While many top end devices find themselves in the heaven of the third party developer community, there are still some Android powered smartphones out there that live their entire life as middle end droids, and often strive to get some decent developer attention. This is the case with Sony Xperia Neo V, as it was original meant as a middle class device, but has since been overshadowed by the latest Sony NXT lineup. Nevertheless, some very well prepared developers have still stuck with the Xperia Neo V, and they have come up with what is currently the best Android 4.0 ICS custom ROM for their devices, the Spacious, smooth and light ICS Custom ROM. The name may be a handful, but its features fully justify it.
As this software is still in its development phase, you should still see some minor bugs in it, but they will be sorted out as soon as possible in the following ROM updates. Meanwhile, we would also like you to read our disclaimer notice: This software is not our creation so we must warn you that you cannot hold us responsible for any damage that might occur to your device by following the procedures in this guide. However, we will try to help you sort out any glitches or problems that might arise by following the steps in this guide to the extent our knowledge limits us. Proceeding any further into this guide means that you have read and accepted the notice above.
As always, this update should only be applied to the Sony Xperia Neo V, and if you own even a very similar device you should just update to a custom ROM specific to it. While the reasons to update to this particular ROM would be numerous, we will just resume to the basic feature list the Spacious, smooth and light ICS comes with:
- Based on official stock ICS firmware for Neo V
- Rooted and busybox (latest su binary and Superuser.apk)
- 12 Notification toggles with QuickPanel app for editing them
- Many bloatware apps removed
- File manager (ES File explorer) added
- Google maps navigation unlocked for the whole world – credits brutall,ownhere.
- Battery life is very good (thanks to the Night-elf kernel)
- UOT kitchen compatible
- Free 400 MB space
- Odex ROM
You can also check out the screen shots below to get an idea about how this ROM actually looks like while running on the Neo V:
Next up we will be taking a look at how you can back up your personal data, as it will be erased while updating to this custom ROM. We will be using some third party apps and procedures because the official Sony software cannot recognize any custom firmware’s out there:
- Text messages – We will back them up with the following application : SMS Backup & Restore
- Phone Contacts – You can simply synchronize them to your Gmail account or export them to the micro SD card as a .vcf file
- Call Log – We will use the following application to backup your call log : Call Log Backup and Restore
- Pictures, Music, Videos, and other files – Simply copy them to your microSD card.
- Internet & MMS Settings – Write down all the settings from this path “Applications > Settings > Wireless and Network > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names”
As you may have guessed, you also need to set up your Xperia Neo V and your personal computer to meet some minimum safety requirements. These requirements are in place to ensure that your device does not fail the updating process, so please make sure you read and follow them carefully:
- The first very important requirement is that your Sony Xperia Neo V must be charged to at least 70% of its battery capacity in order to prevent it from accidentally powering off during the updating procedure.
- Make sure that your Xperia Neo V is already running a rooted firmware, and that it has the ClockworkMod Recovery properly installed.
- You also need to have the Android SDK properly installed on your computer.
- Another very important aspect that needs your attention is the one regarding the disabling of any antivirus or other security related software on your computer. These tools tend to interfere with the updating software so it is better to turn them off during the procedure.
- You will also need to enable the USB Debugging setting that you can find by going to Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging. And while you are at this you should also make sure that you have the original USB cable that came with your Xperia Neo V.
From here on things will get a little bit tricky, as you also have to update to a new kernel in order to make the most out of the Smooth ICS Custom ROM. This is not a very hard thing to do, but if you are a rookie in Android updating you should read the lines below very, very carefully and make sure you do not forget any of them:
- You will start by downloading this Night Elf Kernel and placing it in the Platform-Tools folder located in the Android SDK folder, which can usually be found at: C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk.
- Next up you will have to restart your Xperia Neo V into boot loader mode, and the easiest way of doing this is to press and hold the Menu Key while connecting your device to the computer using its original USB cable.
- Now you will have to open the CMD window by pressing the Windows Key and the R key from your computer keyboard and typing cmd and pressing enter. From here you will have to navigate to the place where you have installed the Android SDK: C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk and go again to the Platform-Tools folder.
- Once in the Platform-Tools folder you will have to type the following: “Fastboot devices”- this command will let you see if ADB sees your Xperia Neo V.
- Next up you will have to type: “fastboot flash recovery boot_ne_ics_beta-v1_rc2-zram.img” and after that type “fastboot reboot”.
Now all you have to do is wait for the program to do its job and update your Neo V with a new kernel image, after which you can move on to the next part of our guide where we will update your Neo V with the actual custom ROM.
Installing the new ROM on your device might seem a little bit tricky after the last part, but we assure you it is easier. With this in mind you should also make sure that you do not skip any of the steps below:
- We will start this part by downloading this Smooth ICS Custom ROM package and then placing in the root folder of your Neo V’s memory card. Make sure you do not place the file in any subfolders, as you will have a hard time finding it later on.
- In this next step you will have to power down your Xperia Neo V and restart it into Recovery Mode. You can do this by pressing and holding the Volume Up and Volume Down keys and then pressing the Power Key until you are presented with the ClockworkMod Recovery start screen.
- This next step is all about cleaning up, so you will have to select the Wipe data/factory reset & Wipe Cache partition options from the Recovery and wait for them to finish. This is done to ensure that the new ROM gets a fresh and clean install.
- In the fifth step you will update to the Spacious, smooth and light ICS Custom ROM by selecting the options labeled: Install zip from sd card -> Choose zip from sd card, and then choosing Zip file you placed earlier in the root of your microSD card.
- Now all you have to do is wait for the software to install. Once it has done so, you will have to press the back key on your Neo V and select the Reboot now option from the main menu of the Recovery.
If everything worked out as we planned, you should now have an Xperia Neo V running the Spacious, smooth and light ICS Custom ROM, which will land you in the select area of Android devices that are able to fluently run Android 4.0 ICS.
If something went wrong along the way we advise you to restart this guide and make sure you follow all the steps in it. If you still cannot get your Neo V to run this custom Rom you should write us a line below and we will try our best to help you.