Sony had promised that all Xperia smartphone released in 2011 will get Ice Cream Sandwich update in March 2012. Sony has released an Ice Cream Sandwich beta ROM for Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V, and the Xperia Ray. The introduces a number of new features and improvements. Most importantly, the ROM now offers a working GSM modem and an FM radio.
Sony also made changes to the user interface, but Sony says that it is working to keep up some of the elements that users love, while adding little bits of Ice Cream Sandwich. Sony provides a complete changes in post on its Developer World blog:
- Updated UI – We hope you will be happy to see that we have added a number of UI elements from ICS, as well as some new UI features already introduced in the Xperia™ S we announced in January.
- Lockscreen and Face Unlock – We have added a shortcut to the camera directly from the lockscreen. Also, when you’re listening to music you can control the music player without unlocking the phone by using the music control icons on the lockscreen. In the coming final ICS upgrade, we will also include the face unlock app from Google for all phones that has a front-facing camera.
- Connectivity turned on – Since we published the ICS alpha ROM, the GSM modem and FM radio have passed the certification and type approval, and they are therefore turned on in this ICS beta release.
- Updated email client – The UI has been updated, and simplified email management has been added.
- Quick dial – We have added a quick and easy way for you to make phone calls. See how it works in the ISC beta ROM demo video.
Those are great improvements, but the beta ROM is not suitable for daily use. It does not support Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections, you certainly don’t want lose these two features from your main device. Sony recommends that only “advanced developers with extensive knowledge in how to install, and switch between different ROMs” install the preview release.
If you want to see how does Ice Cream Sandwich look like on XPERIA devices, Check out the Sony’s demonstration video above.