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Android Ice Cream Sandwich vs Gingerbread: Sony's take

Android Ice Cream Sandwich vs Gingerbread: Sony's take
Ever since Sony made the upgrade kerfuffle with its first Android phones (remember the Xperia X 10 stuck at Eclair for what seemed an eternity?) it has probably been the most open and helpful firm when it comes to Android updates.

The latest in a string of timely announcements when and which exactly Sony handsets will get Android 4.0 ICS, is a developer blog post in which Sony is quite frank whether you should upgrade at all, despite the great new interface and novel features that ICS brings.

The Android device maker lists all the pros and cons of Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, indicating that the latest and greatest is not suitable for everyone, and some might just choose to stay with the proven and stable Gingerbread for their 2011 Sony Ericsson handsets with 1-1.4GHz CPUs and 512MB of RAM. The different interface layout made Sony revamp more than a thousand icons for the ICS edition, and some features in Android 4.0 actually use more RAM, chipset and battery than the equivalents in Gingerbread.

We took out some excerpts from the post that should be a must-read for everyone impatient to hit the update button and go from Gingerbread to ICS:
Another interesting thing is that many apps use slightly more RAM in ICS. For example, the web browser is quite intensive, and our measurements indicate that it uses 20-30MB more in ICS compared to Gingerbread. All in all, there are a lot of changes that together result in greater RAM requirement.... when running a heavy game that uses all available RAM, the activity manager will be forced to kill all processes running in the background. This might include vital functions like the dialler and even the Home screen application. When you exit your game, there is a risk that the phone is perceived as slow, since the Home screen app will have to be restarted, just like every other activity you access afterwards.
Another change in ICS compared to Gingerbread is that Google has moved a lot of the SQL handling from the native to the Java layer. In our internal studies, we have seen that read and write operations to the SQL database takes longer time, which slows down the apps. Many applications perform a lot of SQL operations when started, which greatly impacts the start-up time... This can result in a user experience that is perceived as slower and less stable, due to longer response times and increased ANRs.
When we performed internal tests on our applications, we saw that the Settings app consumed 1-2MB more RAM, and actually took longer time to start with HW acceleration, compared to without. Once the app is running, the UI is HW accelerated, but unless the app performs advanced graphics, the user will not see the difference.Another effect of the hardware acceleration is that it can make the battery drain faster in some cases. An example of this is video playback, where the hardware acceleration requires every video frame to be run through the GPU, thus making the system use more power than it would have without HW acceleration.
Sony hedges its bets by clarifying that it has addressed most of these issues by optimizing the RAM usage as much as possible and working directly with partners to optimize the database queries handling.

The best part is that Sony will be providing a so-called Performance Assistant, which gives you the opportunity to turn off some features in Android Ice Cream Sandwich from the start - those you don't necessarily need, but which might otherwise affect performance, like the hardware accelerated video playback than drains the battery faster, for example.

source: Sony

29 Comments
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posted on 02 Apr 2012, 07:52 3

1. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


yeah this is not going to go over well with people who expected 4.0 after sony promised 4.0 to all existing 2011 handsets. major fail sony. major fail.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 03:47 1

28. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 804; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


Can you give me 1 f**king reason to why or how is SONY gonna fail? SONY is actually readying the update of all 2011 Xperia lines, but they are giving the consumers the choice if they want to upgrade their handsets or not to the heralded ICS.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 08:06 3

2. erikiksaz (Posts: 129; Member since: 22 Apr 2010)


Reading comprehension > you.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 08:15 7

3. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5921; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Props to Sony for being open about pluses and minuses of ICS. Personally, when ICS was announced, I was skeptical it would run on less than a 1gb memory footprint.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 08:21 7

4. riotrick (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)


Sony is being open about the pros and cons which is a good thing(tm) imho. They are giving all 2011 models the update. Every user has a choice if he wants to upgrade or not. They are doing this right.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 08:25

5. sonisoe (Posts: 332; Member since: 06 May 2009)


i think what sony said is valid and that why samsung in the beginning said that they wouldnt upgrade even sgs2...i've upgraded my sgs2 to ics, and ui is noticeably unresponsive/sensitive, scrolling is stuttery or jumpy... sure you get all the nice features from ics, but if i had to choose, i'd ve stayed w/ gingerbread and unfortunately manufacturers dont give you the option to downgrade, so am stuck...(no i dont want to root the phone)...

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 08:27

6. KevinM (Posts: 4; Member since: 28 Dec 2011)


I'm glad that Sony had these matters disclosed to public but I am disappointed that I might not upgrade to ICS because of these. I have been waiting of that ICS update since I bought my phone. Still, I have to thank Sony.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 08:29 1

7. JBz007 (Posts: 63; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)


It's understandable that the newest iteration of Android may not be perfect for older phones since it was built for a new generation of devices. I don't think they designed it with making it work on all phones in mind. Makes sense to me anyway.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 08:52

8. Jericho (Posts: 302; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)


so this means laggy xperia play. When is the xperia play 2 coming.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 12:01

17. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


Well just like the iphone4....
Well atleast its better than app launcher phone....
Left right left right....
Wow loooooook iv'e got an iphone, i'm coooooool!

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 09:03 1

9. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


Sony there's another solution that would work on 512MB of RAM.
Windows Phone!

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 10:04 1

16. Mozarrt (Posts: 295; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


Windows Phone on my Xperia S, I LIKE

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 09:08 6

10. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


Thats BS. My SGS1 running 4.0.3 on 512 mb ram and a 1ghz single core processor is faster and smoother than it ever was on gingerbread. And its not even a manufacturer supported upgrade. I have not heard of a single person say they would rather go back to 2.3 after being on 4.0 for a while... on any device. I've never heard of the "dialer issue" they mentioned and ive never had an issue receiving a call no matter what i was doing on the phone. If there was any truth to this we would have already heard samsung and HTC yelling it from the rooftops to slow down their upgrade process.

Maybe they just need to higher better tech people. There is a whole group of them over at XDA that will probably jump at the job.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 09:53 3

11. Mozarrt (Posts: 295; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


Sony is actually very good in optimizing Android and manages to make its custom skins a helluva lot faster than Sense and that iClone Samsung uses.

I applaud them for giving this info to the public, allthough my Xperia S will get its fare share of ICS as soon as its released.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 09:55 3

14. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


the Xperia was one of the last phones holding 1.6 when everyone else was on 2.1 and above, so i dont know where you got that. Sony up until recently has been pretty lazy about upgrades. Now they are making excuses that not a single other company is making.

its either them or everyone else is lying.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 09:57

15. Mozarrt (Posts: 295; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


Sony promised ICS to the entire 2011 line of phones, no other manufacterer has been this good with updates.

They have learned from the SE X10.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 12:08 1

19. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


when sony has a line up like samsung,htc, moto, or LG to worry about, talk to me. They have like 2 phones to worry about.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 12:27

20. Mozarrt (Posts: 295; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


Sony has a line-up, and they are providing all the 2011 models with ICS. You are hating on Sony because of the X10 disaster, thats like hating on Nokia because the N97 was a crappy phone.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 12:31 1

21. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


no, im not hating on anyone. im just not blindly defending them. they are making a statement which i disagree with from personal experience, the experiences of others i know, and the fact that not a single other entity in the ecosystem has mirrored the complaints. AKA, its an excuse.

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 03:56

29. XiphiasGladius (Posts: 804; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


remix, Sony's 2010 android phone (x10) was agreeably beyond disaster, but that can't be said with their 2011 line up, they are just reminding people on what to expect with the probably ICS update, and yes it's an excuse but it's an excuse way better than what iOS users hear from their manufacturer regarding bugs on iOS devises.
But after reading and learning about anything andoid, I have to say hardware wise SONY is dead last among the Big Boys. . .

posted on 03 Apr 2012, 01:34

27. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


X10 looks nice .
I regret buying the n97 over the hd2 actually because it's been 2 years yet it still boots meego, ics , gingerbread , mango

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 12:02

18. Kalevro (Posts: 56; Member since: 11 Sep 2011)


True but you have to say that SONY's mobile department doesn't have that much supplies, as say the PS devices or laptops or tv's . That's why they had all the big talk about how from now on SONY was going to be a mobile-only company and focus on that .

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 09:55

13. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


gotta agree with you. one of my office buddies is using ics on his rooted htc HD 2 and its working perfectly fine. thats a wp 6.5 phone rooted to run android.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 17:11

25. bioappberry (Posts: 22; Member since: 27 Nov 2011)


you mean hire, not higher. Smoke another, friend.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 13:20

22. nikhildangui (Posts: 5; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)


I HAVE AN DIFFERENT OPINION...
Looking at my Phones config and less ram ill prefer Gingerbread But not the version which i got out of Box for Xperia Neo V but ill Prefer Upgraded Gingerbread which can been seen in Xperia S, and other 2012 Line-Up Xperia Device
and it will be Great, Greatest thing if sony could provide the new Gingerbread (similar to xperia S) and ICS as an Option to choose from while flashing the Device Via Sony PC Suit...
and I appreciate SONY's decision to be so open and frank about the advantages and disadvantages...
you guys r great and you guys rocks.....

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 14:20

23. SoopaManLuv (Posts: 24; Member since: 11 Aug 2011)


Ok, big ups 2 Sony for giving out tha pros and cons but i gotta say, i've had my GNexus for rt at a month and those issues they stated r nonexistant. 4 me 2 go back 2 Gingerbread would b like going from a Mercedes S550 to Ford Fusion. Jus don't see it happing. Sn: my issues wit tha phone (and that list is really small) have nothing 2 do wit ICS. In fact, of all tha Android OS's, in my opinoin it's tha best so far. Jus saying...

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 15:24

24. Mozarrt (Posts: 295; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


The Galaxy Nexus isn't a 512 mb phone with a heavy customized skin running on top of it.

posted on 02 Apr 2012, 22:20

26. lonestrider (Posts: 85; Member since: 31 Mar 2012)


Very good comparison.
So, why ask for ICS when Gingerbread is good enough?
From that explanation, ICS isn't much better than Gingerbread. ICS improve performance in some ways, but decrease it in other way...
So, Let's go to Custom ROM!!!

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