Sony Mobile has posted a video of a beta build of the Android Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo and Xperia Ray. As is the case with most OEM Android overlays, the ICS build coming to the Sony Xperia handsets dumps most of the grandiose niceties of the holographic UI heralded by ICS, however it does incorporate most of the new features seen in the stock build of ICS.
At first look, one can easily mistake Sony’s alpha build of Ice Cream Sandwich for its current crop of Gingerbread ROMs, as it more or less looks identical to ones seen on current Sony Ericsson smartphones. The holographic elements are visually absent in the homescreen and so is the segregation between applications and widgets in the app drawer.
Having said this, elements of the ‘Roboto Font’ are visible, and so is the new multi-tasking menu. In addition to this, users can now do a lot more from the lockscreen including controlling the music player and accessing the camera.
Apart from this, all the standard Sony apps can be seen like the Xperia music player, the Timescape social aggregator and card like widgets, though notably all Google applications are absent, perhaps due to it being a beta build and not being certified by the boys at Mountain View. Sony is also saying by the time the final build is ready it intends add the Face-unlock functionality.
On the whole, one cant help being disappointed with the UI design of Sony’s new Ice Cream Sandwich ROM as it is eliminating Google’s new UI design changes with its build of ICS, though it should be noted that Sony is not the only one doing this as early builds of Samsung’s and HTC’s ICS ROMs suggest a similar trend.
Having said this all, this could change as this is a beta build of the ICS ROM and for what’s its worth Sony’s Android ROMs are amongst the prettiest and smoothest ROMs out there in the market unlike the clunky and animation heavy Sense UI of HTC and the cartoony TouchWiz UI on Samsung Android phones.
In the meanwhile take a look at the video of Sony’s ICS ROM in the video embedded below.