The first details of the Xperia Play were leaked months and months ago. Eager portable console fans have been desperate for Sony to have an official unveiling ever since, and today the flood gates were finally opened at the Mobile World Congress, with details aplenty to tide us over until its release.
The Xperia Play phone will be running Android 2.3 on release and will be the first PlayStation Certified phone ever released. The phone will also have a design fairly reminiscent of the PSPgo, with a 4-inch multi-touch LCD screen, a digital D-pad, the Sony-version of ABXY, and two shoulder buttons as well. Following suit with the NGP (PSP2), the Xperia Play will have two analogue touch pads, a feature none of the models of the PSP have yet to exhibit.
In case you are worried about the battery life, a common concern amongst this year's major mobile gaming platforms, Sony has promised over 5 hours of play time on the Xperia phone, plenty for any mobile gamer with time to kill. As interesting as this gadget might be as a gaming platform, its capabilities as a phone are enough to warrant a purchase for anyone looking for a new and feature-rich smartphone.
As we were first made aware earlier this month with Sony's NGP announcement, the PlayStation Suite will be featured on the Xperia Play, which will make it capable of downloading classic PS1 games from the PlayStation Store. According to the press release, over 50 titles will be available for the phone/console-hybrid at launch, including Asphalt Adrenaline 6, Bruce Lee, Star Battalion, The Sims 3, and Tetris. Along with those pre-loaded titles, major series such as Assassin's Creed, Dead Space, Splinter Cell and Guitar Hero (apparently even after its recent death) will be making their way to the phone. Sony has also including a "legendary" PS1 classic. Any guesses as to what it'll be?
Sony also hinted at mobile hotspot multiplayer gaming, which would be a major step in the right direction for this phone. The Android-Sony coupling is already becoming one of the most interesting we have seen this year, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Check out some of the games coming for the device and begin deciding on whether this phone is worth picking up.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is due to be shipped in March, exclusively carried by Verizon Wireless.