Sony's been uncharacteristically forthcoming when it comes to their plans on updating phones to Ice Cream Sandwich. The manufacturer committed to updating all of its 2011 Xperia phones to Android 4.0, a promise it's already starting to make good on with ICS betas for The Xperia Play and others. Unfortunately, it looks like users will have to wait a little longer than they'd previously thought. Sony said in December that the first updated phones would be the Xperia Arc S , Neo V and Ray would be getting official updates in March, but they've bumped them back to mid-April. No word on the rest of the Xperia line, previously said to be updated in April or May.
In addition, Sony said that they won't be sending out any updates over the air, as most Android manufacturers do in conjunction with mobile carriers. If you want an Ice Cream Sandwich update (when it becomes available), you'll need to download it directly from Sony's website and install it via their desktop clients, PC Companion and Bridge for OSX users. Sony says that they want to make sure customers make an informed decision before the major upgrade.
As unconventional as this approach is, I kind of dig it. One, anyone who's Android-savvy enough to want Ice Cream Sandwich will be more than willing to put in a little legwork on their computer. And two, this may well get updates into the hands of consumers faster, helping to solve a problem that plagues the mobile platform. Who knows, maybe Sony can even skirt around US carriers, who almost always delay updates by a significant factor when compared to international contract-free phones.
If you've got an Xperia Play, Arc S , Neo V or Ray, you can download a beta ROM of Ice Cream Sandwich right now and avoid the wait (so long as you're not particularly attached to your warranty). Everyone else should be getting their updates in less than two months... we hope. Kudos to Sony for keeping us informed, at least.