I have been running ICS on my Sony Xperia S for 2 weeks now. Yesterday I decided that it wasn’t for me and have gone back to Gingerbread.
Why? I hear you ask. Well, Sony did a fantastic job withthe Gingerbread ROM. Everything just works. Lots of little touches that make the phone a delight to use. The ICS upgrade must have been done by a different team. Ignoring the core changes, these are the things that annoyed me with the upgrade
1) They broke NFC. This is unforgivable. One of the unique selling points for the Xperia S, and the specific reason that I chose it, was that it has NFC. I was finding that tags would only be read with a 30% success rate. Sometimes a tag would take up to 10 minutes (no exaggeration) to be detected. Looking at the phone log I was seeing the NFC service log an LLC length error every 2 seconds.
2) They damaged Bluetooth. I use bluetooth audio streaming a lot. My car, my headphones, the radio in the kitchen and the dining room. The phone would now only automatically connect to them about 60% of the time. In addition to this, the audio stream would give a 2 second stutter every 4 minutes or so. My old HTC Desire did this, and it was one of the reasons I upgraded. It gets very distracting in audiobooks and podcasts. The GB ROM never did this.
3) They dumbed down the keyboard. The stock GB keyboard was is a lovely mashup of functional keyboard and “swipe”. For ICS they removed the “swipe” capability, leaving just a functional keyboard. This was replaced almost immediately.
4) They have damaged the Timer. For no apparent reason, the seconds indicator on the countdown timer is nowhere near where it shoudl be. I dont even klnow why they modded this app, and have even less idea how this got through user testing.
5) They have slowed it down. While you couldn’t describe it as slow, it feels about 10% slower than the gingerbread rom, lagging on the launcher.
6) They have damaged 3D graphics. I can’t say one way or another if this is a Sony or Google thing, but some 3D games, notably Dead Trigger, glitch like mad. The enemies leave trails behind them. Played it today on the GB rom and it felt a lot smoother. I am not sure if this is psychological as it no longer leaves trails.
So, will I miss ICS? Some parts. They seem trivial compared to the faults though.
1) I love Chrome. I started to miss this really bad until I discovered BoatBrowser. I dont think it has hardware acceleration, but it is still damn quick and has a lovely interface (and the icon is not as stupid as the Dolphin HD icon).
2) I miss the Xperia desk clock. I was hoping it would still be in the GB rom, but the one in there is pretty basic.
3) I miss the fact that I can disable the lock screen. This made using NFC tags a lot easier (no need to unlock the phone first, just turn it on)
And thats it. I hope Sony will release an ICS ROM that is comparable to the GB one, but I wont hold my breath. Looking at the extensive 2012 lineup I can see them focusing on updating the software on phones they want to sell, not phones they have sold.