It sucks buying an old Android phone because you can't get access to newer operating systems unless you root your phone and install a ROM of the newer version. Even then, it's not guaranteed to work and it usually doesn't come with the blessing of the manufacturer. It's good to see that at least Sony is taking the consumer-friendly approach in regards to updating.
Sony announced yesterday that Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is now available on the Xperia Play. This is part of a test to see how games operate on ICS since that's what the Xperia Play is essentially built for. The company says that many game developers have already been at work making sure their games work with ICS, but are releasing the beta now to get feedback from the community.
As part of this, they're asking for users to submit bug and general performance reports to them. They want to know the game's titles, your general impression, the controls, lag levels and other feedback.
They also give some general information and good tips for those who want to install the ICS beta on their Xperia Play. The beta is not a final release and as such should be treated with caution. Here's the lowdown:
You should be an advanced developer with extensive knowledge in how to install, and switch between different ROMs. If you are a consumer without these developer skills, then we strongly recommend you do not try this, as you may damage your phone.
You must be using Xperia PLAY, running the latest Xperia software release (which is 4.0.2.A.0.42). For an ICS beta ROM for Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia ray, check out the previously released ICS beta ROM for unlocked Xperia smartphones.
You must unlock your phone using our Unlock boot loader service, and agree to all the legal and warranty conditions that apply. Please note that you may void the warranty of your phone, any warranty from your operator or both if you unlock the boot loader of your phone. Sony Mobile can then no longer guarantee the full functionality of your phone, and will not be responsible for any unusable functions or loss of personal data associated to the beta ROM being flashed to the phone.
The only real downside of this is that this beta release does not come with Google Mobile Services or Wi-Fi. Sony says that they're still waiting on certification for these. So once again, this is really only for developers, but interested users are welcome to try it as well. Just don't go downloading it hoping for a fully featured ICS because you're not going to get it.[h/t: Android Community]