Ported Z Ultra GPe ROM transforms Xperia Z1 into unofficial Google Play Edition handset

December 20, 2013
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sony xperia z1 review aa 06

There’s a lot to like about the Sony Xperia Z1, including a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, a water resistant design and an impressive 20.7MP camera. For Android purists however, the biggest downside is that the device doesn’t run vanilla Android. The handset instead features Sony’s customized UI and special software.

The good news is that you can now enjoy the Xperia Z1’s epic hardware while also experiencing Android as Google envisioned it, all thanks to the efforts of XDA developer DoomLord.

The developer’s new ‘vanilla’ Android ROM is a port of the Z Ultra Google Play Edition’s software, which essentially turns the Z1 into a Google Play Edition handset. The porting effort was possible due to the fact that — despite having different screen sizes and form factors — the Z Ultra and Z1 have similar internals.

So how well does the port work? While it is still an effort in progress, the ROM is reportedly very stable. Unfortunately it does have two issues that could be deal-breakers for many folks: the camera and WiFi aren’t functioning correctly just yet.

On the brightside, the developer has already begun working to address these issues, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time before we have a fully working Z1 GPe ROM. Until then, the ROM is probably not appropriate as a daily driver for most users.

To learn more about the ROM, or to flash it for yourself, you’ll want to head on over to the XDA Developer’s forum. Keep in mind that things can (and sometimes do) go wrong when flashing custom ROMs, so proceed at your own risk.

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