MWC was all about the new KitKat-powered Xperia Z2 smartphone, but what about existing Xperia owners (including the Z1 and Z1 Compact, or the Z Ultra, Tablet Z etc)?

What will the forthcoming KitKat update offer to them?

Apparently the update will add a lot of new features, and a range of user interface tweaks – although some things aren’t yet confirmed as coming to anything but the Z2 and Z2 Tablet, so we’ll have to wait and see for some of those (for example, 4K video recording on the Z1/Z1 Compact).

Source: Xda-developers

Android 4.4 Kitkat Native Features

  • Transparent navigation and status bars
  • White status bar icons
  • Immersive mode on selected Sony Multimedia Apps (Album and Movies)
  • Better RAM optimization (Do not expect with this as Sony will be adding more features)
  • Choice of default Messaging app
  • Choice of default Android Launcher (Will be added with Xperia Simple Home Launcher on 4.4)
  • Emoji on Google Keyboard (Will be added also on the new Xperia Keyboard for 4.4)
  • Cloud printing
  • Audio tunneling (low-power music streaming, in which Qualcomm should support with their SoC)
  • Extension to Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 (Notice that the volume on the Bluetooth device, for example, SBH-20, is not the same with the volume of the phone. WIth this feature, it will give absolute volume on the system to Bluetooth devices.)
  • Native IR blaster support (good for Xperia ZL and Tablet Z)
  • System-wide Closed captioning (subtitles)
  • Choice of GPS Accuracy Mode
  • Notification listener services (manage notifications to show)
  • Scrubbing of music on lockscreen
  • *Support for step counter and step detection sensors (built-in sensors inside Xperia Z2)

Xperia Camera Apps Update

  • *4K Video app, Ultra-High Definition video recording (4K2K video, 4096 x 2160 resolution in cinematic 1.89:1 aspect ratio)
  • *Timeshift Video app, lets you record 120 fps, 720p video, after which, you can edit multiple parts for slow motion or fast motion playback. It also saves two files, one with the edited video with 30fps parts and one with native 120fps playback.
  • *Creative Effects app, (an update to Picture Effects app), where you can now utilize the effects not just only for photo, but also for video recording. You can also change effects in real-time.
  • Background Defocus app, an app currently exclusive to Xperia Z1s where it captures 2 photos simultaneously and adds bokeh to the focused picture. You can also edit how much background defocus you want to simulate, as well as to choose from three blurring effects (2 motion blurs, vertical and horizontal, and a Gaussian blur)
  • AR Effects app, adding video recording with augmented reality effects and soon update to new AR effects
  • Superior Auto, adding aspect ratio option for 8 MP images (4:3 or 16:9)
  • Manual camera app update adds HDR to 20.7 MP picture, addition of 15.5 megapixel photo resolution and 1080p 60 fps as well as VGA (640×480) 30fps video recording
  • Vine camera app, directly records short videos for Vine social app
  • Portrait Retouch app, which you can see your face being retouched in real-time.
  • Addition of new third-party Xperia Camera apps in Play Store (Perfectly Clear, Vintage 8mm camera, Camera 2, FlightRadar24 Pro) and more to come.

System Wide Xperia Update

  • New Xperia boot animation patterned to Sony Playstation 4 UI
  • Movies app updated with thinner information display on video playback and zoom function for video (especially in 4K video playback)
  • Movie Creator app, letting you edit videos with trim and playback speed options
  • Smart backlight control (keeping screen on while using the phone without touching)
  • Smart call handling (answer and reject calls, as well as turn off ringer, using motion control)
  • *Double tap to wake (similar to Xperia Tablet Z’s feature)
  • Answering Machine
  • New Dialer options after end of call
  • *Choice of Audio accessories for a wide range of input/output devices to be connected. This will enable external devices, for example, the Sony Stereo Mic STM10, to be used as default recording microphone instead of the built-in stereo mic.
  • *Hi-Resolution Audio output to USB DAC or DAC amplifier
  • *Digital Noise Cancelling (DNC). (Now only works with Xperia Z2 since its headphone jack adds another pin for DNC)
  • Addition of themes to Xperia Themes, opening Xperia Themes SDK to public
  • New notification and Quick Settings drop down. Holding a quick setting now will direct you to the advanced settings
  • Power Management for Accessories (enable power management for Smartwatch and other devices)
  • Sony’s What’s New app for Sony Select and Sony Multimedia updates (Music and Video Unlimited)
  • “Close All” option in the Recent Apps section
  • New widgets including TouchBlock for water resistant devices
  • New Calendar App with weather forecast for the week
  • New Xperia lockscreen layout with camera shortcut on the bottom and new lockscreen animation

* Note that all of the updates in asterisk is still not confirmed for Z1/Z1 Compact

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Written by Jonathan Morris

Writing about technology, with a focus on mobile, since the early 1990s! Former editor of What Mobile magazine, writer for The Telegraph, Stuff, Know Your Mobile, Pocket Gamer, Smart TV Radar and more. Regular Tweeter, occasional YouTuber, keen amateur photographer and forum moderator. If you like what I write, please consider deactivating your ad blocker or making a donation via PayPal to help fund this site.

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