Archive | January 2013

Gutted

Anybody who read my scathing review of Sony’s Xperia J will no doubt be aware of just how much I hate it. In an effort to stop gazing into the gift horse’s mouth, I have been attempting to do something – anything – with it.

Even rooting the phone and running it as light as I could, I still encountered lag after lag after lag, to an extent where I decided more drastic measures than a root and cleanout with Titanium Backup were required. To that extent, there’s a lot to be said for disembowelment.

This evening I have eviscerated the Xperia J, from a software point of view, of course, by installing the latest 4.1.2 from the good team at FreeXperia. The new OS has been on the phone for a couple hours and touch wood…it’s far more responsive than it ever was on the official Sony ROM.

I am pleased to have rescued the phone from certain doom and dust-gathering and it’s yet another great example of the work these third-party developers can do; though whether it makes it to continued daily use is another question.

Look to the Future

According to a story over at Android Headlines, Sony appear to be making plans to ditch the low-end of the market and concentrate on the higher end of the market. There’s a lot to be said for a clear and concise plan. Sony may well be aiming for the high-end of the market but they’ve got a long way to go before they should consider themselves in the same ball park.

Consider Apple; regarding the iPhone, ostensibly they make one phone in 3 different storage configurations and two different colours. That’s it. Sure, they’re still rocking the 4, the 4S and the 5, but the long-term support behind these devices is also something to be reckoned with.

In 2012 Sony released in excess of a dozen devices. 40% of these devices, less than a year old, were released on Ice Cream Sandwich but aren’t included in the Jelly Bean update. Frankly that’s not good enough and the in wake of the X10/Gingerbread scandal I thought the development team at Sony might have learned a few things. Obviously not.

Even the premium 2013 models right around the corner, there are two different handsets – the Z and the ZL, but three different names. For some inexplicable reason the ZL is called the ZQ in Brazil and (maybe) Canada. Why? Who knows!

The iPhone currently holds a 28% share of the market. That’s not much. Sony can achieve a dominant position in the market through position, poise and audacity, though sadly I suspect we’ll see another increasingly cluttered product portfolio this year. 

Pulling the Wool

January 8th at CES saw announcements from Sony about the 2013 flagship phone, the pretty awesome Xperia Z. More on that later.

Sneaking out under the cover of new shiny shiny stuff though was a Tablet Webcast from a Product Trainer and another chap who delivered some upsetting news regarding the development future on the Sony Tablet S1. Namely, the device won’t be getting the Jelly Bean update that’s coming to the Xperia Tablet and other Sony Android devices, like the 1.5 GHz dual-core Xperia T (fair enough) and the absolute trainwreck of a phone that is the single-core, 512MB RAM Xperia J.

The Tablet S packs in a dual core 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM and is a pretty nifty tablet. I should know, I own one. Although I understand a tablet and a phone are different, I do question why an absolute disaster of a phone like the Xperia J (it’s that bad) warrants an upgrade to JB.

Annoyingly the video has mysteriously been removed. However you can find a thread talking about it here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2089240

Perhaps the removal of the video from Sony’s official channel means they’ve changed their minds, much like they did in the wake of the X10/Gingerbread fiasco from 2011. Who knows. Until that point, I’ll be keeping a close eye on what’s happening with the S1 and another eye on the Google Nexus 7 should the news turn out to be disappointing.

Polishing a Turd

Happy New Year, dear readers!

Sony have had a highly fragmented year in their first solo foray into mobiles, with devices released seemingly every week. The 1GHz single core, 512MB RAM Xperia J was released late October as the budget alternative to the flashier Xperia T – the much vaunted James Bond phone as featured in Skyfall, no less.

Packaged in a sturdy plastic shell with some eye-catching chrome trim and the graceful arc to the back of the handset, as per the Xperia Arc, the J is certainly pleasing to the eye.

Though sadly, beauty is only skin deep as my time with the Xperia J has shown me; it’s a handset that essentially doubles as a buggy, near-useless ‘phone’ that would be better used as a paperweight. In fact, if the Xperia J was a prop in Skyfall, it would be wielded by an extra who meets a grisly doom thanks to waiting for the piss-poorly implemented phone to save him.

When you consider just over 18 months ago, Sony (or Sony Ericsson, as it was then known) was peddling single-core 1GHz handsets like the Xperia Arc, with just 512MB of RAM to support it, and attempting to convince everyone it was the market leader, then for them to release the J at the tail-end of 2012 as still attempt to convince consumers it’s a ‘new’ technology, then there’s something definitely amiss.

There’s nothing new about it. In fact, it’s good for nothing. It lags terribly with everything I attempt to do and offers a wildly inconsistent experience compared to say, the Xperia Go (1GHz, dual core). Heck, even the Xperia Ray offers a better experience on ICS (better again on CM10!) and that’s virtually the same phone! Personally I find it a false economy, bordering on a farce, to shoehorn almost two-year old technology into a sleek and shiny ‘new’ handset.

It’s the little things with this phone that really grind the teeth though. The shitty placement of the power button for example, near the top left of the phone, with it being recessed means you’re more likely to hit the volume up button than wake your phone.

The NXT series of phones didn’t have microSD support, so the later models of 2012 had them reincorporated. On the Xperia J, this facility works as it should, with the handset picking up all media stored on the card. On the Xperia Go, this facility works as it should etc. etc.

On the Xperia J, this facility works…occasionally. More often that not, it will populate the media library of the Walkman with a couple thousand tracks from the SD card, then it will wipe the tracks from the library (though mercifully retaining them on the card) for no apparent reason other than it can. Same goes for photos and other media. Even rooting, installing init.d support and a custom script to ‘bind’ the contents of the microSD to the internal memory – all of which worked fine on my tablet, by the way – fails to yield the same results.

Perhaps I’m biased. My experiences this year with the Xperia S, dual core and properly functioning additions like microSD support have met with far greater success than they have with the J. It could be just my handset playing up, or it could be a greater problem. Suffice to say, until a better handset than the Xperia S comes along, the Xperia J will be consigned to the back of the man drawer. And that’s being merciful. Very. Merciful.