Even though Sony announced that most of its Xperia devices will receive the Android 4.4 KitKat firmware eventually (the leaked info are stating that the OTA will be rolled out starting from February next year), it is still unclear whether handsets like the Xperia Sola will enjoy the latest Android flavor or not. So, if you are tired of waiting, you can choose an alternative solution, a solution that guarantees Android 4.4 for your Xperia Sola. But this solution is including CM 11 custom ROM, so it is up to you if you want or not to use and complete this step by step guide.
Why am I saying that? Well, mainly because CM11 is a custom ROM, so an unofficial update that has nothing to do with Sony or with Google. So, if you want to update your Xperia Sola with CM 11 Android 4.4 KitKat firmware, then you will first have to prepare your handset as this is not an OTA update and the same can be installed only in some conditions. But that’s not a problem as the pre requisites can be easily performed – there are suitable tutorials for you.
What it is relevant though is related to the warranty of your Sony Xperia Sola. By completing this guide, and also by applying the pre requisites which are being described below, you will use an unofficial operation, which is complex and somehow risky. Because of that you should be careful as if something bad happens you can end up in bricking your phone. But that’s not the worst part; the warranty of your Sola will get void. If something bad happens (unlikely if you stick to this tutorial) don’t panic because the warranty can be afterwards restored.
For restoring the warranty you just have to downgrade your handset to stock Android OS, or you have to apply or flash an official release of the same. Take note that on a smartphone that is installed with a custom ROM your Xperia Sola will not be able to receive OTA updates. Because of that you will have to apply the official updates only manually by using dedicated step by step guides, just like the present one.
Now, this version of CM 11 is not the official release of the firmware. In fact, the update has been developed by those of xda-developers and we should thank them for this tutorial. Even though we are not dealing with the official CM11 OS (those of CM had just provided the stable CM10.2 system which is based on Android 4.3), you shouldn’t worry as according to those who have already tested the software on the Xperia Sola, there aren’t major problems or bugs included on the system – Android 4.4 KitKat based CM 11 can be installed for a daily use (this should be your conclusion).
The best is that with CM 11 you can finally improve the performances of your Sony Xperia Sola, and this at the same time as using Android 4.4 OS. With CM11 you can bump the speeds, upgrade the battery life, enjoy a better web browsing experience, optimize the performances and change the looks and the classic Android user interface. Therefore, you have all the reasons for completing this step by step guide.
But as I have mentioned several times now, before installing CM11 on your Xperia Sola, you will first have to prepare your smartphone for the flashing operation that will follow. Start by unlocking the bootloader of your Sony Xperia Sola. As you know the bootloader is a small program that runs each time you power on your Android phone; basically the bootloader loads the in-built programs and the OS form the ROM memory into the RAM one. Well, you need to unlock the bootloader for removing some in built restrictions that are preventing from root.
As you can already tell, the next thing to do will be to root your Sony Xperia Sola. By rooting you will remove the factory and default restrictions from your phone, so that you can obtain or gain access to the internal system of your device. Since CM 11 can be installed only on rooted handsets, this operation isn’t an option for you.
After unlocking the bootloader and gaining root access you need to install the latest version of CWM or TWRP recovery on your Sola. These are custom recovery images that are used for performing operations like: install a .zip file from the SD card (that’s why you need to install the tool if you want to flash CM11 firmware), wipe the system, clear the cache, and so on. Similar with root, it is essential to complete this operation if you want to safely use this step by step guide.
Now, in order to avoid the unpleasant situations, you should use the custom recovery you have installed previously for making a Nandroid backup. With a Nandroid backup you can save the current ROM, which means that you will be able to easily restore the same in case the CM 11 Android 4.4 system is buggy or if the firmware isn’t working properly on your Sony Xperia Sola. Then, you should also backup all that’s important for you as the system of your handset will get wiped out. So, at least save the contacts, call logs, text messages, market apps, and your personal data, info and accounts.
Since this is a manual update operation you will need to use a computer, your smartphone and its USB cable. On the computer there shouldn’t be installed (disable if different) any security programs and on your phone the USB debugging option must be checked (if not go to “menu – settings – developer options). Also the battery of your Sola must be charged, or the power should be more than 50%, else your device might get turned off in the middle of the installation procedure. Install CM 11 on your Xperia Sola by using this tutorial and don’t use the steps from below if you own a different or similar Android based device.
How to Install CM 11 Custom ROM on Xperia Sola and Update to Android 4.4 KitKat Firmware
- Download the CM11 firmware from here.
- Then, from here download the Google apps package.
- Save the files on your computer.
- Place it on desktop but don’t unzip any of the downloaded files.
- Up next, plug in the USB cable and connect your Xperia Sola with your computer.
- Copy-paste or just drag and drop the downloaded files on your phone’s SD card.
- Disconnect your phone from the computer – unplug the USB cord.
- Turn off your handset and enter recovery mode.
- Learn how to reboot in recovery mode.
- From recovery select “wipe data factory reset” and “wipe cache partition”.
- Go back, select “advance” and pick “wipe dalvick cache”.
- Go back and this time select “install zip from SD card” followed by “choose zip from SD card”.
- Just pick the Android 4.4 firmware file and flash the same.
- Repeat the process and install Google apps on your Xperia Sola.
- Return to recovery menu, select “reboot system now” and you are done.
- If your phone will get stuck in a boot loop, return to recovery and select “wipe data factory reset” and “wipe cache partition”.
- Also, if you have experienced any other problems, go here and use our dedicated step by step guide.
Good job; you have successfully installed Android 4.4 KitKat based CM 11 custom ROM firmware on your Sony Xperia Sola. So now you can experience the latest features, apps and capabilities released by Google on your own Android based device without waiting for the official update to be made available. So, what do you say, are you enjoying CM11 or you rather prefer another software instead?