KitKat's changes meet Sony's Xperia UI to deliver a new mix that should go over well with smartphone fans
Sony's "No More Leakage" campaign doesn't seem to be doing a very good job stopping device leaks, and we're glad of it. Earlier today we saw enough to pretty much confirm the hardware specs of the upcoming Xperia Z2 "Sirius", and now we have a look at the software that will be running on its new Snapdragon 800 and all 3GB of its RAM.
If you're familiar with Sony's Xperia Home UI, you'll notice that things stay very close to their roots. You've got new themes and settings for them, new colors and wallpapers, but the same basic premise is there, with just a few KitKat features thrown in. The transparent status bar — a crowd favorite — is now in place, new tweakable quick settings are in the notification shade, and KitKat features like device-initiated printing and user-selectable SMS defaults are included. If this seems overwhelming or you just want something simple, Sony has included a "Simple Home" UI as well.
The big changes are under the home screens. Dive into the settings and you see support for existing Sony features like Glove Mode and the X Reality engine settings, but there's plenty new here to get excited about. Sony's introducing a new camera software, filled with features like TimeShift — high-speed recording for slow-motion effects — and the same Background defocus we see on the Xperia Z1s. This is all at 4K video resolution, mind you.
Other features include custom white balance settings for the screen — good bye blue or purple whites — and Smart Back lighting Control that tracks your eyes to keep the screen on while looking at it. Smart Call handling even lets you use the Z2 as an answering machine if you want, cutting voicemail completely out of the picture.
I've been saying that 2014 will be the year of the software, and it looks like Sony is ready. I imagine we'll see and hear more next month at Mobile World Congress. In the meantime, head over to XperiaBlog and check out everything they have found.