Gaming phones are commonplace now that mobile gaming has reached a level of maturity, although most half-decent phones can play modern games to a pretty good standard these days anyway. Rewind back to 2011, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 1 was a unique proposition with its slide-out PlayStation gamepad and stereo speakers. A follow-up was sadly canceled, but it appears as though images of a prototype have surfaced all these years later.
Sony was among one of the first manufacturers to be completely transparent about bringing Ice Cream Sandwich to its devices. Throughout the process, the company has posted numerous entries on its blog regarding the process, where they were at with various devices, and even offered up downloads of the beta product for advanced users and developers to test out.
With the most recent post, however, comes a bit of bad news: the Xperia Play has been dropped from Sony's ICS upgrade path. According to Sony, "after extensive in house testing with [their] developer teams and working with [their] partners, [they] have concluded that a consistent and stable experience, particularly with gaming, cannot be guaranteed for this smartphone on Ice Cream Sandwich."
I know, I know. 4.0.2 sounds a lot like Android 4.0, but it isn't. It's actually Gingerbread 2.3.4, and Verizon Xperia Play owners who wish to rock out like it's May 2011 need only mash the update button.
The good news (in addition to the version bump) is that this update will let you take pictures with the right trigger (how did they not think of that earlier?), enable 720p video with continuous autofocus, and fix those crazy bugs like charging forcing landscape mode. You also get to take screenshots with the power button. The bad news is that it will install Verizon Video on Demand and Verizon Navigator.
Sony has done an excellent job at being transparent with its progress on the bringing Ice Cream Sandwich to a number of Xperia devices. It has kept users aware of what's going on throughout the process, as well as shared alpha and beta builds along the way. Now, though, it looks like the beta days are behind them and the build is ready for prime time for a certain Xperia devices.
The rollout will being with unlocked variants of the Xperia arc s, neo v, and ray (seriously, Sony, stop with the lowercase device names. It looks awful) in Nordic Countries and will continue over the next four to six weeks.
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.
In a time when many users are wondering if an Android 4.0 update will ever come to their devices, it was a pleasant surprise that Sony was open enough to release a beta version of ICS for some of their devices - the Xperia Arc S, Neo V, and Ray. But they didn't stop there, as they have, "upon request," released a beta ICS ROM for the Xperia Play (or as you may know it, the PlayStation Phone).
As with the previous releases, this is certainly far from a final release. A number of features are missing, most notably Google Apps and Wi-Fi, though Sony says that most "basic functionality" is working.
It looks like the Cyanogenmod team, in a continued effort to bring continually-updated Gingerbread goodness to as many devices as possible, have brought nightlies to a new crop of handsets, including AT&T's variant of the Samsung Galaxy SII, the Motorola Atrix, LG's Optimus Black and a handful of Sony devices including the Xperia X10, Play, Arc (X12), X10 mini, ST18i, and about five others.
Update: Here are some of the popular device/codename mappings (mapping these took a significant and unnecessary amount of time. This is exactly why Artem posted this today):
AT&T Galaxy S II - galaxys2att
Atrix 4G - olympus
Optimus Black - p970
Xperia X10i - es209ra
Xperia X8 - shakira
Xperia Play - zeus
Xperia Ray - urushi
Xperia Mini Pro - mango
Xperia Mini - smultron
Xperia Active - satsuma
Xperia X10 Mini Pro - mimmi
Xperia X10 Mini - robyn
Xperia Neo - hallon
Xperia Arc/X12 - anzu
Personally, I am on pins and needles waiting for CM9 to bring us Ice Cream Sandwich, but if you're more interested in the latest and greatest software that's actually available for your handset, head over to download.cyanogenmod.com
At the beginning of August, the CM team announced that they would be supporting the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, arc, and neo. Cyanogen himself has now announced via Google+ that they have joined together with the FreeXperia Team to bring CM7 to seven other Xperia devices in future releases, totaling the number of supported Xperia devices to ten. The full list includes:
Xperia Mini Pro
Xperia X10 Mini
Xperia X10 Mini Pro
There's no word on when this update will roll out, but we'll make sure to keep you posted.
Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play, also known as the Playstation Phone, will be hitting AT&T's HSPA+ network on September 18th for a mere $50, finally allowing gamers rocking Ma Bell to let go some of that envy towards VZW. This portable gaming/smartphone hybrid sports a 4-inch screen, 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 5MP rear shooter, and Android 2.3 out of the box; what really makes this device unique, though, it its slide-out Playstation gamepad and exclusive gaming content.
Aside from the already low pricetag, the Play will come bundled with the multimedia dock and MC100 music cable, adding even more allure to this deal.
Skysoft... errr, I mean Skype updated its previously measly Android device support from 5 devices to more than 20 today with the introduction of version 2.1 of its Android app. There are no new features outside of expanded device support, which was badly needed in order for the app to climb out of the sea of 1-star reviews (although stability and quality improvements would have made today's release even sweeter).
Update: Other devices with 2.2+ should work, but you need to enable Video support in the settings, according to the in-app changelog.
The new devices are (glad to see many flagships here):
Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S
Samsung Droid Charge - Verizon
Samsung Galaxy Tab
HTC Desire (2.2)
HTC Thunderbolt - Verizon
HTC Evo 4G
HTC Evo 3D
HTC Incredible S
HTC Desire HD
LG Revolution - Verizon (2.2)
Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY
Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro
As usual, download the app from the Market by using the links below.