Sony Ericsson confirms unchanged kernel for Android 4.0 ICS release

by XB on 5th January 2012

in Android, Firmware

Android LinuxSony Ericsson Developer Karl-Johan Dahlström has confirmed that the company’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update will use the same linux kernel that it is currently using for existing software. The Xperia Android 2.3.4 software is using the 2.6.32 linux kernel (as is the alpha ICS ROM from Sony Ericsson) and it was hoped that the final ICS update would use a newer kernel

For those unaware, the kernel sits between the hardware and the rest of the software stack. Android relies on the kernel for services such as security, memory/power/processor management, network stack, and the driver model. The Sony Ericsson linux kernel has been superseded by newer versions such as 2.6.35, 2.6.39 or even 3.0. The advantage of a newer kernel is the introduction of new features and optimisations.

Dahlström said that the main reason the kernel will remain unchanged is that Sony Ericsson wanted to release ICS as quickly as possible. Here’s what he had to say over at xda-developers: “It is rather quick to get a new kernel up and running, but it takes a lot of testing and validation to make it stable and run with the modem, get a good battery performance etc. Quite some effort has been put in to the Sony Ericsson 2.6.32 kernel, to make it as stable and reliable as possible for the 8255 platform, and we do not feel that the user benefit of a new kernel would justify a later release date.

What is not clear from that statement is whether an updated linux kernel is planned post the ICS Xperia update. We applaud Sony Ericsson for trying to get ICS out as quickly as possible for Xperia users, however with other prominent Android manufacturers using more up-to-date kernels for their ICS builds, we hope Sony Ericsson follows suit in due course.

  • A step back..!!

  • I respect them wanting to get ICS out quickly, but I hope they also work quickly to upgrade the kernel shortly thereafter!

  • Daz

    Sony also rushed the x10 gingerbread update and it resulted in glitchy firmware with no futher updates. Here’s hoping my Arc wont be a repeat of that…

  • i’m a gamer

    okay guys

    let’s believe sony , hope to update kernel as quick as update ICS :)

    i’m in love with my beautiful xperia play :)

  • Rene Pedroso

    People are never satisfied

  • Anonymous

    A shame yes, but me and the majority of people did not know this before you brought it to our attention – my point being that to the average consumer it makes no difference to us, or a difference we’d notice. But what we would notice is a delay in getting making the update available whether it’d be 2 months now, and 4 if they had decided to changed the kernel.

    Get the ICS update out asap looks great for the company as it is seen by all, however delaying this because of a kernel which isn’t as well known probably doesn’t make sense.

    That said hopefully they will change it soon after they realise ICS.

  • Amolkhedkar7

    please Sony, provide us the update with the latest kernel

  • Anonymous

    If they are forced into a releasing it with a 3.0 kernel, that’s exactly what will happen.

    They are saying, they got great performenace, stability and battery life from 2.6.32, and it makes sense to do ICS ontop of that, rather than introduce a load of problems and delays.

    To me that makes perfect sense.   I really don’t care if we ever see a newer kernel, I just want one that works as best as possible.   I doubt there are any tangible benefits from a newer kernel anyway (aside from closed rooting holes).

  • so to all guys around who are disappointed: what sense makes a new kernel?
    i checked the whole changelog list since 2.6.32 until 3.1 and there is NOTHING that effects the android system at all… all changes are just for x86 systems and USB3.0 support and that doesn’t matter for us…. 

    so at the moment there is absolutely no use of a new kernel!

  • boosook

    Come on guys, SE is right. They know that their hardware works well with the 2.6.32 kernel and there’s no need to upgrade, you would not even notice the difference and they would have to test again the hardware with a new kernel that would not bring any noticeable improvement in a smartphone.
    People here just want to complain about everything: they want SE to release ICS fast but they want a new kernel, they want SE to update to ICS phones that are 2 years old and so on.
    SE is doing an excellent work in upgrading the whole 2011 line to ICS. If you want the latest kernel and you want it now, just use the Cyanogen. You will have some bugs but the latest android distribution and kernels.
    But the SE firmware must be stable and bug free, they must release to million of users and 99% of them do not even know what a kernel is. Imagine if their phones would start crashing… what should SE say? “oh, the phone crashes, but we gave you the latest kernel! Aren’t you happy?”, and them the same people here who are yelling because SE is not using the latest kernel would fill the forums crying that their phones crash.
    SE cannot rush into things just because a bunch of nerds (no offence intended, I’m a nerd too…) wants the latest kernel, just because… it is the latest.

  • joe

    … or people do not know what it does mean. I bet many of them think only that x is greater than y. numbers :-)
    SE go for stability and security…)

  • Danh Thanh Tâm

     I really don’t understand, new kernel 3.x must be better than 2.6? How can we say new FW is ICS if that isn’t buid in ICS?

  • Joaquin Padilla Rivero

    What is important for us and is brought by new kernels: better power and memory management and improved file support. Using a newer kernel would certainly be influential in a performance increase and.
    I understand Sony Ericsson’s rationale for not updating the kernel, but it’s a bigger problem than one could think.

  • Anonymous

    Do you have any evidence that shows performance and better memory management on newer kernels since 2.6.32? What file systems can you name that are useful on a mobile phone have been added since then?? None…
    Almost all recent Linux kernel changes are desktop and kernel driver related.. I’d be very surprised to see any real performance increase, and intact the opposite may be true that newer kernels are slightly more bloated than the current tuned and refined Kernel.
    Sent from something that’s not an iphone.

  • Joaquin Padilla Rivero

    I’m using of course the Linux Kernel changelog. And about useful file systems, I see changes in Ext4 and CIFS, which are of common use.

    However, the best evidence is to use CM7, which uses 2.6.35 and is way smoother than Sony’s official ROMs.

  • Anonymous

    I have a ARM based Sheevaplug, it’s even less power than my Xperia, and it’s got bangupto date 3.2 Linux kernel.  If I load an old 2.6.3x kernel I notice no difference whatsoever.

    I only keep it patched for a security aspect.   I really don’t understand why some people think a new kernel will magically transform their phone.   All the goodness and performance gains are in the userspace and modules (which can be compiled as 2.6.32 modules without problem).

    I for one couldn’t care less about an older but rock-solid kernel, but WOULD be interested to know if it comes with the new Qualcom video drivers/libraries than promise a double in speed.  NOW THAT’S where the gains are to be had.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very common sense approach from SE that has many advantages and hardly any disadvantages for the end user.

  • Samuel Serafim

    I believe sony is doing right put new ics as early possible. This will bring a very good marketing and good visibility for Sony doing this.

  • Samuel Serafim

    I believe sony is doing right put new ics as early possible. This will bring a very good marketing and good visibility for Sony doing this.

  • IsBliss

    “the best evidence is to use CM7, which uses 2.6.35 and is way smoother than Sony’s official ROMs.”
    Maybe you mean no evidence at all… It is a completely different ROM and you have no way of knowing that it’s because of the kernel. Classical logical fallacy. Read up on

    “If you use the 2.6.35 kernel, your ROM will be fast.
    CM7 is fast.
    Therefore, CM7 is fast because of the 2.6.35 kernel”


  • I can’t wait, I hope its OTA since my bootloader is lockedddd…

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  • Sebcau

    Boosook : ”
     They know that their hardware works well with the 2.6.32 kernel and there’s no need to upgrade”  

    Ok, good reason, i agree, but this kernel don’t allow me to root my Ray’s phone… I just want to install Titanium Backup and uninstall apps that i never use, i can’t ! why do they block this kind of BASIC functionality ?? 
    When people try to do this kind of actions, developpers should push an alert on the phone informing that the action can damage the system, but please let us free to install or uninstall apps.

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  • The Xperia Ion is shipping with for its stock Gingerbread. So maybe there’s hope.

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