Sony Mobile (or Sony Ericsson, as it was known back then) was one of the first Android manufacturers to step forward with a a definitive upgrade plan for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. We've even seen public beta ROMs released for a couple of devices by Sony devs, and active engagement with the community to track down bugs.
Today Sony's offering up more details about exactly when each of its 2011 (and 2012) Xperia handsets will be getting the latest version of Android. The manufacturer had previously promised updates during Q1, but with just two days of the current quarter remaining, it should come as no surprise that things haven taken a little longer than anticipated.
The first Sony devices to get ICS will be the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray, starting mid-April. Next up it's the Xperia Arc, Xperia Play, Xperia Neo, Xperia Mini, Xperia Mini Pro, Xperia Pro, Xperia Active and SE Live with Walkman, which will get ICS from "the end of May/early June."
If you've just bought a brand new Xperia S, though, you'll be in for a much longer wait. Sony's new European flagship isn't expected to get ICS until late Q2. As we said in our review, the Xperia S is a phone which sorely needs that ICS update, and early adopters will no doubt be frustrated to find themselves at the back of the line.
Sony also revealed that for 2011 Xperia phones, ICS will be an optional upgrade rather (through the PC Companion app) than a automatic over-the-air update. This is similar to the strategy adopted by Sony Ericsson with the Xperia X10's Gingerbread update. Writing on its Developer World Blog, Sony explains that ICS may actually degrade performance for some users due to increased memory use, and changes to the way SQL databases are handled, so it's not forcing the update on anyone in an OTA.
More technical details are available at the source link, but the upshot is that Sony's giving customers a choice between sticking with the familiar and stable Gingerbread experience, or living life on the edge with ICS. As far as we're concerned, that's got to be a good thing.