February 14, 2011

Sony Console Games Come To Mobile Phones

Sony Corp. released the tech world's worst kept secret on Sunday afternoon by announcing the Xperia Play Android phone at Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, Spain, PC World reports.

Despite what you may have read, it's not a PlayStation Phone. In fact the PlayStation logo is not anywhere on it. Consider it instead an Android "Gingerbread" slide-bottom phone (with PSP-style controls, admittedly a first) that can play PlayStation games, AP says.

The Xperia Play phone will have a large touch screen and a pad that slides out to reveal control buttons similar to those on a Sony PlayStation Portable. This phone marks a change in strategy for Sony and a coup for Sony Ericsson, which has been trying to get its phones back into the hands of US customers.

The device's big selling point will be games, and games designed for the phone should look pretty sharp on this sort of hardware, though nothing like what's coming with Sony's NGP, which sports processing architecture several orders of magnitude more powerful. You'll be able to purchase new games by accessing an online Sony Ericsson store, according to PC World.

Based on what Sony showed yesterday--games such as Guitar Hero, Dead Space, and Assassin's Creed--expect mostly ports out the door, not Xperia Play exclusives. Sony says they'll launch with 20 publishing partners and offer 50 games at launch, though.

Xperia Play will feature a 4-inch multitouch 854 by 480 pixel LCD screen with the standard four Android buttons, a Qualcomm chipset with a single core processor capable of clocking up to 1GHz, an Adreno 205 GPU, 512MB of RAM, a 5.1 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a micro-USB port, a 3.5mm headset jack, 400MB internal flash memory, PSP-style shoulder-buttons, and a slide-bottom gamepad with PSP-style controls to either side of an oblong touchpad accessed with your thumbs.

Long-term plans for Sony's new device is to define itself as superior to Apple's iPhone, which Xperia Play is, from a gamer's perspective. Sony executives are hoping mobile gamers would rather have a 4-inch touchscreen with an alternative slide-out gamepad that employs familiar d-pad and button controls over Apple's 3.5-inch touchscreen.

Chief executive of Sony Ericsson, Bert Nordberg, told Reuters the company will focus increasingly on growth this year, after turning profitable in 2010. Nordberg claims the company hopes to increase both revenue and profits in 2011.

Sony plans the Xperia Play to ship globally in March, and that they'll launch in the US on Verizon.


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