Sony Starts Serving Ice Cream Sandwich

Scandinavian Xperia users happy, but no news on UK release

Sony has started the process of rolling out Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to a selection of its 2011 range of Xperia phones.

Users in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden will be able to update their Xperia arc S, Xperia neo V and Xperia ray devices, with more markets receiving the upgrade in the near future, although there is no more information about when UK customers will get to feast on Ice Cream Sandwich.

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The update is being released in batches over the course of the next four to six weeks, with differences in software depending on product, country and operator.

Because Ice Cream Sandwich is deemed to be such a significant upgrade by Sony’s development team, it is only possible to update a supported device by connecting it to a PC or Mac, not over the air. This means that no notifications about any possible update are supplied.

To remedy this, Sony has posted a continually updated thread on its forums, listing which devices are ready for the update. Users can check whether theirs is ready by checking an eight-digit Sales Item (SI) code located underneath the battery against the list, but there is no word on when the UK will be listed.

“The availability and scheduling of this software upgrade and specific models upgradeable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and carrier requirements,” Sony Mobile told TechWeekEurope. “We will publish a list of the released software kits on our support forum and update it on an on-going basis.”

Ice Cream Sandwich features improved camera controls, multi-tasking, data counters, support for Near Field Communication (NFC), a redesigned interface, a brand new contact system and a number of new security features.

Sony first announced its release schedule earlier this month, with the three currently supported devices set to be followed by the Xperia arc, Xperia Play, Xperia neo, Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia Active and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman at the end of May or beginning of June.

Sony Xperia S owners will receive the update shortly after, but no information about the Sony P or S Android tablets has been disclosed. However Sony’s development team has warned that some users may want to stick with the more stable 2.3 Gingerbread version of Android due to the greater processing demands of Ice Cream Sandwich.

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