World's first PlayStation smartphone puts epic video games in your pocket

The Xperia Play is the handset that gamers have been dreaming of - a device that fuses a high-powered Android smartphone with a portable console for the ultimate on-the-go gaming experience - and it's finally due to to arrive in the sweaty palms of gamers around the world in March.

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play was announced on February 13, on the eve of Mobile World Congress (MWC), a four-day event showcasing cutting-edge mobile technology.

The Xperia Play joins Samsung's Galaxy S II (the world's thinnest smartphone) and LG's Optimus 3D (a glasses-free 3D smartphone) as one of MWC's most talked-about handsets.

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play offers users a unique experience of PlayStation-quality gaming on an Android 2.3 Gingerbread-powered device.

The handset has a slide-out game controller with DualShock-style gamepad in the place of a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

It also boasts features that are similar to those found on devices in Sony Ericsson's existing Xperia rage such as a 5.1 MP camera, a 4" multitouch display, a 1GHz processor and built-in social networking features.

The Xperia Play is PlayStation Certified, meaning users will have access to PlayStation game content as part of Sony's PlayStation Suite initiative, which will launch later in 2011.

Leading gaming franchises have already signed on to the initiative, meaning gamers will soon be able to play EA's Need For Speed, Sims 3 and a world-first multiplayer version of FIFA 10 for mobile on their Xperia Play.

Gameloft will offer mobile versions of Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell.

"My vision since the creation of Gameloft was to turn video games into a true mass market form of entertainment," says Michel Guillemot, president of Gameloft.

"This vision is realized with the launch of Xperia PLAY, which combines a perfect smartphone for daily use as well as a real game controller to provide the best gaming experience ever seen on a mobile phone. Gameloft will support the launch with more than 20 titles over the next six months that will take full advantage of the power of this device."

On February 14 Sony announced that sales of its PlayStation 2 console reached 150 million units worldwide on January 31, 10 years and 11 months since it was first released in Japan in March 2000.

Sony Ericsson is yet to announce the price of its Xperia Play handset. The company was also quiet about pricing for its Xperia Pro and Xperia Neo handsets, both of which were unveiled during the company's Mobile Word Congress press event.

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