Sony brings a taste of KitKat to the original Xperia Z Series


Sony is finally rolling out its long-awaited Android 4.4 KitKat update to its first Z Series devices, including the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, and the Xperia Tablet Z. In addition to performance improvements and user interface optimizations, the update overhauls Sony’s entire built-in app portfolio and adds new features, including Xperia Themes.

By adding the latest version of Android to these devices, Sony is bringing last year’s flagships a little closer to this year’s in terms of software and features. The release adds a number of apps and services that will refresh the user experience and give owners new ways to customize and enjoy their device.

Sony has revamped its status bar and quick settings menu to make it more intuitive and easier to use, while its default launch animation and live wallpaper resembles that of the PlayStation 4’s. And if you don’t like the default look, you can now change it in a snap with Xperia Themes, Sony’s own customization platform that lets you skin almost 300 assets on your Xperia device — including its icons and buttons, navigation panes and bars, and accent colors.

Sony has also overhauled its entire built-in app catalog to add new features and make improvements. You’ll find design changes and better Emoji support in Messaging, better navigation and split-screen mode in Email, and better Sony Entertainment Network integration in Walkman, Album, and Movies.

The update also adds Battery STAMINA Mode, a feature added to this year’s Xperia devices that offers smart power management to help you prolong your battery life. Finally, users will also find support for the Sony SmartBand SWR10.

This update is rolling out now to the devices listed above in “select markets,” and others will follow later, Sony says. Android 4.4 KitKat will also come to the Xperia T2 Ultra, Xperia E1, and Xperia M2 starting in July.