This is the first process to rooting your device, after unlocking your bootloader you will have the freedom to load whichever Kernels, Roms & /tweaks you wish.
We'll it is recommended that you understand exactly what this means before you start as there could be complications and we would hate for anyone to turn their beloved smart phone into an expensive paper weight. Effectively what you are doing when rooting your phone is removing the Sony Ericsson software and running different software packages which can improve certain performances and features but then take away some official ones. Warning when you have done this first step you will lose ability to update new software from Sony and it will void your warranty.
Before you try this first stage your phone must be unlocked to any network with generic software [Example non generic, ??? network provider branded software/apps] if not dont bother will not work.
Please note - You will only be able to unlock certain versions of these devices please check sonys web site for more info
.List of 2011 Sony Ericsson Xperia devices that can be unlocked
List of 2012 Sony Xperia devices that can be unlocked
Click here for Sony ericsson official instructions or Xperiagamer.com in depth instructions below.
Phase 1 : Unlocking Boot Loader
First thing is to download the two packages you will need for unlocking boot loader - Fast Boot Package at click here and the Sony Ericsson Drivers at click here. Once you have downloaded them you will have to extract them. These are .rar files so if you don't have a rar expander software package, get one! The one we use is... Recommend that you create a dedicated folder for all things to do with this project.
Now that you have extracted them the next thing you need to is find your xperia play IMEI number. You will need this to get your bootloader unlock code from the SE website. To see your phone's IMEI number dial *#06#. This will show the IMEI number. Keep the screen like that. Don't press OK just yet. * Now visit this site in your PC http://unlockbootloader.sonyericsson.com/instructions. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Continue. Accept the Terms and Conditions then you will be asked for your IMEI number, Name and Email. Fill them in and submit it. You will then be given your unlock key, this key you will need for the next phase.
Phase 2 : Unlocking Boot Loader
Next step is connecting your Xperia device to your PC in fast boot mode. So first Switch Off your phone. Then holding the Search Button (2011 range) or hold vol up (2012 range) on your phone connect the USB Cable. Windows will show an error in installing the drivers. This is where we use the Drivers we downloaded earlier. Now open Device Manager from Control Panel by clicking:
Start> Control Panel> Hardware & Sound> Devices & Printers
Your phone will appear in Other devices drop down Menu under S1Boot Fastboot. Double click this to open your device, you will notice that it will state the drivers are not installed for this device. These are the drivers that were downloadd at the beginning, so we just need to manually assign these to your device. To do this, right click Properties as show below then:
Properties> Hardware> Change Settings> Update Drivers
Click on Browse for Driver Software. Select the Folder to which you extracted the drivers (All the Folders need to be included so be sure to select a folder that has all these folders as sub-folders) and Click Next. Click on Install Anyway in the Warning that Appears. The Installation should finish in a few seconds.
Now that your phone has its drivers installed we can begin the actual unlocking process. Open the fastboot_with_Android_USB_file folder that you downloaded earlier and whilst holding down shift, right click on the fastboot folder and then select Open Command Prompt here. Once Command Prompt is open type fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce getvar version This command is to ensure that your phone is properly connected. If your phone is properly connected this will retrieve a version number. It should return a value like "0.3". Next type in fastboot.exe -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0xKEY Replace KEY with the Key you got earlier from the Sony Ericsson Website. Press Enter. This will take a few seconds to finish executing.
That's it! Now just unplug your Xperia device and your bootloader should now be unlocked and you are ready to root your device. There is a variety of different Kernels and Roms available and require different installation processes, so please take your time to read our reviews on them to decide which one is for you.
If you do incounter any problems there is much help on the web like the xda developers forums that can help you fix things it is very hard to brick your android device and there are normaly fixes for most issues so try not to worrie thankyou.