Last summer, we learned that Google was taking the unusual step of adding a non-Nexus smartphone to the source repositories as part of the Android Open Source Project, with the introduction of a project for the Sony Xperia S. While that experiment wrapped-up several months later and saw the codebase move to a separate Sony-controlled repository, it was largely heralded as a success. With the Xperia S now showing its age, Sony is getting a more modern handset involved with the same sort of project, starting a new one to share AOSP code for the Xperia Z.
This is still very much a work-in-progress, but a lot is already possible. Sony has released code that enables the handset’s WiFi data, GPS reception, Bluetooth functionality, and a few sensors. The company reports that an internal version also has the phone’s camera and cellular radio working, but for the moment those rely on binary files that it’s unable to share.
All in all, it’s great news for Xperia Z owners, and should ease development of some interesting custom firmware from the ROM enthusiast community. Here’s hoping that Sony keeps up with this routine for more and more of its Android devices.