Sony Mobile has today launched the Beta ROM of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the 2011 range of Xperia handsets. This follows Sony Ericsson releasing the Alpha ROM in the middle of December. The Sony Xperia developer team says that this new beta ROM has passed some certifications mainly surrounding the modem, FM radio and GSM. There are more certifications required before it can be released to the public as an official upgrade. This is stll scheduled to commence from late March onwards.
The main changes versus the previous alpha include an updated UI (mainly features from the official ICS software), quick dial, an updated email client, lockscreen (with direct camera accessibility and music player control). The GSM and FM radio have also been switched on in this beta release, which means you’ll actually be able to make calls without resorting to a mod.
The main features NOT included are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Google apps such as Gmail and Google Maps. Sony Mobile also confirmed that the final ICS upgrade software will include the face unlock app for all Xperia handsets that have a front facing camera. This is also not included in the current beta.
As before, this beta update from Sony Mobile is only released for three handsets (the Xperia arc S, Xperia neo V and Xperia ray). You need to be running at least software version number 4.0.2.A.0.42 before upgrading. You will also need to have your bootloader unlocked. Click here for all of the download links.
Users of other 2011 handsets, including Xperia arc, neo and PLAY owners, will need to wait for the whizzkids over at xda-developer to port over this latest release to your handset. However, given previous experience, we’d expect some developments in the next few days.