Dec 15 AT 1:00 PM Nick Gray 34 Comments

SONY Ericsson releases Ice Cream Sandwich alpha ROM for unlocked Xperia phones


SONY Ericsson is the second OEM to deliver an Android 4.0 alpha build for developers to play with. The Android 4.0.1 developer build is available for the XPERIA Arc, XPERIA Neo and XPERIA Ray and can be downloaded directly from SONY Ericsson’s site.

As tempting as it may be to download the Ice Cream Sandwich alpha build for your phone, we’d recommend that you wait things out a bit. SONY Ericsson has quite a few limitations in place to make sure that only advanced developers take the plunge. The Android 4.0.1 build does pack quite a few new features, but SE has not included Google’s apps and has turned off support calling and SMS, Bluetooth, WiFi, ANT and the FM radio.

SONY Ericsson hasn’t give us any new information as to when an official update for the phones will be available for the general public, but we’re still excited to see the progress that they’ve made so far. Check out the video below for a quick look at what Android 4.0.1 looks like on the XPERIA Arc.

How long do you think it will take the development community to turn SE’s Android 4.0.1 alpha ROM into a fully functional daily driver?

New features include:

  • New “Roboto” font
  • New “Holo” theme is supported (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

[Thanks @mr1338 for the tip]

Source: SONY Ericsson Developer World

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • ranwanimator

    It’s cool that they’re willing to at least put it out there.

    • Samar

      Why Alpha though ?

      • stenzor

        I think they are trying really hard to compete.. especially seeing that a majority of manufacturers take a long time to get their updates out, Sony wants to show everyone that they are faster

        • mr 1338

          Yay , my first submission to be on the frontpage :D

    • booyootoo

      But why ‘release’ a rom and disable wifi bluetooth, sms?

      I really thought wow, thats great, but without this functionality there is no use for this rom. They should have called it a developer preview, or demo. Even the alpha’s on xda have the basic sms functionality.

      Nevertheless, a great indication of sony’s ambitions for their android future. Looks like they are increasing development for existing devices and this way gaining additional knowledge for new devices.

      I hope that it will take less time to develop a phone, so they can finally release a high end phone, when it’s actually high end.

  • Free2bbrian

    I thought the big companies didn’t want us to unlock our phones. i guess times are changing

  • zyphbear

    This is great that they are willing to put this out there for Devs to try out.
    Also shows that they are working on bringing it to their regular devices soon!

    • lxgeorge

      I just wish that they’d put vanilla ICS on it! I can never decide whether or not I like their UI…

  • Adryan maldonado

    Im liking what im seeing. Hopefully this trend follows with all OEM’s. But this is looking good as ICS seems to be moving pretty fast to multiple devices. At least faster than many of the previoius builds

  • AsakuraZero

    OH MY GOD sony =o? you? doing it fast?

    too bad Nozomi doesnt cut it because you are doing it right on the software side, but lets wait a few months if you can get a new phone with good hardware (S4 or something on those lines battery is a selling point to me)

  • Thomas Biard

    Although I don’t have an Xperia, this is still good news for the rest of us.

    *Leak my pretty, leak!*

  • oddball

    I understand they want to make this a dev pack but why turn the phone into a brick? It seems like disabling the phones communication methods is a poor choice to me. I am glad they are working on the update to ICS I hope we see more OEMs release 4.0 roms soon

  • Ilyse Rose

    I’m liking their version of ICS, even though it’s just an alpha.

  • erikiksaz

    I’m impressed with SE really pushing for change.

    The only thing they need now is carrier support within the US.

  • Samar

    About time..they have some really good handsets.

  • tkitty93

    Nice from them to publish the release…and they made more progression than Samsung on S2… shame on Samsung…

  • Martjn2

    SE really takes updates seriously

  • jamal

    Its good to see SE up and about with ICS.

  • HoLfElDeR

    I love the 4.0 UI, especialy on Xperia phones, we can see that SE is caring about their customers and that is one big like bor them

  • jenskristian

    Not stock Android, but looks WAY better than the leaked Samsung alpha. Can’t wait for some Ice Cream Sandwich, but I’m guessing Cyanogenmod brings it before Samsung for the Galaxy S 2 and Tab 10.1.

  • Hall Lo

    It’s so good to see SE worked so fast to bring ICS to more devices! :D

  • damambt

    Awesome for SE users but its now starting to feel as if Samsung has forgotten the NEXUS S users. Maybe Im just being impatient.

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    SE is stepping their game up. They just need to come out with more dated hardware, and tmobile. Who knows i wouldnt mind seeing SE making the next nexus. They have great lenses(for camera’s), great display, awesome style, and etc.

  • Billy

    Sony looks to making inroads to its dev community. Hope they keep the love up and release final versions of course.

  • donger

    wow, looks very snappy.

  • Nathan D.

    who knew that SE would be a good company towards the development community when they first started out.

  • Aniruddha Barapatre

    Nice to see SE bring ICS…Hope others join the bandwagon…

  • tpulu

    It’s nice to see a company putting something out… even if its not functional for daily use, it shows that they are developing something for their line of phones. If anything it shows the people who buy Sony Ericsson phones that they indeed are working on their version of ICS. Any company can say they are working on it and you’d just have to take their word for it, This actually shows the consumer that something is being done. Good move Sony!

  • Louis A

    I think the battle of the android will be fought between Sony and Samsung. Sony is definitely trying to get their act together. Kudos!!

  • pritams

    Apple got a new competitor to be worried of…:D

  • gherea

    This is great

  • humidity

    I’m so impressed by how quickly companies are making 4.0 available for their devices!