Sony Ericsson provides Tutorial to Build/Flash Android Kernels

After the whole issue with not providing timely updates to the Xperia series of phones, and locking down the bootloaders, Sony Ericsson seems to be set to get back to the main stage. Apart from releasing a bunch of awesome new phones, SE recently announced that all their new phones will have the ability to have their bootloaders unlocked, thus providing the ability to flash a custom ROM on it. And THAT is what Android is all about. Choice.

Well, SE has stepped up. Again. They now have a tutorial on their Developer Blog on how to build and flash a custom kernel.

You can read more over here, where they do state that “Since the launch of the unlock boot loader site, we have received a lot of really great feedback. The Sony Ericsson Developer Program wants to continue to build on this open dialogue with external developers.

Developers and advanced users can now unlock the boot loader, which is the first step to be able to flash your own image. Now we have seen quite a few comments in different forums like the XDA forum, where developers run into problems when building their own image, and and trying to flash the image using Fastboot. With the help of our Master Software Architect, James Jacobsson, we put together a short article on how to do this.

Before moving on, we’d like to remind you again that there is no turning back when unlocking the boot loader. You may void the warranty of the phone, and you will not be able to revert the phone to a locked or original state if you unlock it.”
It gets better though, they actually say that while they won’t offically support this, they do say “We will monitor the Building the Linux kernel for Xperia phones thread on the XDA Developers forum. However, we cannot guarantee an answer for every question asked in this forum.”

They’re going to support XDA! That’s close to officially acknowledging XDA! Now if only Samsung and HTC would get over the bootloader issues (Samsung doesn’t lock it, FYI, but they are slow in supporting it!). The Galaxy S has a Massive number of Custom ROMs available, which we will try and cover. Hopefully, soon, there’ll be more for SE phones too!


Create Android apps without knowing programming – App Inventor

Google Labs has just launched something called the App Inventor which allows non-developers to quickly build up simple applications for Android devices.

It simplifies the app development process by allowing users quickly build up an application without much programming knowledge. The application gives you  a screen to drag and drop items like images, and buttons for your application on a screen. You can also program actions on these items by using things called ‘blocks’ to define their behavior. This makes the process of developing application a process of just dragging and dropping stuff on the screen, and you don’t need to know one bit of programming. It’s not just limited to the simple stuff, the App Inventor does give access to the advanced features on the phone like the GPS, accelerometer sensors and more. Is this Google’s way of increasing the number of application on the Android Market to beat the numbers on iPhone App Store?

The App Inventor team has created blocks for just about everything you can do with an Android phone, as well as blocks for doing “programming-like” stuff– blocks to store information, blocks for repeating actions, and blocks to perform actions certain conditions. There are even blocks to talk to services like Twitter.

If you are interested in finding out more about App Inventor, check out their site appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/. They’ve not yet opened access to all, and you need a Google account to request for access. You can look around their documentation section while you wait for them to grant you access.

Here’s a video showing how the App Inventor works, by creating an Android application in under a minute: