Tutorial to Flash Firefox OS ROM on Sony Xperia E

Firefox OS in Sony - A Concept

Within a week of announcing to roll out a Firefox powered mobile, Sony Mobile has taken a step forward by releasing a ROM of pre-built Firefox OS for its Xperia E. At the Sony Developer Website, the new ROM has been put up for download, evaluation and testing purposes for the curious public. Xperia E meets all the preliminary hardware requirements of Firefox OS and thus a good platform to test the features of the new OS.

According to Sony, “Now we’re ready to share our initial experiments on Firefox OS with the tech community, to get valuable feedback. More importantly, we want to reach out to the application community and support the early adopters who can start to develop applications for Firefox OS. Therefore, Sony experts Andreas Sandblad and Per Åstrand have put to together an experimental Firefox OS ROM for you to flash on Xperia™ E.”

Note that this ROM is experimental and not ready for daily use. In their website they clearly state this is intended only for the dev folks and the nerds not a regular users. Nevertheless, we’ll show you how to flash your Xperia E with the new ROM. But before that, a small intro for our cute little fox.

Firefox OS is a new mobile platform built entirely on the top of open web standards. It is based on the idea of taking the web application model a step further and enabling support for all types of applications. It is designed to allow HTML5 applications to communicate directly with the device’s hardware using JavaScript.

The Firefox OS is built over the Linux kernel, similar to Android. The operating system consists of three parts: Gonk, Gecko and Gaia. Gonk consists the heart of the operating system (the kernel) and a user space hardware abstraction layer (HAL). The kernel and several user space libraries are borrowed from common open-source projects like the Linux, libusb, BlueZ (linux Bluetooth stack), and Android. In fact, Gonk is basically an extremely simple stripped-down Linux distribution, optimized for mobile architectures. Gecko is the layout engine used in Firefox.

In Firefox OS, it functions as the graphics stack and Gaia is the user interface of Firefox OS and implements a lock screen, home screen, telephone dialler, text-messaging application, and camera app. Gaia is developed in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and interacts with the operating system through Open Web APIs, which are implemented by Gecko. Since it only uses standard web APIs, it can also work on any other OS or web-browser.

Before you start fiddling with your device. Be warned that, Flashing and Bootloader unlocking involves the potential risk of firearm or data corruption. Proceed at your own risk. At any means BlogZamana will not remain responsible for any rick of device.

This process involves flashing a custom ROM to your device. For flashing, you have unlock the boot loader which may void the warranty of your device. Remember that unlocking the bootloader is not revertible. Once done cannot be undone. Also you’ll not get any official updates from the manufacturer.

Note that this image is still in testing stage. For this many features such as radio connectivity and external storage (SD Card) access are not fully implemented and thus are unstable. This means that you may not make any phone calls or use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

  1. Unlock the device boot loader Sony’s unlock boot loader service. You’ll have to fill in a form with your device IMEI number and email address to get your unlock key which is device specific. The page also contains detailed instructions for unlocking the bootloader. Read the instructions carefully before attempting any sorts of mods. Jumping into conclusions might bite.
  2. Install the Flash tool for Xperia which is available on the Sony website here.
  3. Fire up the flash tool (Emma) from the Start Menu.
  4. Switch off your phone. Connect your mobile’s USB cable to the computer with Emma running and with the Volume Down key pressed, connect the other end of the cable to your mobile.
  5. The flash tool will detect your mobile and will show up the list of available images in the Service list. Select Firefox OS from the list. Click on “Apply Service”. Your phone will now be flashed. A word of warning, flashing will erase all your user data. Make sure to properly back up all information using a suitable back-up tool.
  6. After flashing, disconnect your phone from the computer and power it on. The first start-up will be a bit longer than usual so, don’t be impatient. If everything went well, your device is ready run Firefox O and you can start exploring your new OS.

To revert to Android from the Firefox OS software, simply select the standard Sony software version from the list of services and perform the rest of the task as mentioned.

Note that EVEN THE SLIGHTEST MISTAKE WILL BRICK YOUR DEVICE. DO STUFF AT YOUR OWN RISK. BlogZamana disclaims any responsibility for any kind of loss or brick of your device. Anyways, should you fall into any pits we’ll try to help you out. Just leave a comment if you have any doubt regarding the process.  Enjoy hacking!

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