While most of you that have been keeping track of the very busy Android world would remember the Xperia Pro, there are some of you out there who have never ever heard of this device. Fortunately for them, this particular Sony Ericsson device has been one of the best Android smartphones with a full hardware QWERTY keyboard, and as far as we know also one of the only devices to pack a hardware keyboard that will be offered with Android 4.0 ICS as an update option.

Even though the official Android 4.0 ICS update schedule of the now former Sony Ericsson consortium has been relatively well respected by the now Japanese only company, the Xperia Pro is one of the few devices that have received its ICS update on time. The version of the software we will be presenting in this article is the official one, so rest assured that it will not revoke your warranty if applied to your device.

Before you start this guide you should first check to see if you have not received notification of an OTA update of this software or, alternatively look for the update in the Sony Companion PC Suite. These methods should be more straight forward to you, as the one that is at the middle of this article is the manual updating method. This manual method can be successfully used if you are usually located in a geographical area where the update is deployed in the last stages, and you want it on your device in the first day it appears.

Also, if you are into the custom ROMs you will be happy to know that developers have already started to tinker with the official Android 4.0.4 ICS update in order to improve it or customize it to their and, ultimately, your preferences.

Before we move on to the actual guide, we will kindly ask you to read the following disclaimer notice: This software is not our creation so we must warn you that you cannot hold us responsible for any damage that might occur to your device by following the procedures in this guide. However, we will try to help you sort out any glitches or problems that might arise by following the steps in this guide to the extent our knowledge limits us. By going any further into this guide you have accepted the risks and terms above.

With this in mind we will proceed to the first part of our guide, which covers the critical aspect of preserving your personal data. As you might know, updating any Android device from one version to another usually means that your personal data will be deleted along the way. In order to avoid this relatively major inconvenient we have made up a list of third party applications and procedures that will help you both back up your personal data stored on the Xperia Pro and restore it once the update has been completed successfully. You are probably wondering why we have not chosen to back up the data with the Sony PC software, but there is a perfectly good reason behind this: the Sony software may not yet recognize the updated software if it has not been made available in your region.

  • Text messages – We will back them up with the following application : SMS Backup & Restore
  • Phone Contacts –  You can simply synchronize them to your Gmail account or export them to the micro SD card as a .vcf file
  • Call Log – We will use the following application to backup your call log : Call Log Backup and Restore
  • Pictures, Music, Videos, and other files - Simply copy them to your microSD card.
  • Internet & MMS Settings – Write down all the settings from this path “Applications > Settings > Wireless and Network > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names”

After having secured your personal data, we can now safely move on to the next part of our guide, where we will be presenting some minimum safety requirements. These requirements are in place to avoid or minimize the chance of something going wrong during the updating procedure. Due to the fact that this is a tethered update, you will also find some PC related requirements in the list below:

  • First up, you will have to charge your Xperia Pro to a minimum of 70% or even to full battery capacity. This will prevent it from accidentally powering off during the procedure.
  • The second requirement concerns your computer so you will need to disable any antivirus or any other security related software because these otherwise handy tools tend to interfere with the updating program, and might cause it to misbehave, which could in turn result in a bricked Xperia Pro on your behalf.
  • Next you will have to enable the USB Debugging feature that you can find by going to Settings -> Applications -> Development -> USB debugging. This option must be enabled for a successful communication link between the Xperia Pro and the PC.

And these are all the necessary steps you need to take in order to ensure the safety of the update. After finishing the short list above you can now safely move on to the last part of our update. This last part is going to cover the actual updating procedure, so you should keep in mind that any little mistake here can have disastrous results. To this extent we urge you not to stray from the instructions below:

  • In the first step you will have to download all the necessary software, so we have set up this ICS 4.0.4 Firmware Package which you will have to download to your computer. You will also have to download this Flash tool, as it is the actual program that you will use to update your Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro.
  • After downloading the two files above, you will have to extract the file with the extension: .ftf located in the ICS 4.0.4 Firmware Package and save it in an easily accessible location. We recommend using your Desktop folder as the base for this updating operation.
  • In step number three, you will have to copy the file with the .ftf extension at the following path: C:/Drive/ flashtool/ firmwares/ . After doing so you will also have to start the Flash tool program in your computer and connect your Xperia Pro to it via its original USB cable.
  • Once the Flash tool program has been opened you will need to do the following: Click on the “File Option” button and the select the “Flash Mode” option, after which you will just have to click the Ok button. Next up you will have to select the options as in the picture below, after which you will have to again click the Ok button to start the update.

[caption id="attachment_5873" align="aligncenter" width="172" caption="Flash Tool Options"]Flash Tool Options[/caption]

  • Once the update has finished, and it might take some time to complete, you will be notified via a pop up screen of its success.

If the update takes an unusually long time, and by this we understand anything over 30 minutes, you should unplug your device from the PC and pull and reinsert its battery after which you can safely retry the procedure above from step one.

If everything went according to plan, you should now have a Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro running on the latest official software: Android 4.0.4 ICS already topped with a slightly lighter version of the Timescape and Mediascape UI. All that’s left now for you to do is to enjoy the update and make the most out of it as there are not many devices out there that can boast an operating system as new as Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

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