Before Sony Ericsson became Sony Mobile, the company seemed committed to developing an Android 4.0 update, going so far as to release alpha ROMs for a number of Xperia devices, and more recently a beta for the Xperia Play. Here we are, a quarter of the way into 2012, and Xperia owners are still gnawing on last year's official Gingerbread. Although, there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel; the Sony Mobile blog has announced that the first Android 4.0 updates will roll out to select Xperia phones in mid-April. Don't get too excited when wireless carriers are involved though.
The devices slated for the first round of updates in mid-April are the fairly uncommon Xperia arc S, Xperia neo V and Xperia ray. After giving that update time to play itself out, the next round of devices are up in late May or early June. This batch will include the Xperia arc, Xperia PLAY, Xperia neo, Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia active, and Sony Ericsson Live.
Like an increasing number of Android device updates, the Xperia ICS update will not be sent out over-the-air. Sony is going to be making the software available through the PC Companion and Bridge for Mac. Additionally, there won't be any update notifications on your device. Presumably, if you're not paying attention, it's going to be easy to miss the initial rollout.
Then there's one last caveat, in case you were still feeling optimistic. Sony points out that the actual availability and scheduling of the update "will vary by market and carrier requirements." Essentially, your carrier is still going to have to certify the updates, and that could mean some lengthy delays if bugs are found. Can't say we're surprised though - that's the way things tend to work when carriers get involved.