Sony details ICS upgrades for Xperia smartphones, warns about stability

By Lee Kaelin on

Sony revealed the timeline for upcoming Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) updates to their Xperia range of smartphones on their blog Friday, as well as suggesting that they are set to receive the update prior to their tablet models. 

"Our developers have been hard-at-work to ensure we’re on track and the highest standards are met to deliver you the best possible user experience on Xperia 2011 smartphones with the upgrade to Android 4.0 platform release," Sony’s blog post read.

The Android ICS upgrades will begin in mid-April with the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray the first handsets to receive the eagerly awaited mobile OS release. Sony stated they would be rolled out starting in Mid-April over a 4-6 week period.

Sony will then follow up with updates to the remainder of the Xperia range at the end of May to the beginning of June. So those with an Xperia arc, Xperia Play, Xperia neo, Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia active and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman will receive the ICS update as well.

As is expected, Sony was also keen to point out that the exact time depends on the customer's individual operator, and the time they take to customize the ICS experience before releasing it to their handset owners.

Unlike other previous updates though, this will not be provided in Android’s typical over the air fashion via Wi-Fi or 3G. The update will need to be downloaded to your computer and the handset upgraded whilst connected to the computer using PC Companion (or Bridge for Mac).

Confusingly though, Sony appears to be suggesting that the new ICS release might not be completely stable on some Xperia models. In a separate post, they stated, "maybe you will prefer the new UI in ICS, or do you give a higher priority to the extreme stability of the Gingerbread platform?"

It continued, "we are actually proud to say that our Gingerbread software is very stable and has great performance, so it’s not a bad idea to stay on this release. Ice Cream Sandwich is more intensive, for example in terms of resource usage… On the other hand, ICS brings a refined UI and some nice new features."

It appears that Sony is concerned that their 2011 models, which feature 512MB of RAM, will struggle with ICS due to the OS and apps consuming slightly more RAM than they do with their current Gingerbread version.

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