Ice Cream Sandwich Updates Rolled Out for Sony Xperia S

Sony has begun the roll out of Android Ice Cream Sandwich updates for its Xperia S device, bringing several improvements to the Xperia user interface along with standard ICS functions.

The manufacturer has adapted the device’s software to bring it up date from the Gingerbread OS with which it was launched. Updates can now be performed over the air by checking for new software in the phone’s settings menu. However, over the air updates can be a drain on a user’s data allowance, so the new software can also be obtained by downloading Sony’s PC Companion desktop software and connecting the phone to a computer via USB.

The Japanese manufacturer has also introduced a web-based update method, cleverly sidestepping some of the issues that PC and Mac users can experience when installing software to their computers. This can be accessed by navigating to and going into the ‘Software’ section

All the instructions for updating an Xperia S can be found in the Sony produced video below:

Although nothing earth shattering has come about from the upgrade there are some nice additions that improve the user experience. Sony has looked way back into its own history and revisited its ‘Walkman’ heritage with the new Xperia audio functions, replacing the generic ‘Music Player’ name that was previously used with that of the iconic personal stereo.  Along with the ability to edit track info and the introduction of an onscreen graphic equaliser, the ICS update brings improved HDMI compatibility with other Sony devices, pointing towards the beginning of a full mobile ecosystem.

Improvements have also been made to the phone’s gallery (now called ‘Photo Album’) including an excellent geo-tagging feature. Users can now select a word map which displays thumbnails of images over the areas in which they were taken – a great way of organising your holiday photos.

As well as regular ICS improvements – such as the app manager that allows you to close apps by swiping them off the screen 0- there are a few other UI twaeks have been introduced. Selecting widgets is made easier with the option of previewing them before they are attached to a homepage, and the size of each can now be altered as well. Scrolling has been introduced to individual widgets too, something that works well with calendar and email functions.

A function similar Samsung’s S-Beam utilises NFC to allow files, photos and the like to be transferred between devices, in a way not dissimilar to the traditional Bluetoothroute. Sony has decided against putting its own corporate identity on the function, instead using the generic name ‘Android Beam’.

Sony has also introduced a power-saving feature that allows the user to turn off various functions and connections to reduce strain on the phone’s battery, something which can be configured to switch on and off at various times. ICS itself is custom-designed to make more efficient use of dual-core processors such as the 1.5 GHz chip found inside the Xperia S.

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