Sony details the Android 4.3 process; promises faster upgrade times

by XB on 25th July 2013

in Android, Firmware

Sony Xperia PDKIf you cast your mind back to December 2011, the guys at Sony Mobile Developer World did a very thorough job of explaining the upgrade process to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The piece highlighted all that is entailed and the many steps involved before us end-users get to enjoy a major new Android update. Well they have updated that piece in reference to Android 4.3 and detailed what has changed since that time.

It is a very interesting read, with Sony talking about the efficiencies achieved in the upgrading process, the closer collaboration with Qualcomm and Google and ultimately what this means in the future with regards to upgrade timelines. There is also acknowledgement of the criticism the company has received in relation to slow updates and how it hopes for much faster turnaround times in the future. Click through for some of the key highlights and make sure you click the source link for the full read.

Sony’s Android 4.3 upgrade process – Key Highlights

Two main phases to software upgrade process

1) Bring up phase – Ensure the core Android operating system (boot, kernel, all hardware components) is running and stable. Also will integrate new and existing Sony features in the new software.

2) Test, certification and approval phase – Ensure all the software and hardware parts comply with technology standards (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi etc). Also need to ensure that everything updated follows the necessary legal requirements, such as Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). For a global, worldwide product, Sony needs local certifications in up to 80 countries.

Closer cooperation with Google and Qualcomm

Makes the Bring up phase much more efficient, as Sony can use a lot of the work that Qualcomm does on its reference design for Sony’s integration.

Platform Development Kit (PDK) distributed a few weeks before new Android announcement

“Even though we haven’t seen the new Android 4.3 source code until it’s publicly released, we now get some information from Google about what areas will be updated. The PDK (a collection of source files and software binaries) was introduced by Google to help us and other manufacturers speed up the upgrade process. This means that we can plan our software upgrade projects more in advance, as we know roughly what parts of the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) we need to update.”

Sony Xperia PDK

How having Xperia devices running AOSP helps the update process

“By getting access to the PDK before the Android source code is available, we can start the initial phase of bring up earlier. And by having Xperia™ devices running AOSP, the feature upgrade work can start immediately when the Android source code is available. The fact that we now have AOSP running on our devices (through the work with AOSP for Xperia) makes it easier for us to contribute our fixes and patches back to Android, which in the long run will mean that we will have fewer patches to integrate the next time Android is updated.”

Unique Sony features added to vanilla Android

“WALKMAN” application
Movies application
Album application
Quick settings
Text input
UI components

Most time consuming phase = Test, certification and approval phase

“Since our last post for ICS, I’ve seen comments on the News blog and on Developer World that we have been late with software upgrades due to slow software development. But actually, we have very knowledgeable and experienced developers who all work really hard to get the software upgrades out. But contrary to what people may think, it is not the Bring up phase, but the Test, certification and approval phase that is the most time consuming process when it comes to getting a new software release out on our phones.”

Improved upgrade process should lead to faster firmware updates

“Large companies can sometimes be less agile than we wish to be, but we now have reshaped how we work and have an improved upgrade process in place. With each improvement we make, our software is delivered quicker and to a higher standard. Sometimes decisions can be complex with several products and projects involved and we have to divide our efforts and resource between new products on the way to market and upgrades of several existing products which use different platforms and software versions. However, this is something we have worked hard to improve over the last year, and we are constantly working on optimising it even further. Obviously everyone will now wonder how much faster the upgrades will come, and that we cannot exactly say right now since we are just getting started. But what we can say, is that we now have improvements in place and it should have a significant effect on the lead times.”

Via Sony Mobile Developer World.

  • Camilo Uribe

    Thanks Sony !

  • DrKrFfXx

    They should make their apps (camera, walkman, album, etc) and framework opensourced.

  • lovebmw

    Actions speak louder than words Sony

  • Jhonbert Magana


  • limo

    Gambatte! I appreciate the efforts of all the developers involved!

  • Uqix

    This is great. With this update method, I hope developers can port Sony’s official jelly bean 4.3 apps to AOSP ROMs (like the much awaited CM 10.2) easier. So other Xperia user that don’t get official 4.3 support from Sony still can enjoy the taste of Sony’s apps from a custom ROMs.

  • Evita

    hell no, it’s uniqueness

  • DrKrFfXx

    Well, I wan’t that uniqueness on an AOSP rom. Camera drivers and Walkman audio quality, instead of the lackluster camera app and bland audio player barebone Android has.

  • Ben

    helll NO alright!

  • SonyFan

    Thats why i love Sony

  • Prateek Bhanushali

    Yepp :) And Process structure speaks more than the people speak and criticize Sony’s software release !!!!

  • acutbal

    These are good news for the latest devices owners (Z family). But, what about the old devices like Xperia S? They are still capables…

  • ecoloid

    That’s Sony’s selling point. Like, “Oh, I have to buy Xperia because it has cool camera driver and good Walkman audio quality!” Why would Sony help another brand by creating better apps for them? Smh.

  • aligamz

    They should make them faster. Camera app is too slow, it’s barely usable in a practical point-and-shoot situation.

  • Ethan McLads

    Nice read. I hope Sony is making better progress now. Glad Sony is making its way back again to the competition. Can’t wait for Honami. lol.

  • mahdi

    release 4.3 for TX , T , V

  • Xperia Z owner

    I got my 4.2.2 and pretty happy with the Z. The new process obviously applies to new phones and new android versions.

  • Cloud_Connected

    My Xperia Ion has a very fast camera startup within about a second from … I think that´s pretty fast. What phone are you referring to?

  • DrKrFfXx

    Let’s see, I currently have Sony Walkman Z, a Sony Xperia S, Sony Xperia Z. I’ve had 2 more broken Xperia S, one Xperia X10, an Arc S… As you can see I don’t care about other manufacturers, I want drivers so I can fully take advantage of my unlocked bootloader.

  • DrKrFfXx

    The Z probably. It has a very slow start up time.

  • mlk

    It is maybe time to buy a new Sony

  • Praha

    Anything for Xperia J .. ?

  • acutbal

    I bought it as new in November 2012, only nine months and buy again? No thanks… My Xperia S is still in perfect conditions.

  • Cristi13

    Finally! An acknowledgement and an explanation from Sony, looks like they heard us (imagine if we didn’t complain). I wish you Sony to do it right this time. But I hope all of these are more than just words.

  • Marco Sobrevilla

    People that are not that tech-savvy or don’t have plenty of money expect to keep a phone a minimum of a year and a half or two. If I had bought a phone in November then I would expect it to last until 2014.

  • acutbal

    That’s the point…

  • Those might be the phones that Sony said will skip 4.2.2 and directly to 4.3

  • Debbie Downer

    It’s most likely SP.

  • xperiaion

    will xperia ion hspa get 4.3?

  • Sony already said that SP will be getting 4.3, said in another post

  • Pingback: Official Xperia Z Thread - Page 384 -

  • afzal

    so u do know upon the day u purchasing the xperia s ( november 2012 ) there were already xperia T, xperia TX and xperia V which have more up to date processor right?

  • Debbie Downer

    Exactly. Sony never said SP will get 4.2.2 though (unlike ZR and Tablet Z), so it is SP that will go straight from 4.1.2 to 4.3, not T.

  • XdevXDA

    so you can create your own rom and gets all the credit right?

  • acutbal

    Not in Spain… Those devices were available after via carrier. I’m a Telefonica/Movistar customer.

  • My bad, I thought SP was already 4.2.2. Haven’t been keeping up with these news

  • They mentioned ‘devices’ not ‘a device’.

  • Anzilleo Kristello Mozihim

    Well, Sony did say “other devices” so it’s likely to be T,TX and V.

  • APai

    that’s my worry. that sinking feeling seems to be pretty often with sony. does sony expect me to buy a new device within 9 months ? it’s a crying shame that sony’s priorities lie with the last 1-2 devices in their extensive portfolio

  • APai

    T is the new S, if they dont update T further than 4.1.2

  • Arokhantos

    Xperia tablet s users are still waiting for first fixes last time i heared, and they being ignored.
    Not good sony, how they supose to believe anything thats being promised.
    We need actions not promises that end up to be broken.
    And why could’t sony ad a IR blaster to the xperia z ultra would have been perfect, but guess i wait.

  • hansip87

    But no words from them will make you even more mad. or in better word, insecure. So yeah.. They are needed too ;)

  • Lilly

    Silly Sony… We don’t want 4.3 give us 5 straight away!!

  • zurggie

    I can’t believe many still trust Sony’s word. I’m a Xperia user and not one time Sony deliver upgrade in time. I bet Sony’s android 4.3 update will come in Q1 2014 for the Z line up. When Q1 2014 come, they said they will deliver the update in Q3 because f**k you.

  • reza

    It dont even officially launched yet..

  • Babylonbwoy

    All the retarded that were saying “oh cyanogenmod dev works better and faster than sony engineers, they should hire them” and that type of nonsense should read the post to really get how it works… There were dozen of comment like this on XDA…

  • Babylonbwoy

    I guess they only read title not the entire article!

  • Babylonbwoy

    You bought it as new after next flagship was released (XT and maybe V too depending where you live) ! Wtf ? Wrong move here, sorry to say.

  • Babylonbwoy

    Support doesn’t begin when we buy a device but when it is released

  • acutbal

    In Spain wasn’t available. And V and XT devices are still missing…

  • osin17

    Totally agree

  • It is interesting to see how Sony is trying to redeem himself, but I think it’s a little late for that, at least for those who bought some of the firstirst Sony smartphones after Sony Ericsson divorce.
    Goodbye Sony, welcome iPhone.

  • batteryguru

    then buy a Nokia

  • James Earley

    Unlikely the Xperia J would get 4.3

  • cs098

    hey they changed or are changing, look how fast the z and zl got from 4.1 to 4.2, barley a few months, better than before if you ask me.

    We would still be in 4.1 if Sony is being like the bad Sony from before.

  • Kontract

    Yeah right thats what they said after the x10

  • Marco Sobrevilla

    I do have a Nokia.

  • Aznev

    When Sony release 4.3 for my actual Xperia V, I’ll already have a phone that prepares my breakfast.

  • kc

    meaningless. Just tell when will release plz

  • Nokianss

    News of Gadget and technology (July 26, 2013) : goo .gl/SQJk9t

  • InspectorGadget80

    see this HTC? u can learn lots from sony instead of forcin your consumers upgrading too your boring ONE phone. at least they promise and release the updates when ready. just wish we have A XPERIA NEXUS/WATERPROOF PHONE. which i wish for XMAS

  • sfordesign

    nice point. should i trust sony again? i doubt that. they have lied too damn much. days and weeks have passed after the promised 28th week but still no info about fixing 1080p recording issue yet.

  • AS

    When can we expect 4.3 update for Sony Experia S

  • We’ll see that in 6 / 12 months..
    I think it’s not too late and the combination of

    1- flooding smartphone market (L/SP/Z/ZR/ZL/ZUltra/…)
    2- be fast on Android updates

    will pay for sure (even if it’s very questionabl, I admit it!)

  • Joseph


  • Xperia T/V will probably get 4.3, since they have the same cpu as Xperia SP. Adreno 225 is probably more than enough for 4.3.

    I own the Xperia SP and I don’t miss 4.2 at all.

  • Mright


  • Asad Ahmed

    i think you don’t know about HTC and samsung

  • Asad Ahmed

    c’mon dude, xperia s will get 4.2 most probably.

  • APai

    well, I do, but I’m talking about support for supposed flagship phones like S/ T/ Z …

  • Asad Ahmed

    T will get 4.3 instead of 4.2.2

  • Asad Ahmed

    they will update T to 4.3
    why everyone is creating so much mess here

  • Cold Zero

    isnt there gone be 4.3 for xperia s ???

  • sf

    That’s cool and all but I’m still waiting for a motherfucking Jelly Bean 4.1.2 firmware that isn’t a bugged pile of shit for my Xperia S.

    Sony, never again.

  • josesl16

    Maybe YOU don’t care about other manufacturers, but other people? Sure they do.

  • Hope

    I just hope my 2014 Xperia Flagship is upgradable to 5.0 Key Lime Pie when it’s out later next year..

  • malih

    Bulls eye, and it did improve for that precious few months with Xperia 2011, but then they dropped it again with ICS.

    For new 2013 owners, please take any statement like this from Sony with caution, set expectations as low as possible, and then you’ll be just fine and happy, they’re not known for keeping promises.

  • Mighty Joe

    Iphone loool really????

  • Yes, that’s right, I am sick and tired of the Android and late releases because of someone’s incompetence.

  • franklin

    same doubt

  • franklin

    they said the phones with 4.1 will get a uplift to 4.3.and xperia s has buggy customers expect 4.3

  • franklin

    yeah just ask an xperia s owner about the fast updates lol

  • franklin

    its a big thing sony gave the 4.1 update.if u asking this question just check what happened about xperia u being a 2012 phone :D

  • franklin

    chances of even s and other s like brothers,becuase of the damn buggy 4.1 update

  • franklin

    mine also 4 months old,aesome phone with buggy jb :( SONY fix it pls

  • franklin

    i got a xperia s and i wont like my friend having a galaxy s2 giving same quality like my xperia s :( they should allow for unlocked bootloader but only sony phones :p if possible

  • cs098

    And? the the xs aleast has jellybean.

    And unlike htc which too have their early 2012 flagship on 4.1. The xs may have a double upgrade and skip to 4.3.

  • franklin

    That would be great,but as I know abt Sony less chances :-(

  • Jaywalker

    Yeah, whatever, please make some phones that can be upgraded. Some of them can’t be updated because of hardware limits. So what’s the point buying an Xperia who will die with GB? Like XU (ICS is useless on it). Not all of us afford to change a smartphone every 6 months to keep up with Android.

  • zer0rec0rd

    I Still Dont Have The 4.2.2 Upgrade :( [UK Generik]

    But Im Not Mad About That, Hope I Jump Directly To 4.3 :!)

  • Ashley Otu

    How about you move on mate, you forget the X10 was during the Sony Ericcson era thats 1. 2 you seem to forget that the Xperia S actually wasn’t a pure Sony Phone because Erriccson was also designing it as well alongside the other phones from 2012, if you have noticed the 2013 phones are the pure Sony ones and they got updated quickly and Sony upgraded most of all of there phones to Jelly Bean compared to Samsung and HTC, such as the S3 and Note 2 still hasn’t been updated to 4.2 yet and also HTC seem to be losing a lot of respect as of recent! So how about you and all of the other guys on this blog shut it regarding this incident that occurred years ago and move on and if you don’t have anything nice to say about the new Sony at all then shut it ! :)

  • Alisher

    When 4.3 for Xperia Z in Singapore?

  • Xavier

    How bout Sony Xperia L?

  • xperia z

    Sony please fix the screen display on Xperia z bcz it’s too bad display the good part it’s the album and movie but the other it’s too bad I have xperia z if u don’t fix it. The people how is buy the z will disappointed’s true we going have ultra UI.
    And hey z have problem in talkback
    and thanks sony

  • Vitali

    and xperia S?

  • chawich

    I’ve got the 4.2.2, and manyyy firmware updates :P

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