BARCELONA, Spain-The mobile gaming experience got a boost this week from handset maker Sony Ericsson, which debuted at Mobile World Congress the Xperia Play, the latest phone in its Xperia line of Google Android-based smartphones.
In addition to a 5-megapixel camera, a 4-inch multitouch screen and social networking features, 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.
Qualcomm's optimized Snapdragon processor with a 1GHz CPU and embedded Adreno GPU graphics processor deliver 60-fps playback 3D mobile gaming and Web browsing with minimal power consumption and will run on Gingerbread (version 2.3) of the Android platform. Additional features include Bluetooth stereo, TrackID music recognition capability, Google Voice Search, Twitter and Facebook applications from the Android market, and gesture and motion gaming capabilities. A company release said the Xperia Play will be available globally in selected markets from March 2011.
Sony Ericsson also announced partnerships with publishers in the gaming industry to deliver a well-stocked ecosystem at launch and post-launch, with many titles available via the Android Marketplace. Franchises coming to the Xperia Play include EA's "Need For Speed," "Sims 3" and a world-first multiplayer version of "FIFA 10" for mobile. GLU Mobile/Activision 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.
"EA collaborated closely with Sony Ericsson to bring exciting versions our best-selling consumer favorites such as 'The Sims 3' and 'EA Sports FIFA 10' to the Xperia. The device'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," said Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide studios for EA Mobile. "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. We look forward to watching consumers interact with our great games in new ways through the Xperia."
The handset also includes a microUSB cable for charging, synchronization and file transfers, an 8GB microSD memory card, WiFi hot spot functionality, Google Maps with Street View, a noise shield, audio recording capability, a document reader and document editor, Media Transfer Protocol support, Android Cloud to Device messaging (C2DM) and geo tagging, an image stabilizer and video recording for the Xperia's camera.
"Today is a very proud moment for Sony Ericsson as we bring something truly revolutionary to the market. Living up to our vision of Communication Entertainment, Xperia Play will forever change the way people think about smartphones and mobile gaming," said 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."