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Sony Xperia M2 New Camera Software With Kitkat 4.4.2 Update August 24, 2014

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As a result of the recent firmware 【KitKat】 update for Sony Xperia M2, comes with it camera software has been tweaked to be more effective and user friendly.
Overall, the changes made remain positive.

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New camera software for Superior Auto Mode:

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New Camera software for Manual Mode:

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Special Sony camera apps:  Plentiful

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For highest pixel density, switch it to 4:3 ratio,
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Net effects of the newly tweaked camera software comes with Kitkat 4.4.2 update are,

~ the Superior Auto mode comes in more details and much less compression.
~ the Manual mode is made more user friendly that includes 6 special scenes, without you to tweak the ISO and Exposure settings. You still need to get familiar with them in order to make good use of each of the scene for best exposure and effect.
~ there are 12 useful Sony special effect camera apps to increase the fun of photo~taking.
~ both the Auto and Manual settings allow you to store your photo files to the sdCard.

Here are some experimental photo shoots using mainly the Auto mode,

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Far distance shot, cropped 100%,

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Natural lighting, subject under shade,

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Zoom in to read the fine print on the billboard, shot taken in the morning sun,

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Far distance shot, cropped 100%,

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Indoor closed up shot, natural lighting, Manual scene setting for greater light exposure,

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One thing is missing though, the HDR mode is disable with the firmware update. Reason? Not sure…
But it is not a big deal.

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Review of Xperia M2 ~ Kitkat 4.4.2 August 19, 2014

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After update of my Sony Xperia M2 to the Android Kitkat official firmware, here’s the primary observation and user experience review.

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Key improvements:

~ the camera software definitely has been tweaked to reduce its high compression ratio for the Superior Auto mode. Now the overall contrast of photos taken is softer with greater details. A good result indeed. The following pics are direct shots taken with Auto mode,

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Auto mode with flash:
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Low & dimmed light Auto shot (flash off) :
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Outdoor under shade,
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Outdoor, (enlarge to see the small prints on billboard)
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Manual setting with enough depth of field,
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~ main apps are running well without issue. Such as Phone, Messaging, Calendar, Youtube, video capturing, Music, games, Google Map etc. etc.

~ wifi reception is superb. Web pages uploading fast.
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~ UI performance remains fluid and responsive on touch screen.

~ however, apparently Sony has done away with Android Run Time (ART) switching option. It could be that Sony has its own software tweaks algorithm.

~ from Quadrant benchmark it is obvious that Sony has further improved Xperia M2’s software optimization by updating to Kitkat 4.4.2
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~ something interesting and unique: by tapping the Setting ~ Android Version you will see the digit of 1; instead of commonly a K symbol. This could mean that Sony is striving towards the 1st place in smartphone software optimization…
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All in all, this update by Sony for Xperia M2 is considered a very good effort, in that it makes the M2 a high value device with many good features (you may refer to the changelog by Sony) and very good performance.

You would like this change ~ that now you can move downloaded apps to sdcard!

For those who get ready for the firmware update, you may want to know what are the preparation works need to be done before you simply plug into the PC… read my last post on this blog.

Oh yeah, there’s no need to do a Factory Reset. Just a kind reminder. The condition is, make sure you prepare your phone properly for it to roll… otherwise, you may face unduly frustration after the update with potential issues.

Some say there’s bugs and Facebook cannot be installed… bullshit. Only if you don’t prepare your phone properly for the update. Look at mine, no problem with Facebook installation.
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Sony Xperia M2 Got Its Kitkat Update! August 19, 2014

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Today (18 Aug) the long awaiting Kitkat 4.4.2 official firmware has arrived, with the notification on my Xperia M2!

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It says that you need to execute this latest system update via a computer (PC), not through OTA.
Regardless, owners of M2 just have to jump for joy like these people (see below):

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Ok, what you Really Need To Do as follows,
~ make sure you plug in your Xperia M2 to your PC and follow the step by step on screen instruction carefully, using the Sony PC Companion software download to your PC.
~ but before you start the ball rolling first thing first you Must Do is, use the Clean Master app and also the phone’s Storage setting to clean up junk files and cache data. This will ensure your updated firmware not be affected by such old cache data.
~ make sure USB debugging is set and data restore is ticked in the Setting menu.
~ make sure you clear any apps running in the background.
~ make sure your phone has more than 70% battery charged.
~ make sure you plug in the AC power source to your PC. The whole process of system update can take up at least 45 minutes.
~ plug in your phone with power on to the PC and start the update process…

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Tapping Android Version and you will see 1 but not the usual K symbol…

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After approx. 45 mins my phone was updated with the new system firmware (Kitkat) and you can unplug it from the PC and power it up manually. The phone was earlier on power down/off automatically when the update process commenced.

It took couple of minutes for first time power it up. Once the normal bootup and Android apps upgrade are done, the phone is ready to rock again.

There’s no need to perform Factory Reset of the phone. All app data are restored after successful update.

In brief i tested downloaded apps and system operations and encounter no issue. Apps run smoothly. So far so good.

Most of you would like to know that with the update you can move apps to sdcard! It surely free up more device internal storage space. 

I will provide a review on camera app etc. and device performance later after i spend time on this new system update.

ANDROID L Launcher & ANDROID RUNTIME (ART)FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE August 10, 2014

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Tested with the recently Kitkat 4.4.2 updated Acer A1~810 for more than a week.
Also installed the Android L Launcher (NOVA) for trial.

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It was made known that some Android devices with Kitkat OS are not quite compatible to run apps on the ART Mode.
After updated to Kitkat my Acer A1~810 tablet has been put to ART runtime; based on my observation it is definitely worthwhile to make the switch. In fact, i won’t go back to the Android Dalvik (JIT) mode anymore.

Below are the extracted basic information on the Android L and Android Runtime (ART) for readers who hear about this the first time,

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Never mind the technical jargon and sort of, the main benefit of switching to the ART mode is much improved overall performance for your device.

In my case with the Acer A1, on ART the app operations and UI are really smooth and stable, no forced close encounteted at all. Prior to switching to ART & Kitkat update, the device benchmark for Quadrant score was about 4750; now running on Kitkat & ART the benchmark score is averaged about 8150 ~ 8200.
Essentially there’s vast improvement over CPU and memory management.

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Next, it is compatible to download NOVA Launcher L to further enhance the overall UI and theme experiences. (from Google Play Store)

The launcher provides many UI and desktop and Look & feel tweets for one’s preferences, as well as Android L theme and icons.

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I was on MIUI Express launcher for quite a while in the past few months and find it to be very user friendly and smooth.
And, for the time being i am staying put on the NOVA Launcher L as i find it an equally good UI platform… especially running on ART mode.

One more benefit to be mmentioned, after switching to ART the overall browser speed improved tremendously! Achieving fast Web page upload and download. Youtube streaming is also very fast.
If any experts can help to explain this.

Install Mi Home 3.0.0 / 3.1.0 On Google Nexus One August 8, 2014

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Mi Home Launcher 3.0.0 Update
(Also refers to Resurrection of Nexus One by MIUI dated May 26, 2014 in this blog.)

The latest Mi Home Launcher 3.0.0 by Xiaomi MiUI has been released. Here’s the version a must have for those who still own and operate the 1st generation of Google Nexus One.
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With the latest Mi Home Launcher that could operate smoothly on Nexus One’s Android Gingerbread 2.3.7, it is not too surprising to enjor good user experience of fluid UI and apps functioning on this 3.8″ Google phone.

Don’t wait, just do it now!

Afternote: Aug 9, 2014
This morning the latest yet version MiHome launcher 3.1.0 notification for download arrived. So I have again updated accordingly.
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The MiHome Launcher is really marvelous. Very smooth and stable.

Google Now Launcher Compatible With Acer A1~810 and Sony xPeria M2 August 2, 2014

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My Acer A1~810 though was already downloaded with Google Now Launcher 6 month ago via sideload of APK, yesterday it officially received the notification from Play Store for the Aug 1st update. See below screenshots.

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Today my Sony Xperia M2 has also installed the official Google Now Launcher from Play Store…
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