updated 07:05 pm EST, Sun February 6, 2011
Sony Ericsson confirms Xperia Play real
Sony Ericsson's Facebook fan page on Sunday formally acknowledged the existence of the Xperia Play. Challenging Apple with the claim that "Android is ready to play," the update confirms the PlayStation phone will be detailed at Sony Ericsson's Mobile World Congress event on February 13 at 6PM Barcelona time (noon Eastern). While it didn't provide technical details, the shot showed the same customized interface as the Xperia Arc and will certainly use Android 2.3.
Many of the phone's details are already widely publicized. The slider will mate a four-inch, 854x480 screen with slide-out PSP-style controls that include optical analog 'sticks' and two shoulder buttons. Its performance won't be nearly as high as for the NGP and will depend on a second-generation 1GHz Snapdragon along with a five-megapixel camera.
The centerpiece will be a dedicated PlayStation app identified by the Games icon on the home screen. The portal will aggregate all the games that qualify under the PlayStation Suite program. Many of these games will have a guaranteed minimum of performance and work with Sony's hardware controls. Initial titles will be PS1 ports but could include PSP games and original titles.
No release dates were given, but it's believed Sony Ericsson will have the phone ready quickly, possibly as soon as March.
The introduction should be a milestone for Android, for whom gaming has been a habitual weak spot versus the iPhone. Google's platform has been splintered by many different resolutions, processors and control schemes. The absence of a consistent platform has led many Android game developers to either limit their titles to just a handful of devices or to produce lowest common denominator apps that run on the most devices possible. PlayStation Suite and the Xperia Play won't necessarily challenge iOS devices in sheer technical ability but would provide a reliable point of reference for Android developers.