Sony abandons plans for Xperia PLAY Android 4.0 update

Devices running Android 4.0 (known also as Ice Cream Sandwich) remain very much in the minority on the complex, fragmented landscape of Google’s mobile platform. But while there remain relatively few models carrying the latest Android version – with many handsets still being launched with 2.3 Gingerbread on board – various manufacturers have committed to updating at least some of their devices to 4.0 in the coming months.

One such manufacturer is Sony, which confirmed its plans just a couple of months back. But not all is going to plan, it seems, at least when it comes to the Xperia PLAY. Despite being listed in March among those devices that would be guaranteed the update, a post on the official Sony Xperia Product Blog has confirmed that the company will now not be bringing ICS to the handset at all.

The reason for this U-turn? It seems that Sony’s engineers just can’t get the handset to perform reliably with Android 4.0: “After extensive in-house testing with our developer teams and working with our partners, we have concluded that a consistent and stable experience, particularly with gaming, cannot be guaranteed for this smartphone on Ice Cream Sandwich.”

Sony claims it has “received similar feedback from the developer community; both experienced developers and advanced users, along with game content providers”, hinting at insurmountable problems with getting the OS to run reliably on the device. It added that “in this instance, the ICS upgrade would have compromised stability, where we look to ensure a quality gaming experience”.

It’s currently unclear what impact this might have on Sony’s plans to extend its portfolio of PlayStation Certified Android handsets beyond the limited few devices that are currently approved for PS gaming.


Source: Sony Xperia Product Blog | Image via Sony

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This is where the beauty of open source comes in and one of the zillions of devs and dev crews crank out ICS for the experia anyway.

Android=Choice

WP=Stuck

Sonne said,
This is where the beauty of open source comes in and one of the zillions of devs and dev crews crank out ICS for the experia anyway.

Android=Choice

WP=Stuck

Maybe you're forgetting that WP has custom ROMs available on XDA as well.

So, WP = Stuck = I don't think so.

So sony can't release am official update with a nice couple warning box? What about those of us who would have rather made the"mobile gaming companies" look bad than the phone manufacturer.

SierraSonic said,
So sony can't release am official update with a nice couple warning box? What about those of us who would have rather made the"mobile gaming companies" look bad than the phone manufacturer.

If you really want the update you can just go to XDA. You can either run the ICS beta (which is perfectly stable and feature complete) or try one of the numerous custom roms or ports of the software on the Arc (which, aside the hardware buttons is exactly the same phone). It's not really an issue, but Sony didn't want to get angry customers who just update their phones with PC Companion when it tells them to without looking at warnings and whatever.

I wonder if any of the other phones remaining will also be removed from the ics update promise ...

Tai said,
I wonder if any of the other phones remaining will also be removed from the ics update promise ...

No they won't. The updates aren't available yet because the certifications aren't all done yet (most are though), but the software is ready for deployment. I expect the software for the Play is 'ready' too, and someone will most likely leak it anyway.

Ambroos said,

No they won't. The updates aren't available yet because the certifications aren't all done yet (most are though), but the software is ready for deployment. I expect the software for the Play is 'ready' too, and someone will most likely leak it anyway.

Yes, the play will run it but most of the games for it won't run on ICS and would need updating which is a big job, that's why the ICS update was canned.

Funny thing is that they Play is the only Android phone I actually considered buying and look at this To be honest that's how I ended up getting a free iPhone from my carrier (plus some good luck), my phone's OS was so outdated it wasn't even funny (well by the OEM, I was running the latest version but my carrier didn't know lol)

If there's a genuine reason not to go forth with ICS (which there seems to be), so be it. That's not the issue.

Sony's problem is that they're committing to a lot of stuff which they're then going back on, which is destroying the reputation that's left of the company.

Biohead said,
If there's a genuine reason not to go forth with ICS (which there seems to be), so be it. That's not the issue.

Sony's problem is that they're committing to a lot of stuff which they're then going back on, which is destroying the reputation that's left of the company.

At least Sony are keeping customers informed and giving legitimate reasons as to why, which is more than other Android OEMs do.

Mateus said,

Weird, it was definitely there a minute ago! F**king Sony toying with us!

At least Sony are being as transparent as possible with customers and are keeping them informed about updates.

neo158 said,

At least Sony are being as transparent as possible with customers and are keeping them informed about updates.

Agreed. This is nice, I don't care what company it is, they should all do this.

Let's refine this, shall we.

Because of API changes, Sony had to make the gamepad work differently. The problem here was that almost none of the third party gamepad games worked out of the box. As it would take a huge amount of time to get ALL games (and that are quite a lot of them) updated but still compatible with the Gingerbread-software, Sony decided it would be best not to update the Xperia Play.

Sony has released a beta version of the ICS software some months back, and there were no stability or performance issues. Some games ran slightly slower, but that is it. The problem here was purely gamerelated. And since games are the most important thing on the Xperia Play Sony decided it'd be best to keep it on ICS by default for regular users.

BUT! Sony did release the kernel sources of the ICS beta. This means that developers have no problems at all creating custom ROM's for the Xperia Play, but they will bump into the same issues: the gamepad won't work with most of the games. It's important to get everything right.

On the other hand, Sony did update ALL of their other 2011 phones. What other manufacturer ever did that? From the low-range Live with Walkman to the top-notch Arc S, all of them will be running Android 4.0.4 in the next few weeks. That is, if the users decide they want to upgrade, because Sony gives them the choice.

Remember that Sony is also the largest upstream provider to the AOSP project, aside Google? They contributed a LOT of code that is making YOUR Android device run better!

Ambroos said,
Let's refine this, shall we.

Because of API changes, Sony had to make the gamepad work differently. The problem here was that almost none of the third party gamepad games worked out of the box. As it would take a huge amount of time to get ALL games (and that are quite a lot of them) updated but still compatible with the Gingerbread-software, Sony decided it would be best not to update the Xperia Play.

Sony has released a beta version of the ICS software some months back, and there were no stability or performance issues. Some games ran slightly slower, but that is it. The problem here was purely gamerelated. And since games are the most important thing on the Xperia Play Sony decided it'd be best to keep it on ICS by default for regular users.

BUT! Sony did release the kernel sources of the ICS beta. This means that developers have no problems at all creating custom ROM's for the Xperia Play, but they will bump into the same issues: the gamepad won't work with most of the games. It's important to get everything right.

On the other hand, Sony did update ALL of their other 2011 phones. What other manufacturer ever did that? From the low-range Live with Walkman to the top-notch Arc S, all of them will be running Android 4.0.4 in the next few weeks. That is, if the users decide they want to upgrade, because Sony gives them the choice.

Remember that Sony is also the largest upstream provider to the AOSP project, aside Google? They contributed a LOT of code that is making YOUR Android device run better!

Too bad the trolls don't understand this. They've already flung **** at this w/o bothering to understand the 'why' of it.

Ambroos said,

On the other hand, Sony did update ALL of their other 2011 phones. What other manufacturer ever did that? From the low-range Live with Walkman to the top-notch Arc S, all of them will be running Android 4.0.4 in the next few weeks. That is, if the users decide they want to upgrade, because Sony gives them the choice.

Remember that Sony is also the largest upstream provider to the AOSP project, aside Google? They contributed a LOT of code that is making YOUR Android device run better!

Sony has not updated 2011 Xperia Mini to ICS. They first said March for update, then postponed it to late April, then pushed further to late May and now they are saying mid June. Feels like a kid sitting in a circus.

sanke1 said,

Sony has not updated 2011 Xperia Mini to ICS. They first said March for update, then postponed it to late April, then pushed further to late May and now they are saying mid June. Feels like a kid sitting in a circus.


They never said that, the updates have never been delayed. They said they would start updating some devices in March (and they did: the Arc S, Neo V and Ray). Then then said all other devices would follow later in Q2. The updates are not planned for mid June, they will be starting this week.

There is no denying in that Sony is doing really great with updates. Their schedules are very clear, but people seem to misinterpret them all the time. The only valid source for information about updates is the Product Blog.

Ambroos said,

They never said that, the updates have never been delayed. They said they would start updating some devices in March (and they did: the Arc S, Neo V and Ray). Then then said all other devices would follow later in Q2. The updates are not planned for mid June, they will be starting this week.

There is no denying in that Sony is doing really great with updates. Their schedules are very clear, but people seem to misinterpret them all the time. The only valid source for information about updates is the Product Blog.

This is a MS fan site. So don't take it seriously.

Ambroos said,
Let's refine this, shall we.

Because of API changes, Sony had to make the gamepad work differently. The problem here was that almost none of the third party gamepad games worked out of the box. As it would take a huge amount of time to get ALL games (and that are quite a lot of them) updated but still compatible with the Gingerbread-software, Sony decided it would be best not to update the Xperia Play.

Sony has released a beta version of the ICS software some months back, and there were no stability or performance issues. Some games ran slightly slower, but that is it. The problem here was purely gamerelated. And since games are the most important thing on the Xperia Play Sony decided it'd be best to keep it on ICS by default for regular users.

BUT! Sony did release the kernel sources of the ICS beta. This means that developers have no problems at all creating custom ROM's for the Xperia Play, but they will bump into the same issues: the gamepad won't work with most of the games. It's important to get everything right.

On the other hand, Sony did update ALL of their other 2011 phones. What other manufacturer ever did that? From the low-range Live with Walkman to the top-notch Arc S, all of them will be running Android 4.0.4 in the next few weeks. That is, if the users decide they want to upgrade, because Sony gives them the choice.

Remember that Sony is also the largest upstream provider to the AOSP project, aside Google? They contributed a LOT of code that is making YOUR Android device run better!

Sounds like this might be a problem basing a gaming platform like this on Android... :-\

I suppose it's better than an update that would leave you unable to play games on your gaming smartphone.

Disappointing that Sony couldn't see this limitation two months ago. At least all their other Xperia phones seem to be getting ICS... Though they do seem to suffer from HTC syndrome - apparently there will be updates for the S, P, U, arc S, ray, neo V, arc, neo, mini, mini pro, pro, active, and 'Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman'. Why on earth would they need that many devices in the first place? And how much quicker would updates come if they only had a couple?

Wasn't expecting anything else from Sony TBH. Mistake after mistake after mistake. They suck at everything they do right now as their rapidly decreasing market / stock value is showing. Faith in the company is gone and this device wasn't even good to begin with and sold poorly.

Thief000 said,
Wasn't expecting anything else from Sony TBH. Mistake after mistake after mistake. They suck at everything they do right now as their rapidly decreasing market / stock value is showing. Faith in the company is gone and this device wasn't even good to begin with and sold poorly.

Agreed. I thought originally that this was due to sales. The technical limitation was a bit of a surprise...

Honestly, I agree with you 100%. I'm not sure what happened to Sony, but they can't seem to do anything right.

.Neo said,
Android updates, something the public can really rely on...

Yep, just like how they rely on the Windows Phone 8 update for current Windows phones.

recursive said,

Yep, just like how they rely on the Windows Phone 8 update for current Windows phones.

The Windows Phone 8 update is out?! Where?!

eddman said,

No, the truth.

My HTC Desire HD came out with 2.2 when Froyo was the newest release, then I got Gingerbread and now it's be confirmed I'm getting ICS next month

.Neo said,
Android updates, something the public can really rely on...

At least many Android devices got/ are getting the ICS update. No Windows Phone 7 devices will be getting an upgrade to Windows Phone 8. I know which I prefer.

simplezz said,

At least many Android devices got/ are getting the ICS update. No Windows Phone 7 devices will be getting an upgrade to Windows Phone 8. I know which I prefer.

And you know this because?

simplezz said,

At least many Android devices got/ are getting the ICS update. No Windows Phone 7 devices will be getting an upgrade to Windows Phone 8. I know which I prefer.

Are you from the future?

.Neo said,
Android updates, something the public can really rely on...

Please, new ICS upgrades are being released every week or being announced. ICS is a BIG change and testing needs to occure. If anyone cannot understand this, choose a different device.

simplezz said,

At least many Android devices got/ are getting the ICS update. No Windows Phone 7 devices will be getting an upgrade to Windows Phone 8. I know which I prefer.

We need more diversity in your rants.

.Neo said,
Android updates, something the public can really rely on...

Not quite right. More like 'Phone updates, something the public can really rely on'. Seems Android, Windows Phone and OSX users get shafted on updates and features.

still1 said,

My point(the whole discussion here) is not about low end phones not running angry bird.. Its about low end phone not running Tango

I'm sure that will be fixed as well, but you did mention angry birds as well.

neo158 said,

I'm sure that will be fixed as well, but you did mention angry birds as well.


I didn't mention angry bird. the article mentioned angry bird. Its common sense to relate Tango update to this discussion

Enron said,

The Windows Phone 8 update is out?! Where?!

Thats the point. Its never coming. Unlike ICS for most Android phones of the same time.

recursive said,

Yep, just like how they rely on the Windows Phone 8 update for current Windows phones.

Yeah, because a large update that no one has stated will or will not be coming to devices (Aside from Nokia who did say the update would be coming) is a comparison... lol

still1 said,

I didn't mention angry bird. the article mentioned angry bird. Its common sense to relate Tango update to this discussion

That article is talking about Tango the app, not Tango the OS update. What does the Tango app have to do with Windows Phone 8 updates?

Ace said,
Could they ask the CyanogenMod guys for help? ;-)

It can sure run the ICS fine, but the problem is "Games", it is a gaming cell phone, ICS itself a resource hungry OS and if you start game on it, the puppy can't handle it well with 512MB Ram !
they should think about it, before marketing ...

Xahid said,

It can sure run the ICS fine, but the problem is "Games", it is a gaming cell phone, ICS itself a resource hungry OS and if you start game on it, the puppy can't handle it well with 512MB Ram !
they should think about it, before marketing ...

Yeah, that's kind of a shame though. You would think for something that was designed first and foremost for games, they would have given it specs that would give it some room to grow...