We’ve all been anticipating the release of the Sony Xperia Z. It is arguably the best smartphone Sony has ever released and has received nothing but praise from nearly everyone. As of a few days ago, the Xperia Z began selling in select countries. For people who like rooting and installing custom ROMs, you’ll be happy to know that CyanogenMod 10.1 is already available.
In fact, it was actually available before the phone was officially released. The Free Xperia Project, commonly referred to as FXP, released an early, unofficial CyanogenMod port several days before the phone was actually released. If you look at their thread on XDA, you can see it was posted on February 20th. The first wave of Xperia Z devices wouldn’t go public until February 21st.
If you go to the thread, you’ll note that this is an early build of CyanogenMod, which means it’s bound to have some issues. Obviously, you’ll lose all the Sony specific software like the Sony Bravia Engine and Stamina Mode. Fortunately, most of these features can be replaced or replicated with stock apps. Aside from that, people who have flashed it already are reporting that there are a few bugs. So it may not be ready for daily use quite yet.
Over the last year or so, many OEMs have begun moving away from the developer community. Samsung isn’t quite as friendly as they used to be with their source code. HTC hasn’t been overly friendly either. Meanwhile, Sony has jumped into the developer pool doing a cannonball without holding their nose. That’s just how they roll. They have reportedly been giving developers on sites like XDA free devices to play with. They’ve even taken one of their own, the Sony Xperia S, and added it to the AOSP tree. Given the average attitude of OEMs toward stuff like this, Sony is clearly leading the pack in developer-OEM relations.
This relationship is likely what got CyanogenMod on the Xperia Z so early. After all, it was reported that Sony released the kernel source over a week before release. Yes, it’s still unofficial and yes, it’s still in development. However, most users with other devices don’t get to use CyanogenMod until months after release. That said, we really like what Sony is doing with the developers and we hope it keeps going. If you want to check out the port, click on the thread link above or below.