Sony Ericsson demos Ice Cream Sandwich, releases alpha ROM for developers

With Android Ice Cream Sandwich only officially available on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, there are sure to be plenty of Android fans who want to get a glimpse of the new version running on a different phone. Sony Ericsson has come to the rescue with this demonstration video, showing an early build running on an Xperia Arc S.

The company recently announced they would be releasing an Ice Cream Sandwich update for their 2011 range of Xperia-branded devices, however it’s a lengthy and complex process and with the source code only a few weeks old, owners still have a while to wait before it officially arrives.

Rather than work away without input from users, Sony Ericsson has released an “alpha build” ICS ROM to accompany the video. It’s compatible with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, the Xperia Ray and the Xperia Neo V, and provided they have an unlocked bootloader the ROM can be installed.

Great news, right? Yes, but before you go rushing off to download it, you should know that the ROM is designed for developmental testing, and not for everyday use. Sony Ericsson wants to get as much feedback as possible, and has therefore disabled the modem, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, the FM radio and the antenna inside the ROM.

Yes, they’re spoilsports, but the alpha ROM still does a great job of showing how Ice Cream Sandwich looks and performs on devices other than the Galaxy Nexus. If you’re confident to start messing around with your Xperia phone, Sony Ericsson provides full instructions on how to apply the ROM on their developer site, and even recommends you join the XDA community afterwards to converse with like-minded hackers.

Now, how many other other manufacturers will follow Sony Ericsson’s lead and release preview versions of Ice Cream Sandwich?

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