Perhaps overshadowed somewhat by the announcement of the PlayStation Portable successor, the powerhouse NGP (see page 20 for more comprehensive coverage), Sony Ericsson has lifted the lid on the "PlayStation Phone” that we’ve been expecting for some time now.
The official details of the Xperia Play were revealed at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain on Monday, February 14th (New Zealand time). However, very few were previously unknown thanks to a series of leaks. What we did learn, though, is that the Xperia Play is not technically a PlayStation-branded phone; rather, it’s simply a Sony Ericsson Android mobile device with PlayStation-style controls and the ability to play PlayStation-certified games. The games can be purchased via the recently announced PlayStation Suite: a platform enabling PlayStation games on a range of Google Android mobile devices. Through the PlayStation Suite, the Play will enjoy the publishing support of 20 partners and 50 games available at launch. Among the launch titles will be Guitar Hero, Assassin’s Creed, Dead Space and Reckless Racing. According to Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Kazuo Hirai, the Play will be sold with several "classic” PS One games preloaded, although details of exactly which titles were not available at the time of writing.
The Xperia Play sports a slider form factor, a 4-inch multitouch LCD display (854x480 pixel) and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor with an embedded Adreno GPU graphics processor (capable of 60 frames per second). The Play runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), boasts 400MB of on-board memory and 512MB of RAM, and it will also come bundled with an 8GB microSD memory card (which is expandable up to 32GB) Aside from the PlayStation Portable-style controls, the Play features a touchpad intended to emulate the dual-analogue controls of the PlayStation Dual Shock and Sixaxis home controllers. It’s understood that the Xperia Play’s battery life will allow up to 5 hours and 35 minutes’ worth of continuous playtime.
Although officially announced during a Super Bowl ad break on US television on February 6th, details of the Xperia Play first began to emerge many months beforehand. Popular technology blog Engadget (www.engadget.com) published the first ever photos of the device back in October 2010, and it even managed to somehow obtain an unofficial hands-on preview of the Xperia Play in January.
The Xperia Play is expected to ship worldwide in March, with a New Zealand release scheduled for Q2 2011 (April, May, June).