After months of speculation and first confirmation of the existence of the device at last week's Superbowl, Sony Ericsson has said it'll launch Xperia Play in March.
Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg showed off the phone at a Mobile World Congress press conference in Barcelona yesterday, saying it'll be the "world's first ever PlayStation-certified device."
Xperia Play will run on Gingerbread, the latest version of Android.
According to Sony Ericsson, the decision to make a PlayStation-like phone was taken in 2005.
PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai was also in attendance and took to the stage to talk about the device. He mentioned the PlayStation Suite and the PlayStation Certification programs he announced at the NGP reveal in Tokyo at the end of January, which will enable Android devices to feature PlayStation content.
He confirmed that content will come from the PlayStation Store when it goes live near the end of the year, although Play will be pre-loaded with content as well as a legendary PSone title. Hirai didn't confirm what that would be at the time, but it's since been reported to be Crash Bandicoot.
The first game shown on the phone was Dungeon Defenders from Trendy Games.
Over 20 publishing partners will also support the device with 50 titles for launch. The number is increasing "on a weekly basis."
Companies involved include EA, Gameloft and Glu Mobile. Guitar Hero, Dead Space, FIFA, Assassin's Creed and more are now confirmed for Xperia Play.
Gaming tech company Unity will also be involved, with Sony Ericsson promising it'll be "ensuring a steady flow of premium content."
The US will get it first, with Verizon being the initial carrier when it ships in the region in "early spring".
In a promotional video, Sony Ericsson product manager Aaron Duke took a shot at the existing mobile gaming market.
"We don't want you to have to play just touchscreen Angry Birds the entire time," he said. "We want you to play true console quality games."
He added: "This is a mobile device that can really stand up to rowdiness. You really expect a lot out of your game controller, oftentimes you're just beating the crap out of it.
"You need a certain sturdiness to a game controller in order to beat the crap out of it and play the kind of games we want the end user to play."
According to a GameSpot UK talk with Sony Ericsson UK MD Nathan Vautier, previously-purchased content from PS Store will have to be purchased again for Play.
"[Xperia Play owners] will have to re-purchase the games, so it's not totally integrated," said Vautier.
"I think the exciting thing is that there are games which people are very, very aware of."
“We don’t see it as competition to a console like the NGP."
The company further added that it doesn't see Xperia Play in a competition on a gaming level with Sony's NGP, the next-gen successor to PSP.
"We don’t see it as competition to a console like the NGP. That’s a dedicated gaming device you’ll use this more as a compliment, a different type of entertainment and for different situations," VP head of product line, Christopher Bulcher, told PocketGamer.
Play detailed to death
Xperia Play will come in black or white, according to a press release reported by Kotaku.
The 4-inch screen is a 16,777,216 colour TFT with capacitive multi-touch and 480 x 854 pixels (FWVGA).
The phone's box will contain a battery, stereo portable handsfree headset, 8GB microSD memory card, charger and a micro USB cable.
Battery life has been well-detailed, with gameplay time lasting "up to 5 hours 35 minutes".
- Talk time GSM/GPRS: Up to 8 hrs 25 min
- Standby time GSM/GPRS: Up to 425 hrs
- Talk time UMTS: Up to 6 hrs 25 min
- Standby time UMTS: Up to 413 hrs
- Talk time CDMA2000: Up to 7 hrs 40 min
- Standby time CDMA2000: Up to 405 hrs
- Game play time: Up to 5 hrs 35 min
- MP3 playback: Up to 30 hrs 35 min
Here are the phone's full specs:
- 5.1 megapixel camera
- Auto focus
- Flash / Photo light
- Geo tagging
- Image stabiliser
- Send to web
- Touch focus
- Video light
- Video recording
- Video blogging
- Album art
- Bluetooth™ stereo (A2DP)
- Google™ Music Player
- Music tones (MP3/AAC)
- PlayNow service
- Sony Ericsson Music player
- Stereo speakers
- TrackID™ music recognition application
- Android Market
- Google™ search
- Google™ Voice Search
- Pan & zoom
- Web browser (Webkit)
- Call list
- Conference calls
- Facebook application (from Android Market)
- Google Talk
- Noise Shield
- Polyphonic ringtones
- Sony Ericsson Timescape
- Twitter application (from Android Market)
- Vibrating alert
- Android Cloud to Device messaging (C2DM)
- Google Mail
- Instant messaging
- Picture messaging (MMS)
- Predictive text input
- Sound recorder
- Text messaging (SMS)
- Auto rotate
- Keyboard (onscreen, 12 key)
- Keyboard (onscreen, QWERTY)
- Picture wallpaper
- Wallpaper animation
- 3D games
- Dedicated gaming keys
- Flash Lite
- Gesture gaming
- Motion gaming
- Video streaming
- Alarm clock
- Document editors
- Document readers
- Flight mode
- Google Calendar
- Google Gallery 3D
- Infinite button
- Phone book
- Set-up Wizard
- Widget manager
- 3.5 mm audio jack
- Bluetooth technology
- DLNA Certified
- Google Latitude
- Google Location Service
- Google Maps with Street View
- Media Transfer Protocol support
- Micro USB Connector
- Synchronisation via Facebook
- Synchronisation via Google Sync
- Synchronisation via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync
- Synchronisation via Sony Ericsson Sync
- USB 2.0 high speed support
- Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality
- Size: 119 x 62 x 16 mm
- Weight: 175 grams
- Phone memory: 400 MB
- Memory card support: microSD, up to 32 GB
- Memory card included: 8GB microSD
- Operating system: Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
- Processor: 1 GHz Scorpion ARMv7
Gamespot also has a hand-on video with the phone here.