The bootloader was unlocked during the middle of April too, once again to almost universal fanfare, this time from the developing community. However the powers that be neglected to mention (or simply didn’t know) once you ‘officially’ unlocked the bootloader you would lose the ability to receive official updates for your phone through SEUS – this despite assurances from SEUK that you WOULD be able to do. Thank goodness then for the wonderful work being done by the geniuses who populate the forums @ XDA and have provided tools such as FlashTool and Fastboot for Dummies guidance!
As if all this wasn’t enough, on April 20th the Playstation Network was hacked, which resulted in 25 days of the network being offline and a £110 million bill to Sony to put it all right. I as type this, the PSN is back online but the store itself is not. It’s rumoured to be open at the end of the month, but seeing as though it’s the 26th of May, I think that’s optimistic to say the least.
Quiet up until Monday 23rd, which saw the discreet release of the fabled 2.3.3 firmware…starting in Hong Kong.
I got hold of the Hong Kong FW – pre-rooted, no less – and flashed it to the phone on Tuesday afternoon – the 24th. All working fine. On the 25th, despite there being no over the air update from SE UK direct, O2 released the 2.3.3 update to their handsets – updating OTA or through SEUS!
Quite the scandal, especially considering we were told when to expect the release from SEUK themselves – in top secret confidence – and it wasn’t 25th May, that’s for sure! How a carrier has beaten a service provider to provide an update for a phone the carrier pulled from the shelves a month ago, is mind-boggling to say the very least!
Anyway, with the release of the O2 FW I’ve updated my phone again to the have UK version (may have been released by O2, but it’s not branded) only to discover unlocking the bootloader restricts access to DRM content and I can’t use part of the new ‘Facebook Inside Xperia’ software. Curses