Archive | February 2012

Bootloader + TrackID

One of the many issues surrounding unlocking the bootloader on 2011 Xperia phones was the loss of DRM features that were required by a couple of apps, namely TrackID and the ‘Music Like’ facility linked to the god-awful Facebook Inside Xperia (FiX) application.

This wasn’t really a problem for me as I couldn’t stand FiX and rarely used TrackID anyway. Opening the bootloader of the phone(s) wasn’t really a problem if you did want to find the name of a song, as replacement music indentification apps like Shazam did the job perfectly well.

However it appears Sony Mobile Communications are still listening to their consumers and in yet another great move from Sony Mobile Communications, careful inspection of the Sony Ericsson tab within the Android Market shows an entry for TrackID, featuring a completely new logo. Installation of this app to the phone shows as a separate app, so to clear up your app drawer you’d need to remove the old app through Titanium Backup. Or not, your choice, of course!

Anyhoo, back to the task at hand; according a colleague in Test Lab, installation of this new app to a rooted and booted handset effectively bypasses the issue with DRM (or installs new DRM, who knows) and lets users with an open bootloader use TrackID again. Score!

Sadly this new app doesn’t appear to repair the Music Like functionality, though it was worth a thought as FiX and TrackID did talk to each other. Never mind, TrackID is still working independently though, so that’s a big plus!

…And back to the Neo, just for a change!

After playing almost
exclusively with the Ray and Arc S for well over 6 weeks, I thought it was about
time the Neo had some more time in the spotlight.
 
A favourite handset
of mine from last year, it was my primary handset from release in July until I
managed to bag a Ray in early December, the longest I’ve managed to go with one
particular handset since before I was invited into Test Lab! Kudos indeed, and
not just because I was ‘stuck’ with it – I did have the Arc to play with as
well!
 
Packing all the
features of the Ray, plus an HDMI-out and a slightly bigger screen (though not
as big as the Arc) the Neo has lost none of its charm. In fact in was a real
pleasure to slip in the 16GB MicroSD card, update a couple apps/accounts and
continue about my life with a change of handset. (Another beauty of Android and
cloud services; if you keep your phone(s)/apps and contacts synced up to date,
you grab a handset and go!)
 
I think it was a
shame the Neo was effectively ‘downgraded’ from an 8 MP camera to a 5MP after
the parts shortage following the crisis, as it really is a good little handset.
Like I said before, I enjoy the solid feel of this phone; it’s got some heft in
the hand!
 
One of the minor
foibles I had with this handset back in the beginning was with the small amount
of RAM provided, a miserly 380MB compared to the (still stingy) 512MB of the Ray
and Arc. A problem which has been corrected with the 1GB on the Xperia
S.
 
Still, fixing this
problem is a simple matter of rooting and clearing out non-essential bloatware –
of which there is plenty. In addition to this you can ‘supercharge’ the handset
by following my Test Lab colleague’s guide to rooting AND supercharging HERE
the V6 script maximises the memory management offered by the Android OS and can
really make a difference, especially when you’re got a puny amount of RAM to
play with.