"Enough with the betas already," said the international hardware giant, "they're ready for the real thing." Xperia Blog reports that Sony is rolling out the final version of its Ice Cream Sandwich update for its Xperia Arc and Xperia Neo phones, free for the asking for anyone who prefers up-to-date software. Sony had already updated the Arc S, Neo V, Ray and the Tablet S. The rest of the 2011 Xperia line, with the notable and disappointing exception of the Xperia PLAY, will be updated later.
Sony is taking a unique approach to its Android 4.0.4 updates, probably due to its habit of releasing more unlocked models in the Americas than other companies. Instead of over-the-air updates, Xperia owners will need to download installation files directly from Sony, then install the update via their PC. There's still something of a rollout process - individual phones will be updated in batches, identified by the SI numbers on the back of their phones. Xperia Arc owners can check here, and Neo owners can check here.
Despite the Xperia PLAY debacle (and that's quite a big thing to get past if you're an Xperia PLAY owner), Sony has been refreshingly up-front with its intentions for upgrades. The beta program in particular is something we've rarely seen from manufacturers, though we'd certainly like to see more of it. Those who aren't fans of Sony's software are always free to root and mod their phones, as none of the devices have a locked bootloader.