Sony releases an experimental Firefox OS developer upgrade for its Xperia E smartphone

Sony has released an experimental “developer upgrade” to one of its Android smartphones just days after announcing it would build smartphones using Mozilla’s new Firefox OS platform.

Earlier this week, the consumer electronics giant announced it was working on smartphones using the new platform at the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The release allows developers with a Sony Xperia E to upgrade the software on their smartphone from Android 4.1 JellyBean to Firefox OS.

The XPeria E is a low-end smartphone based on a Qualcomm MSM7227A Snapdragon S1 processor running at 1 Ghz, 512 Mb RAM, a single rear 3.2 megapixel camera and a 3.5 inch 320×480 TFT display.

“At Sony Mobile, we continue to evaluate innovative technologies that can help deliver the premium user experiences that Sony’s consumers expect. Our engineers are now working with Firefox OS and HTML5, evolving technologies which show great potential,” Sony Mobile Communications products business group chief executive Bob Ishida says.

In a statement, Sony says the release is designed to help familiarise its developer community with the new platform.

“Now we’re ready to share our initial experiments on Firefox OS with the tech community, to get valuable feedback. More importantly, we want to reach out to the application community and support the early adopters who can start to develop applications for Firefox OS,” Sony states.

However, Sony has posted the following warnings for anyone wanting to make the upgrade:

  • Before you unlock the boot loader, make sure that you have read and understood that unlocking the boot loader may void the warranty of your device.
  • You must be using an unlocked Xperia E. It will not work on a locked Xperia E.
  • You should be an advanced developer with extensive knowledge in how to flash and switch between different ROMs. If you are a consumer without these developer skills, then we strongly recommend you not do try this as you may damage your phone.
  • Some of the features are not switched on or implemented.

Developers wanting to try the experimental version need to download Sony’s unlock boot loader service, download and install the flash tool for Xperia and then follow the flash tool instructions. It has also pointed users to Mozilla’s guide to creating apps for Firefox OS.

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