Sony offers Android M Developer Preview to developers to help build Android M ROMs for Sony devices.

On Monday, Sony announced that a preview version of the upcoming Android M Developer will be made available for selected Xperia line of handsets in the company’s Open Device program, along with other tools.

Users should note that currently the key features of M are missing, as it is an experimental version and are still in the testing stages.

The various Xperia models listed by the Japanese company that will support the Android M Developer Preview includes the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet, Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia Z Ultra, Xperia E3, Xperia M2, Xperia T2 Ultra, and Xperia T3.

The availability of Android M Developer Preview images is intended to let programmers and designers create apps for Google’s recently announced Android M, which will be officially available to consumers later this year. It will also let them know whether the apps would work on the Xperia handsets and tablets. This move is also seen as an attempt to make Sony’s Xperia models more appealing to developers taking into consideration that no devices from other Android OEM (except the Nexus devices) officially feature Android M Developer Preview support.

At this stage, early adopters might still prefer to use a non-essential device for the Developer Preview of Android M.

Sony in a blog post announced the news said, “You can now create a test image of Android M Developer Preview and flash that onto any Xperia device in Sony’s Open Device program.”

A few changes that have been brought about with Google’s latest Android M such as new permission system have been emphasized by the company. For developers, Sony notes, “To take into account these changes, you may want to test your apps prior to the M release to ensure compatibility.”

In order to make things a bit simpler for users, Sony has provided a guide that provides instructions on how to build AOSP M Developer Preview images by giving the necessary software binaries for the devices.

“It’s important to note that the AOSP software is not certified or intended for regular use. It’s only available for devices with an unlocked bootloader and comes with some limitations, for example, the modem and the camera are not implemented,” wrote Sony.

To remind, some of the new features of Android M include a new and improved form of app permissions, new ways to manage Web links, Google Now on Tap feature, new Chrome feature that will transform the Web experience for Android users, official Android Pay mobile payment system with Android M, new fingerprint APIs for developers to add into their apps, and battery saver features called Doze that will make Android devices smart about handling power. In addition, it also includes adoptable storage devices, new RAM manager, new app drawer, support for USB Type-C ports, auto backup and restore for apps.

The announcement from Sony followed after the Google I/O conference in May, at which Android M Developer Preview was made available for Google Nexus models 5, 6, 9 and the Nexus Player; Android L had been unveiled at I/O in June 2014 before getting a public release in November of the same year.


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