While branded phone makers such as Motorola and Sony Ericsson are buying time explaining why it’s taking them so long to deploy Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software on their newest devices in the wild, Chinese manufacturer Huawei has posted a demo build of the Ice Cream Sandwich software update for their flagship Honor smartphone. The device launches next week on the China Unicom network and is expected to hit the U.S. shortly under the name Huawei Glory and priced at $300.

The firmware update for this Gingerbread 2.3 device was posted on Huawei’s support page this morning (via Engadget). It comes with support for simplified Chinese but it’s a beta so it’s not ready for prime time yet. Still, looks like Huawei has become the first Android vendor to release an Ice Cream Sandwich firmware update for public consumption. Power users willing to experiment can download and install the 148MB build for their Honor phone starting today.

Less than a month following the release of the Ice Cream Sandwich source code, manufacturer Motorola wrote in a blog post last week that it will be determining “over the next month” which devices will get the upgrade and promised to let users know when it becomes available. A few hours later Sony Ericsson published a similar blog post explaining how they manage Ice Cream Sandwich. With Mobile World Congress 2011 scheduled to run February 27 – March 1 in Spain, Barcelona, it is likely that branded vendors won’t be releasing firmware updates for existing phones or major new devices before the Barcelona show.

Announced in September of this year, the sleek Honor smartphone is 10.9mm thin and packs in a 1.4GHz processor, an eight-megapixel back camera with HDR, a two-megapixel camera out the front, a 4-inch high-definition FWGA 16:9 capacitive touchscreen and a massive 1,900 mAh battery. It also comes with a backup service that saves the last three days worth of content of the device. The Honor weighs in at just 140g and is certified by the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).

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