Xperia PLAY (aka Playstation Phone) officially launched at Mobile World Congress [video]

At long last we have full details on Sony Ericsson's Xperia PLAY Android phone (aka the Playstation Phone). During its press conference on the eve of the official opening of Mobile World Congress, Sony Ericsson President and CEO Bert Nordberg, assisted by Chief Creation Officer Rikko Sakaguchi and Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Kaz Hirai, finally made the Xperia PLAY, one of the most leaked products in recent history, official.

The biggest surprise of the announcement may have been the launch details. The Xperia PLAY will be launching in the US first, on Verizon, and the launch date is sometime in March (no specific date or pricing mentioned). There will be 50 games available at launch and the device comes bundled with the classic PSOne game, Crash Bandicoot.

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The Xperia PLAY is the first Playstation Certified device to hit the market and so will play all titles eventually offered via Sony's new Playstation Suite service that was announced a few weeks ago in Tokyo, though it sounds like that service won't be rolled out in time for the PLAY launch. In the meanwhile games will be made available via the Android Market. Launch partners include Gameloft, EA (The Sims 3 and FIFA are figuring heavily into promotional efforts) and Trendy Entertainment who is doing a version of Dungeon Defenders as an Xperia PLAY exclusive. All in all there are 20 launch partners, which makes the PLAY a lot more interesting to those of us who are not all that impressed by the idea of playing games from the ancient PSOne platform. The Xperia PLAY has a 1 GHz Scorpion ARMv7 running Android 2.3 (aka Gingerbread). The 4" screen runs at 480 x 854 pixels. There's a 5.1 megapixel back-facing camera, but no front facing camera. It has 400 MB of onboard storage and will come with an 8 GB MicroSD card (it supports up to a 32 GB MicroSD card). Sony Ericsson has a fairly large selection of video interviews of team members, as well as other PLAY related videos, on their YouTube page.

Peter Smith writes about personal technology for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @pasmith.

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