Ice Cream Sandwich alpha ROM available for unlocked Xperia™ phones

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Sony Ericsson has released an Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.1 alpha ROM for XPERIA arc S, neo V and XPERIA ray owners, though there are some significant limitations to functionality that make it unsuitable for everyday use. The ROM – which is intended for those with unlocked XPERIA handsets complete with anunlocked bootloader - comes without Google’s core apps, like Gmail and Google Maps, shuts off the cellular radio, WiFi and Bluetooth, deactivates ANT+ and doesn’t yet support the FM radio.
In fact, you’d be excused for wondering what, exactly, Sony Ericsson has left functional. You do get the new Android 4.0 UI, complete with the new Holo theme and music player controls added to the lock screen; there’s also a reworked interface in the settings and browser, together with the messaging action bar and multitasking system.
Perhaps most important to note is that, if you unlock the bootloader, you won’t be able to subsequently download and install Sony Ericsson’s official upgrade via the usual OTA distribution. Instead, you’ll have to download it and install it manually, just like this new alpha.
In short, this is basically a way for developers to begin getting up to speed with ICS and Sony Ericsson’s customized UI, not for end-users to jump onboard with the new OS. Still, we’re pleased to see the company being upfront with its software releases, something it has been well criticized about before.

“You must acknowledge that the software is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, express, or implied, and to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law.”
  • You should be an advanced developer with extensive knowledge in how to install, and switch between different ROMs. If you are a consumer without these developer skills, then we strongly recommend you not do try this as you may damage your phone.
  • You must be using Xperia™ arc S, Xperia™ neo V or Xperia™ ray, running the latest Sony Ericsson software release (which is 4.0.2.A.0.42). Please note that you can’t use the original Xperia™ arc or Xperia™ neo, as they have different partition layouts.
  • You must unlock your phone using Sony Ericsson’s Unlock boot loader service, and agree to all the legal and warranty conditions that apply. Please note that you may void the warranty of your phone and/or any warranty from your operator if you unlock the boot loader of your phone. Sony Ericsson can then no longer guarantee the full functionality of your phone, and will not be responsible for any unusable functions or loss of personal data associated to the alpha ROM being flashed to the phone. Please pay special attention to the following legal statement before downloading (the full statement is available on the download link):
  • Also, if you unlock the boot loader, you will not be able to download and install the final Ice Cream Sandwich software upgrade from Sony Ericsson. For additional information on limitations and warranty, please see the Sony Ericsson Unlock boot loader service.
  • You should have read through and acknowledged the limitations of the software described below. 
  • You must read and accept the end user license agreement on the download link, before you can download the alpha ROM zip file.
Limitations and functionalityThe number of features and functionalities working and turned on in this alpha ROM are very limited. This is because many features are not yet certified, and in a few cases because we have more work to do on certain features, as they are still in the Bring up phase. These are some of the features turned off or not yet working in this alpha ROM: 
  • Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps are not included (for example, Gmail, Google Maps, etc.).
  • Modem is turned off and SIM card will therefore not be recognised (this also means you can’t make any phone calls).
  • Bluetooth™ is turned off.
  • Wi-Fi® is turned off.
  • ANT+ is turned off.
  • FM-radio is turned off.
In other words, this software is not intended for ordinary everyday usage – it is for demonstration purposes only. However, this alpha ROM includes a number of new features:
  • New “Roboto” font.
  • New “Holo” theme is supported (you are 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.
Download and installFollow the instructions below to download and install the alpha ROM. Please note that it only works with Xperia™ arc S, Xperia™ neo V and Xperia™ ray.
  1. Make sure your phone is running the latest software release, which is build number 4.0.2.A.0.42. If not, upgrade your phone through PC Companion. If you can’t upgrade to this build number, it is not possible to try the Ice Cream Sandwich alpha ROM for Xperia™ phones.
  2. Go to  and unlock the boot loader of your phone. To do this, you must read through and agree to all the legal and warranty conditions that apply. 
  3. Download the Ice Cream Sandwich alpha ROM for Xperia™ arc S  (132MB), the Ice Cream Sandwich alpha ROM for Xperia™ neo V (131MB) or the Ice Cream Sandwich alpha ROM for Xperia™ ray  (132MB) depending on your phone model.
  4. Extract the downloaded zip file to your Android Fastboot directory. For example: ..\android-sdk\fastboot\Xperia_arcS_ICS_alpha.
  5. Open a command prompt and go to your Fastboot directory: ..\android-sdk\fastboot\
  6. Flash the three alpha ROM files one at a time using Fastboot. Use these three commands (replace the folder name if you are using Xperia™ neo V or Xperia™ ray):
    • fastboot flash boot ..\Fastboot\Xperia_arcS_ICS_alpha\boot.img
    • fastboot flash userdata ..\Fastboot\Xperia_arcS_ICS_alpha\userdata.img
    • fastboot flash system ..\Fastboot\Xperia_arcS_ICS_alpha\system.img
  7. Once done, please reboot your phone.

via Developer World


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