Mysterious Xperia J8010 'Sphinx' gets August security update, one step closer to final release?

Leaksters have plenty of ‘secret’ information sources to gather exclusive knowledge about a product long before retail release. It can be a snitch inside the maker company, someone on the production chain, an insecure server with CAD designs – the list just goes on. But we miss the most obvious candidate here – device firmware.

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The guys over XDA discovered the existence of Galaxy S10 5G variant as well as the codename by examining the firmware of S9+

Samsung developed One UI as the unified platform for their current gen flagships, retiring Samsung Experience UI. After a beta testing on Galaxy Note and S series, the stable update was eventually rolled out in 2018. Well, the shared codebase was enough to spot the reference of (then unknown) Galaxy S10 lineup.

Similar incidents happened with tons of Xiaomi phones as well. Not only the codename or crude configuration, but the files inside device firmware dumps also helped to pinpoint the camera specs or the availability in-display fingerprint scanner.

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The 64 MP camera from Redmi was discovered long before the official announcement

A mysterious phone from Sony was detected in the same way by digging the official firmware binaries. Carrying the codename ‘Sphinx’ with the model number J8010, the phone was surfaced on Sony update servers around the beginning of July.

Judging from the firmware, the phone should be available globally (including European countries). Upcoming IFA 2019 might be the place of official release by Sony, but that’s the speculation at this moment. We don’t know anything about the name of the phone, but it could be the 5G variant of Xperia 1.

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Source

As you can see, the codename of Xperia 1 is ‘Griffin’ while Xperia 10 and 10 Plus are dubbed as ‘Kirin’ and ‘Mermaid’ respectively. The pattern of using names of mythical creatures certainly rings a bell – if not Xperia 1 5G, ‘Sphinx’ might be the one from the rumored Xperia 1s/1v duo.

Here is the fascinating thing about this bewildering device: Sony periodically publishes monthly security updates for it! The phone was detected with software version 55.0.B.0.473 (June patch), and later received 55.0.B.0.521 (July patch). Believe it or not, Sony is now pushing 55.0.B.0.567 update for Xperia Sphinx with August patchset!

xperia_sphinx_55.0.B.0.567_build.prop
build.prop from the August security update (Source) (Click/Tap to zoom)

FYI, the whole Xperia 1 family recently got the August security patch, which also enabled the Side sense gestures on Xperia 10/10 Plus. Sphinx getting August update is yet another indication to the similarities between this strange phone and Xperia 1 lineup.

Sony fans, are you planning to buy a new 5G phone if the company will release it in the coming months? Let us know by commenting below.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.