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Xperia Neo L, Sony's first Android 4.0 phone, announced in China

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Sony has announced its first phone that will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The mid-range phone, called the Xperia Neo L, will ship in China.

Xperia Neo L
Xperia Neo L

Plenty of Sony smartphones have gotten at least a preview upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, but now the company has announced the first phone that will ship with the OS built in. Earlier today, Sony announced the Xperia Neo L MT25i, a successor to the Neo and Neo V. The phone will have a 4-inch screen with 854 x 480 resolution, HSDPA 3G, 512MB of RAM, and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. There's a front-facing VGA camera and 5-megapixel rear-facing one, and the phone looks to be skimping a bit on storage: it's reportedly got 1GB internally but will come bundled with a microSD card. Bucking the trend of ultrathin phones, it's 12.2mm thick.

There's no pricing or launch date yet, and we don't even know if the phone will be released outside China. Given Sony's commitment to Android, it seems a little strange that its first official Ice Cream Sandwich device would be a decidedly mid-range phone. It's possible that the phone's release coincided with Sony putting the finishing touches on the new OS. Sony may also have wanted to take advantage of the popular Android platform with a widely affordable phone, using the cachet of 4.0 to boost its visibility. Sony's other Xperia phones currently run 2.3 Gingerbread, but will be receiving an upgrade this year.