Sony's been more transparent than most manufacturers in the way it's handled its Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich updates. It released a couple of early ICS builds for various 2011 Xperia phones over the past few months, and now the manufacturer has a fresh beta ROM prepared for yet another device -- the GSM Xperia Play. As Sony prepares to roll out the Play's ICS update, it wants advanced users to see how the phone's library of games holds up on the new version of Google's OS.
To get an early look at Ice Cream Sandwich on your Xperia Play, you'll need an unlocked device on the latest firmware, as well as an unlocked bootloader (check Sony Mobile's bootloader site). You'll then need to flash the new ROM onto your device using some command-line wizardry. After you're done, Sony wants to know what you think, and it's set up a thread over on the XDA forums to collect feedback from testers.
A word of warning, though -- Wifi connectivity is apparently not functional in this beta, and there are no Google apps included either, apparently due to licensing issues. The latter can be solved by finding, downloading and flashing the apps yourself, but the lack of Wifi will probably be a deal-breaker for many. That said, we expect enterprising Android hackers to have a workaround for that before too long.
For more info, along with download links, check Sony's dev blog, linked below.