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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S, Ray and Neo V get ICS beta

Sony has released a beta version of Ice Cream Sandwich for the Xperia Arc S, Ray and Neo V.

Sony has released a beta version of Ice Cream Sandwich for the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Ray and Xperia Neo V, letting more adventurous Android fans get a taste of the latest version of Android ahead of the official update.

Sony posted the details on its developer site, but warns that the update should only be attempted if you're an 'advanced developer'. The reason for this is that the Ice Cream Sandwich code isn't final, so it might not be perfectly stable.

You'll also need to unlock your Sony Ericsson phone's bootloader if you want to install the beta version. Sony provides that service, but the company warns that unlocking "may void the warranty of your phone and/or any warranty from your operator".

The beta version shows off some new features that will be present in the final Android 4.0 update, which Sony has vowed will be rolling out to all Xperia phones released in 2011. Those features include an updated interface that will share elements with the newly-announced Sony Xperia S, and an updated email client.

If you want to get a look at what Xperia phones will look like with Ice Cream Sandwich, Sony has released a demo video that shows the beta in action. We've embedded it below for your viewing convenience.

Sony's said it will have the Arc S, Ray and Neo V updated by "end March/early April" with other Xperia mobiles released last year to follow at the end of April to the beginning of May.

It's helpful of Sony to give us dates we can expect the new version, though it is still rather far in the future considering that Ice Cream Sandwich has been out since mid-November. And with Android Jelly Bean rumoured to be in the works for the summer, the next version of Android could well be upon us just as Xperia owners finally receive their dose of Ice Cream Sandwich.

Are you hungering for a scoop of Ice Cream Sandwich? Do you think smart phone owners are having to wait too long? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook wall.