Got an Xperia Z3 and a home address somewhere in the Kingdom of Sweden? Sony wants your help with testing its next round of software updates for Android, which the company has rounded up in an initiative it's calling "Android concept." The goal, says Sony, is to develop new software "from the ground up," meaning a stripped down test build, featuring only the core Google communications software and Sony's stack of custom apps like Camera, Music, and Xperia Lounge.
"The idea is that we evaluate and iteratively adapt the experience based on user input," a Sony spokesperson tells The Verge. Testers will receive a new build of the software every week, with changes being dictated by the feedback they provide. Based on Android 5.1, this concept software seems more like a staging ground for trying out discrete features and tweaks to the operating system rather than a cohesive user experience. Sony will run the trial between July 27th and September 13th, placing the focus squarely on improving "Sony Mobile’s overall Android experience first and foremost."
At the same time, Sony hopes that this more transparent and open workflow will help it bond with its users and really grasp what their needs and wants are. By responding to pre-release feedback of this kind, Sony is also endeavoring to "bring the latest Android versions to users quicker, with shorter release cycles." All good in theory, now let's see what comes out of it in practice.
Correction: The article originally stated that Sony's test build would be provided without Google Play Services, which was inaccurate. We regret the error.