Sony Mobile discusses the pros and cons of upgrading to ICS

by XB on 30th March 2012

in Android, Firmware

It seems that Sony Mobile wants you to think long and hard before you consider upgrading your 2011 Xperia from Gingerbread to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Sony has issued a revised timeline in terms of ICS update schedule earlier today, but what we found interesting is that Sony Mobile will not be sending handset notifications about the update, neither will they allow OTA updates. If you want to install ICS, it will have to be at your computer.

In a developer blog post, Sony Mobile has given a lot of detail on how ICS differs to Gingerbread and how this will affect the 2011 Xperia range. Ultimately users need to choose between two scenarios: 1) Carry on running Gingerbread which is very stable with “great performance” or 2) update to ICS which will bring new features but the flipside being greater drain on both CPU and memory resources that may impact the user experience.

We have to commend Sony Mobile for being so open about the potential impact of the ICS update on older devices, however if you read through the full post it almost puts you off wanting to upgrade. They cite several factors that are likely to slow the phone down including increased RAM usage, slower interaction with the SQL database and even hardware acceleration, which we had always assumed should speed things up!

One curious point is that when Sony talks about RAM usage this is what they say: “Our 2011 Xperia phones have 512MB RAM, while ICS was developed targeting a phone with 1GB RAM“. This does make us wonder why the 2012 Xperia U and Xperia sola phones both have 512MB RAM, it’s almost saying to users that these phones may run laggy and writing them off before they’ve even launched. Of course, the dual-core processors should help in terms of performance but it’s a strange statement to make nonetheless.

It’s not all bad news though, ICS will bring about a number of new features that is likely to outweigh the possible performance hit. Sony talks about the new Holo theme and modifying over a thousand icons to accommodate the new look. Other features include the activity manager, which allows you to close an app process by swiping it away, face unlock, visual voicemail and updated contacts & calendar.

For those interested in the details, the developer post is well worth a read. Sony Mobile is being quite open about possible performance issues which is a good thing and remember they are only one of the few companies who is updating their entire 2011 Android catalogue to ICS. Yes the small delay in rollout is disappointing, but we would rather it would be this way than releasing buggy firmware earlier.

  • Shaikilyas

    What Sony is know…..

    Should we upgrade to ICS or stick with Gingerbread….?????? Confused..

  • Xperia S rulez

    Shaikilyas, when you leave your phone without updates, you have more chance that the system will be stable, the firmwares and system updates increase chance of the unstable system… My Xperia S is the victim of the Sony’s Firmawes update, it stucks whole the time, especially when i play Paradise Island… :0

  • Hannad Ahmed

    Just update your phone , see if it appeals to you  #keep   or sucks # Downgrade to Gingerbread. It’s that easy ..

  • Shaikilyas

    Will Downgrading requires rooting, will it void my warranty???

  • Z..AV

    More random access memory is necessary? Give the chance to people to clean the Xperia appendices preset by you (officially)! Let everyone solves and chooses for itself that is necessary for it. Also don’t forget about 2.3.7 – develop it on model of 2011!

  • Gagigi

    Pfff . . . I will use ICS custom Rom from XDA. Next time,I won’t buy Sony Mobile. I wil buy HTC

  • Very mature of them being so open about it. I’ll update my arc, but I’ll probably leave my mini on gingerbread. But coding updates for the 2011-line is awesome, and goes to show that Sony is customer orientated!

  • I was planning on buying sola. Though a lot had been complaining about the phone only having 512 of RAM, it did not bother me that much since the 2011 Xperias performed quite well based on user testimonies in general. But after reading this, it was quite a disappointment. I wanted to have a feel of the user experience of ICS especially with the integration of Sony’s software expertise. Although I could stick to Gingerbread, it still not ICS.

  • Why, because Sony chooses to upgrade phones other companies wouldn’t bother with?

  • ICS will run fine on Sola, don’t worry.

  • Cholek3

     No, does not require rooting or unlocking bootloader. Just create FTF file. You can definitely find tutorial how to do it on XDA.

  • Anders

    My Nexus S, single core and 512MB is faster on 4.0.3 than my Galaxy Nexus 1024MB, dual core on 4.0.2.

    I wouldn’t worry that much for this update. It will be nice.

  • Fatman

    april fools?

  • Its quite easy . Upgrade it , not happy ? Downgrade it .

    Google says that device which running GB will be able to run ICS .
    SONY just saying the possibility it might not be that lag as they though as the beta rom works fine IMO . 

  • DiarmuidOBrien

    Kinda makes it easy to decide your next phone should be a Nexus, right?


  • Narf

    Why offer ICS to 2011 Xperia Portfolio in the first place if all this time they know there will be a performance hit?

    Personally, I don’t want to trade performance for new features or UI aesthetics. I think I’m good with Gingerbread.

    Targeted to 1GB-RAMed phones?
    Pretty stupid offering it to 512MB ones.
    My Xperia PLAY is sticking to GB. Period.

  • Raymond

    Ok, yeah they have a good point I guess I just want the new features of ics so I’ll give it a try nice one this blog is the best.

  • Yahona3

    I think that is the best solution.

  • Elroy_felecian

    So,without doubt i will buy samsung galaxy s 2…with ics…for so long waiting new updates bug that give a bad bad news

  • Roeshak

    One curious point is that when Sony talks about RAM usage this is what they say: “Our 2011 Xperia phones have 512MB RAM, while ICS was developed targeting a phone with 1GB RAM“. This does make us wonder why the 2012 Xperia U and Xperia sola phones both have 512MB RAM, it’s almost saying to users that these phones may run laggy and writing them off before they’ve even launched. Of course, the dual-core processors should help in terms of performance but it’s a strange statement to make nonetheless.
    Its like I said, the same demented company using the same demented tactics that previously failed in the hope that by some miracle, they’ll work this time around.
    The said the same crap about the x10 …..blah blah blah it can’t run gingerbread because of hardware limitations. Then they changed their mind, released it and what do you know, the phone ran far better than it ever ran on 1.6 or 2.1

    Look let me say it now LOUD AND CLEAR… if any of the these phones, 512mb or not, perform poorer with ics than they do with gingerbread….. I’ll quite literally put a gun to my own head and pull the damn trigger.
    SE…… fucking bastards.

  • A month late is better than never.

    They are optimizing it further more, for better user experience and bug free and hopefully they will encourage us to upgrade to 4.0 rather than dilemma choosing  2.3 and 4.0

    If we are to choose, I hope they will release 2.3.7 along side with 4.0.3 for Xperia 2011 for their PCC

  • ExiaZX

    so for the update, Idk wat should I do??? should I update my xperia ray or not

  • Hansip87

     Because people care more of ICS than the hardware limitation. They only care of the outside not the inside.. ;) so to bid in popularity, Sony must do an update for their lineup when in fact current OS is stable enough.

  • Hansip87

    well this article only gives you a precaution should you choose ICS. If you can bear with the weaknesses it bring to the device, that’s OK. At least they still promise for ICS, unlike X10 situation.

  • Punkrockxz

    April jokes?

  • Xperia

    Change the new 1GB ROM to the 2011 Xperia smartphone ….Ha ha …just a joke=D

  •  How about Xperia Neo L?? It runs 4.0 ICS but has the same specifications with 2011 Xperia™ phones..

  • Previously, all the models should design(RAM & ROM) to received the Upgrade performance. Not until now going to given the upgrade just tell us this piece of shit things, At the end, you mean that ICS is more suit with all the 2012 models?????

    It’s really a bullshit, next time don’t promise the consumers to say that all Xperia 2011 range can be upgraded. Sony are really disappointed us, instead of Sony Ericsson…!

  • Sharath Vasishta

    Sorry to disappoint you mate… I have both Nexus S and Gnex running on 4.0.4 and Gnex is much faster and snappier than Nexus S

  • Aldijed

    If the google nexus s can run ics then why are they pushing the idea of ics being very laggy on xperia 2011 range?  Its either sony needs to work on making the skin lighter, give us stock ics or they are just trying to make us upgrade to the Xperia 2012 range.

  • DragonClaw

    Right. That’s the question that needs to be asked to the Sony people. They need to answer it.

  • disappointed

    I’ve bought an xperia ray for its design and because It would have received ICS. This happened in november. Well ok it could keep running GB but my purchase was mainly because this terminal would have had ICS too. I’m very disappointed (not for the delay) and if ICS will not work as it should this is will be my last sony mobile! 

  • disappointed

     and please do not move “upgrade resposability” to users!

  • Narf

    Why can’t Google be like Microsoft then: like Windows 7 compared to previous iterations of Windows, the former is far superior in performance but resource-efficient at the same time, giving people with low-end PCs the capability to run W7. Just a thought. ;-)

  • Well about that X10 worked better than 1.6 and 2.1 its not really true. the fact is that many of us got biiiig troubles with that upgrade that wasnt really good. Some thing yes, worked like a sharm, but important key functions of SE didnt. So I guess thats why they do this, and write down the expektations, becuase of that X10 upgrade that didnt work to well.

  • XYZ

    You can still upgrade, its just that the Xperia Ray having last years technology (Single Core Snapdragon, 512MB RAM), may cause some performance issues.
    Its not Sony (Ericsson)’s fault that Ice Cream Sandwich has higher system requirements for it to work properly. Learn how technology works before saying stupid things.

  • XYZ

     Sola has a Dual Core processor, so it should be fine.

  • Zaryab

    Nexus S is having the same specifications as xperia 2011 phones

    its running ICS very well so why makinggg excuses Sony

  • Kanwar

    Sony is so contradicted

  • linuxx

    Well it’s no surprise for me. Sony is still behind schedule with its phone branch; whilst companies such as Samsung basically lead the way in mobile performance. The same as they did with the X10, giving it a Gingerbread update, late and laggy – the same they’re doing with the 2011 Xperia range. The saddest thing is that they aren’t doing anything for the future: they are releasing 2012 phones with 512 mb of RAM, knowing that ICS clearly needs 1GB to run smoothly. Basically, they are doing the same thing as 2 years ago, when thy first started the Xperia brand. Moreover, they started a campaign to quietly put off users from upgrading to ICS, because they know once they do that most will probably be more disappointed of the phone’s performance, than be excited about the new features.
    I’m really sad that things haven’t improved… after all, the lag and poor performance were the things that made me switch from the stock Gingerbread to Cyanogenmod on my X10.

  • IMO then sony shud include the jellybean update, that should solve their issues, and why is their 2012 with 512mb ram? why release phones with low ram in the first place? my htc desire released it 2010 has more ram than sony’s 2011 and 2012 model phones. lol. Atleast get the jelly bean update right!

  • Jamich

    I believe Xplay users can pretty surely upgrade to ICS if you are concerned about Game performance.

    Acording to XDA forums some games run even better (while some dont at all)

  • paul4id

    Just port the spell-checker back to Gingerbread and I’ll be happy!

  • paul4id

    You mean: Google – fucking bastards for coding ICS so badly!

  • paul4id

    Indeed, the flak here deserves to end at Google’s feet. What is it with many people these days who won’t dare to criticise the holy Google?

  • paul4id

    No, the fault lies with Google’s bad code, so why would you then give your money to the company responsible for the incompetence?

  • Asad Mulla

     good point. Does ICS have a spell checker. I would love that.

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  • RaxaBoo

     And scratch them with your dragon claws if they don’t answer!

  • RaxaBoo

     that’s a good idea. Or they could give us vouchers to buy one of their new phones which will run ICS properly.

  • Innocent_eyes52

    Nexus, neo L etc. all of them have the same amount of ram.
    just admit it sony, please say it frankly. “dont buy any phone which has 512mb ram”
    when i decided to buy neo v u r boasted about the new update of ics. now i see that ram is not so good for ics. just try to develop the software before u produce more models. better produce ics for mobiles, not mobiles for ics…


  • just don’t forget that nexus s has vanilla ics while sony devices will have heavily customised ics which is going to take a toll on phone’s performance……

  • don’t be stupid!!!!!!!!!!
    blame google for it, not sony…..

  • dude, sony never said that 2011 devices can’t run ics…
    they r saying that it won’t be same as gingerbread

  • just shut up u troll…!!!

  • Roeshak

    Sorry I totally disagree, for me the x10 performed markedly better with gingerbread than it did with the poor 1.6 and only slightly better 2.1
    This is just a fanboy site with folks just prepared to accept the vomit from a seriously dishonest company that repeatedly makes false claims and statements.
    I don’t have any of the 2011 phones because for me they all had dated hardware at the time of their release but I am entirely certain that ICS will run fine on them.
    Sony ericcson have always been reluctant participants in the ANDROID world. They hate having to update their phones. That’s why Nokia even with it’s dismal sales figures, refuses to touch android because they can’t stand it’s open and constantly evolving nature.
    HTC and Samsung in particular embrace android to the full and reap the rewards for it. Well done to them I say.
    Sony now that it has total control of what goes on, should either change tactics dramatically for 2013 or just leave android be. No point carrying on with this half hearted approach. Its obviously not working just selling phones to a small clan of loyalists.
    I am currently looking to get a new phone but the xperia s I will not touch until I see ICS on it first. If that happens to late then its the invisible galaxy s3 for me.
    We’ll see what Sony does without the crap from Ericsson in 2013. I’m Fed up Sony Ericsson phones which always either have dated hardware or dated software.
    I getting an upgrade and that’s that. I’ve been using gingerbread on my x10 for a while now and I’m not remotely interested in a new Gingerbread phone. That sort of defeats the purpose of an upgrade.

  • DiarmuidOBrien

    Because the Nexus runs ICS really well…

    You seem to have some pretty out there reasons for your purchase decisions. Have fun with that! (Meantime I’ll be whirring along on ICS on my Nexus – or maybe by HTC X One or Samsung GIII – while you’re poindextering around with your treacle slow Sony after you went ahead and updated.)

  • paul4id

    Google is acting worse than Microsoft of a decade ago. Instead of writing efficient software, Google is churning out bloated software which is requiring excessive hardware requirements to run. 1GHz and 512 MB RAM are way more than enough horsepower to do anything with – Nokia and Apple can make use of much lesser hardware than that, yet Google churns out bloat after bloat.

    The whole idea of “Nexus” devices also makes an absolute mockery of Google making an open operating system – Nexus devices simply shouldn’t exist – the source code should be available to all manufacturers at the same time and we should have a TRULY open development process were development can occur from parties other than Google – these other developers will be able to bring the skills necessary to counter-balance Google’s incompetence and desire to spy on us.

    PS: I’m quite happy with Gingerbread and would rather gouge my own eyes out than have to look at Roboto and Google’s ugly ICS theme.

  • Elroy_felecian

    Think twice..i will wait for the upgrade…passion is what we need…i will be fan of Sony..forever n ever…

  • what a shame, making phones knowing that they will not be up-gradable, galaxy nexus has similar specs and it worked. Why sony couldn’t?

  • disappointed

     256Mb ram and a decent GPU is enough for running quite smoothly ICS.
    It’s quite obvious if you hog resources with useless, fancy sparkling
    effects you need more bananas so the problem is not our 2011 cool xperia
    series. am I wrong?

  • me

    sony upgrade to ICS forces them to write code for their timescape custom ROM and their hardware.
    i just don’t understand why they don’t do an optimisationto their hardware and leave the very controversial SE-softwre for later!!!!!!!!
    see ya

  • Dj Silent

    I don’t mind if I don’t update to ics … I wanna know whether they will keep on updating gingerbread cause the Sony xperia s music player is nice cause I would like an equalizer.

  • nayak

    I am a audiophile and got a MH-710 with NeoV(2.3.4).

    But no custom equalizer option(i personally dont like those crappy Eq apps on market) which 2.3.7 has got.even with clear bass/clear you bring that with ICS, haah? atleast do justice with my MH-710.
    guys..what you think?

  • AlexBurnout

    As I said before, Sony made the perfect choise

  • AlexBurnout

    Just like me, bro!!!

  • AlexBurnout

    Then gtfo of here

  • I read in GSM Arena an article saying ICS is going to be like “more than a software update, a free hardware upgrade”, meaning that ICS would improve the performance of the device in terms of  hardware.

    SONY and their mistakes, same old problems since 2010 (or before). How many of you remember the problem we had with Xperia X10 and the lack of upgrading? At the end, Sony (Ericsson) “listened” and upgraded it to Gingerbread… Turning it into a horrible slowpoke. Fortunately, the vast variety of ROMs from XDA saved X10 of being totally ridiculized.

     … And I’m still a fan of their devices lol… At least of the Xperia 2011 line, the 2012 one sucks, the only one I like is Xperia Ion. I own a Xperia Ray and I won’t upgrade until 2013, only if “SONY mobile” releases good models, stop doing this dumb mistakes and falling on this horrible contradictions.

    Too bad there are no HTC phones in my country. I’d be a big fan of them.

  • For 2011 lineup , we have been gone through 2.3.2 , 2.3.4 and finally stable 2.3.4 it tooks time to develpe the software to be bug free .

    When you switch to ICS it might not as stable as 2.3.4 so sony is just giving you a warning . 

    For samsung the company don even give a chance for consumer to choose . Its not saying that nexus s or any htc with 512mb of ram won lag abit with ICS , the company just choose to not mentioning the risk .

    How can you blame sony for being honest for telling you the risk ?

    The whole 2011 lineup is running smooth and give better benchmark and real life performance on 1ghz than the other device using same hardware . So sony knows their customer will expect ICS running with same performance . So telling early is better than let you found out yourself .

  • Guest NovaThor U8500 with Ice Cream Sandwich

  • DiarmuidOBrien

    Cool, man. I am just an ordinary Joe not some OS fundamentalist. I would like to save £400 and to have my Arc running ICS properly – it’s only a year old. But Sony haven’t given me that option so I reckon that the Nexus or the HTC One X or the Samsung Galaxy III will race along with nasty ugly Google’s ICS and maybe I will think about the Sony equivalent to those models when they bring one out – probably some time in 2013.

  • DiarmuidOBrien

     Now, if you wanna talk about bloatware… I bloody hate that Timescape.

    If Sony offerend vanilla Android on their handsets they would be on to a winning concept.

  • mdz

    If anyone saw Phonearena’s video review of Galaxy Nexus you would see the lags it had in ICS,even though it has the latest hardware.(you even hear the reviewer snickering in the video lol)
    I do agree with being able to update to GB skinned version like on the Xperia S.

  • iliketowritearticles

    no one likes linux

  • There has only been one FW update for the Xperia S!?

  • sure? are you using android phone? Android=Linux so you should likes linux too
    like me, was using linux more than 5 year and android for 1 year until now :)

  • Mythomasy

    i only care about whether sony’s ICS will bring us a built-in call recorder

  • Roeshak

    what stupid remarks… android just like windows is all about sophistication… and my dear boy sophistication needs power.
    windows just like android is for everything …developement, work and play.
    If u want something basic u can fuck off to IOS or OSX. simple really.

  • Kid

    What are you like 12?

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  • Guess SONY needs to fire their current staff, and hire people with the real capacity of porting ICS succesfully to the Xperia 2011 line. Some XDA developers, perhaps? Those guys are great and I’m sure they’re better than SONY official programmers who get paid good for what they do. XDA developers don’t.

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  • Jesu Amaravati

     hi guys i am really confused by reading this ……………coz i am eagerly
    waiting for my xperia mini upgrading to to ICS but my question is once i
    upgdrade my OS to ICS, if its became unstable, am i able to roll back to
    the GB as a previous OS …………. please do reply guys m quite confused here
    …………thank you

  • Philip

    1. You can wait for ics review on mini, then make decision if upgrade or not.
    No one will force you to upgrade. 
    2. You can also upgrade then get used to it.If still want to go back to old glory days, 
    xda-developer can still help(flash old firmware).
    Don’t worry, we all stand together, cheer up ~

  • Philip

    Just bought xperia arc S last month, because I know their ICS is coming.
    But after reading this, feel a little bit disappointed.
    I will upgrade and try this ICS. Hope Sony prove I didn’t make wrong decision. 

  • Elias

    Without many useless SONY (Ericsson) apps and other unwanted  “features” can be ICS fast on Xperia 2011 too, I think.

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  • Basharca

    Sony are not making excuses, excuses are made when you don’t plan to do something but you make an excuse for it :)

    Sony are being open and honest, they are just making everything clear and are giving us a choice. I personally prefer stability and performance any day over stupid eye candy features.


  • Basharca

    Dude at least Sony are open, I’m sure if it was samsung they would either not upgrade or be quiet about the matter.

    People should salute Sony for their honesty instead of attacking them. Seriously, it’s sad that people intentionally ignore the good things.

  • Huy Pham Tan

    I don’t think you appreciate Sony’s honesty and you are clearly misinformed about ICS. What Sony said is completely true and ICS is in fact a nightmare for people to update. If you head to XDA forums, you will see most ICS ROMs are buggy to say the least, some functions like video hardware acceleration are not functioning as well as Gingerbread. In fact, most of the time, the complaint is that people hope ICS to be as stable as Gingerbread.

  • linuxx

    Do you have any other argument or comment to sustain or reinforce your statement?

  • 2011 Xperia Advance Feature Pack with ICS 4.0 features. Timescape! Make it light but powerful. ICS 4.0 is so demanding to the System RAM, consuming about 360MB. The 512MB devices simply can’t handle it. Give us Smart Dial, ICS 4.0 functionality without ICS system requirements!

  • Innocent_eyes52

     u seem this as an honesty, but isnt it a lil bit confession?

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  • Abhishek_Is_Dead

    It’s not entirely true. Arc was the first phone with GingerBread(2.3.2)After Nexus S, at least in India where I live:-)

  • +1
    this upgrade trouble with android is taking the fun out of my user experience as a tech-amateur…
    My ARC has exactly the same hardware as the ARC S (both cpus MSM8255, but different quality of chips, hence the higher clock rate) , but still has to wait another month… 
    my next phone will be an iPhone, Apple knows how to do upgrade policies that don’t annoy the heck out of their customers… (all users get the update at the same time on the iPhone)
    and they should’ve upped the ram on those devices if that impaired them from a smooth ICS-update; as such a big advanced company, they should’ve seen it coming

  • ArinV

    Noobs who are facinated by eye candies dont like linux……. and besides have u ever used that OS ? If not Get out of here !

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  • ptsck

    if ics is developed targeting the phones with 1gb RAM, then y the sony has told that all the xperia phones 2011 will b updated to ics. i myself purchased the xperia arc lt15i mobile on dec 2011 by watching that all the xperia phones wil b updated. stop cheating the users by telling all this silly reasons. you should have mentined in the begining only that all the 512mb RAM phones vl b effected by this ics update. very nice. i finally understod that 2011 xperia phones vl not work properly after ics update. never ever cheat the users by telling them all this statements and shit.

  • mike zinoviev

    ?????? ??? ??, ? ? ??????? ????
    SE XPERIA Neo MT15i ?? Android 4.0.4 (4.1.B.0.431), ???????? ? ????? ???? ???????, ? Google+ ???? ??????? ? ??????? ?????????? – ???????? ????????? ??????.
    ??? ?????????? – ?? ???? ??????? ???????? ??????! ????????? ?????? ????? ??????, ??? ??? ?????? ????? ??????????? ??????????. ???????????? ?????? ?????? ??? ????????.

  • Moosa

    give me an idea bro….im in great confusion…whether to buy xperia sola or htc one v????and also i wanna knw one thing…in sola ram is 512 mb but if we upgrade to ICS then the performance will get lower or 512 mb ram with 1 ghz dual core processor is enough for ICS????

  • lol

    You need 1gb ram and 1ghz processor speed to run ICS SMOOTHLY.

  • Amminhaaz

    i jus bout a SE xperia mini. . . . . is it worth upgrading to ICS 4 or staying put with Gingerbread itself . . . . or is there any probabilities of downgrading??? . . . help:-(

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  • disqus_ruWyHxyhKK

    I did upgrade my SE Live to ICS 4.0. I haven’t encountered lags like anyone said. Its as smooth as GB. After the upgrade, the phone did lag. And I Resseted it to Factory Settings. Evrything was fine and fast!

  • Dayarit

    How can i update my SE arc s (rooted), Any pros or cons for SE arc S? When i update to ICS 4.0.4?
    Pleas send me an Email….(
    thank before

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