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Sony Ericsson launches Android phone with slide-out gamepad

Feb 14, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 37 views

Sony Ericsson announced a 1GHz Snapdragon-based Android 2.3 phone that doubles as a handheld game-playing device. The Xperia Play offers a slide-out Sony PS3-style gamepad instead of a keyboard, a four-inch 854 x 480 pixel display, 8GB of memory with expansion, a five-megapixel camera, and all the usual wireless features.

The mobile gaming experience got a boost this week as Sony Ericsson released the Xperia Play, the latest phone in the company's Xperia range of Android-based smartphones. The handset features a slide-out gaming control pad with a digital D pad, two analog touch pads, two shoulder buttons, and the four Sony PlayStation icons: circle, cross, square, and triangle.

Sony-Ericsson Xperia Play open (above), with closed view shown below at right
(Click to enlarge)

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play was tipped late last month around the time Sony announced a "PlayStation Suite" framework and licensing program, as well as an app store for playing PlayStation titles on Android. The initiative hopes to supply modified versions of Sony PlayStation titles to PS Suite-licensed Android phones such as the Xperia Play.

The PS Suite framework will be available as an emulator to port PlayStation content to Android 2.3 or later devices later this year. Sony will start with original PlayStation games ("PS one classics"), and later move on to titles that run on the PlayStation Portable as well as a new "NGP" version, which was also recently unveiled.

The Xperia Play runs Android 2.3 on Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which offers an embedded Adreno graphics processor unit (GPU). The device is claimed to deliver 60fps 3D mobile gaming playback.

The device ships with up to 400MB of memory and offers an 8GB flash card in a microSD slot that can handle up to 32GB, says Sony Ericsson. The Xperia Play provides a four-inch capacitive multitouch display with 854 x 480 resolution, as well as a five-megapixel camera with video recording and geo-tagging, says the company.

Additional features include Bluetooth, A-GPS, and Wi-Fi, as well as presumably optional Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. A microUSB port, a 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, as well as gesture and motion gaming capabilities are also said to be available.

Software is said to include Android 2.3, TrackID music recognition capability, Google Voice Search, Google Maps with Street View, plus Twitter and Facebook applications. In addition, the phone ships with a document reader and document editor, Media Transfer Protocol support, and Android Cloud to Device messaging (C2DM), says Sony Ericsson.

The company also announced partnerships with publishers in the gaming industry to deliver optimized gaming titles on the Android Marketplace. Franchises coming to the Xperia Play include EA's Need For Speed and Sims 3 titles, and a "world-first" multiplayer version of FIFA 10 for mobile.

GLU Mobile/Activision, meanwhile, will be bringing Guitar Hero while Gameloft's titles include Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell. Sony Ericsson is also partnering with Unity Technologies, using its development platform to "ensure a continuous flow of high quality 3D game titles."

Xperia Play, left and right

Stated Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide studios for EA Mobile, "The [Xperia Play's] dedicated gaming keypad gives FIFA players what matters most in a footy game — ultimate ball control, quick player selection on the pitch, effortless passes and more. The Xperia Play's unique gamepad also delivers robust control in The Sims 3, bringing a whole new life simulation experience to fans of the franchise."

Stated Rikko Sakaguchi, executive vice president and chief creation officer at Sony Ericsson, "The launch of Xperia Play could not have been possible without the close collaboration of both Google and Sony Computer Entertainment. The commitment of so many industry leading game publishers further demonstrates that Xperia Play will deliver on the long-held expectations from consumers the world over."


The Xperia Play will be available globally in selected markets starting in March, says Sony Ericsson. The company has posted an announcement with a detailed Xperia Play spec list.

Nathan Eddy is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

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