Sony Ericsson (SE) was rightly battered from all sides for its failure throughout 2009 and 2010 to launch Android phones using the latest versions of Google’s software.
Its inability to swiftly release software updates also saw the Japanese-Swedish company find itself at the centre of arguments about the operating system’s fragmentation.
However, the joint venture’s confirmation, via Facebook, that it’s planning on bringing Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to all of its 2011 handsets is brilliant news and suggests it’s finally learned its lesson.
It appears that Google’s insistence earlier this year that it would ensure its partners released phones that could be easily upgraded up to 18 months after their release is starting to pay off.
There’s also no denying that SE will have looked at the PR disaster surrounding HTC’s initial decision to put an end to Gingerbread upgrades and realised it could do without that kind of hassle.
So in reality, what does this move mean? Well, first all of the handsets will need to be upgraded to Android 2.3.4 first.
That means there could be some wait before ICS makes its way to the likes of the Arc, Neo and Xperia Play. But the fact that it’s said it’s going to happen is at least part of the battle won.
Samsung has already confirmed that the Galaxy S2 will be getting in on the action as well. The news that HTC is reviewing its plans should set alarm bells ringing, however.
There’s a real worry that its use of HTC Sense could once again stymy updates and leave tech fanatics high and dry.
The fact SE is able to do this is thanks in large part to its decision to pare down its customisations and use a largely vanilla edition of Android on its 2011 lineup.
Its mediascape skin was well thought-out but caused way too much faff and took away from the simplicity of the pure Google experience. Having decided to ditch it, it will surely reap the rewards.
Despite being a mobile-maker that’s failed to set the world alight in recent years, the fact it’ll offer Android 4.0 imminently puts it at a huge advantage against HTC.
The latter is going to have to sell its kit harder if it’s not able to deliver the latest Google software, while SE can trade on the fact that it’s now at the cutting edge.