Sony has just released the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Beta ROM for its range of Xperia smartphones. Check out the video to see what you can expect to get when ICS is available for your Xperia device.
The Beta release has passed some certifications such as Modem type approval. In addition, important functions like FM radio and GSM are now turned on making it possible for you to use a device with the Beta ROM installed to make phone calls and surf the web. Though Sony says that there are still more certifications required before ICS can be released to Xperia users as an official upgrade. Sony assures that the official ICS update is still scheduled to commence from late March onwards.
The Beta brings a number of things are updated functions and features added on from the previous ICS Alpha release including:
Updated UI: An updated UI that incorporates some new features already introduced in the Xperia S
Lockscreen and Face Unlock: There is now 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. In the coming final ICS update, Sony will also include Google’s Face Unlock.
Connectivity Enabled: Where the Alpha released lacked any connectivity function, the Beta release enables GSM modem and FM radio functions allowing you to use your device as a phone – if you choose to install the ROM.
Updated email client: The email UI has been updated adding simplified email management.
Quick dial: The Beta release adds a quick and easy way for you to make phone calls as well. Check out the video demo for details.
Because this is a Beta release (meaning its not final), some functionalities like Gmail, Google Maps, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity are still missing. So consider this a warning.
If you’re keen to try out ICS on your Xperia, you can. The Beta ROM is available for download here. Sony cautions that even though a lot of the basic functionality of this ICS Beta ROM is working, you should only download and install the Beta version if you are an advanced user. This is not the final software, and the stability of the software may not be ideal as it has not been fully tested and bugfixed. As long as you’re ok with that then install away!
BTW the Beta only supports the following devices at the moment: Xperia arc S, Xperia neo V and Xperia ray. Good luck!