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Sony Ericsson releases Ice Cream Sandwich alpha ROM available for selected range of Xperia phones

Ahead of its March 2012 target Ice Cream Sandwich update release, Sony Ericsson has made available to EVERYONE (that means you) an alpha ROM of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) for unlocked Xperia arc S, Xperia neo V and Xperia ray. This is the first time the company has ever done this.

But before you click that download button, Sony Ericsson says that the ROM is strictly for “advanced developers” and do note that this Alpha release has very, very, very – and we mean very – limited functionality. Installing the ROM would effectively make your Xperia practically useless as a smartphone because the following features will not work. On the other hand, if you’re a developer and have a free Sony Ericsson Xperia lying around, by all means give this a try, provided of course you know what you’re doing.

Features that won’t work with the Alpha ROM:
Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps are not included (for example, Gmail, Google Maps, etc.).
Modem is turned off and SIM card will therefore not be recognised (this also means you can’t make any phone calls).
Bluetooth™ is turned off.
Wi-Fi® is turned off.
ANT+ is turned off.
FM-radio is turned off.

However, this alpha ROM includes a number of new features:
New “Roboto” font.
New “Holo” theme is supported (you are able to test apps written to make use of the Holo theme).
Music player control from lock screen.
Updated UI in the Settings menu.
Updated UI in the web browser.
Updated UI and interaction with the new messaging action bar.
Updated UI for improved multitasking.
Swipe to dismiss notifications, tasks and browser tabs in the Notification menu.

Check out the video to see some of these new features in action.

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For full details on how to install the Alpha ROM head on over to the Sony Ericsson developer site here.

Thanks for the tip @xiaohang89