Good news for those of you who own a Sony Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V or Xperia Ray. The company has released an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich beta ROM for your devices that you can install, right now, if you want to get an early look at what Ice Cream Sandwich is going to look like on your phone.
Keep in mind, this will not be the final version that Sony releases in the future and you’ll also need to unlock the bootloader on your phone in order to get the ROM up and running properly.
Oh, and there is also the possibility that the process might brick your phone rendering it unusable and probably putting you out more than a few dollars. So again, make sure that you really, really want to use Android 4.0 in its early state before you attempt this.
The beta build here is significantly upgraded over the alpha build that Sony had previously released.
- 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 – 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.
- 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.
Keep in mind, things like Gmail, Face Unlock and Google Maps will not work when using this ROM. That means that this probably won’t end up being your daily driver but that’s not Sony’s intention here.
Instead, it wants feedback in order to help make the final product the best piece of software that it can possibly be.
It’s nice to see Sony taking such an interest in the development community and we wish companies like Motorola would follow suit. This is the kind of thing that not only brings in consumers but keeps them loyal.
(Read: This Is Why I Love Asus.)
For those of you that are interested, you’ll want to head to Sony’s Developer World to get started.