May 26, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
The PlayStation Phone runs Android? The concept originally seemed a little strange when rumors first emerged that Sony Ericsson was developing an Android phone capable of playing PlayStation games, especially since so many were content to play their PSP’s or emulators. But after months of sly leaks, a few hands-on here and there, the fabled PlayStation Phone is finally available as the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play on Verizon.
The SE Xperia Play launched today at Verizon Wireless stores throughout the United States. The first PlayStation-certified Android phone costs $199 on a two-year agreement, and somewhat differs from the GSM version of the phone available in Canada and Europe. The hardware is identical as both form factors slide-down to transform the Xperia Play into the ultimate gaming device. A physical d-pad, analog gesture pads, and physical buttons required of PS gaming are all present to give rest to thumbs weary of touchscreen gaming that can be more taxing and less precise.
While the hardware between GSM and CDMA versions may be near-twins, they are perfect strangers when it comes to software. Verizon opted to run stock Gingerbread (Android 2.3) on the Xperia Play, so users won’t enjoy the surprisingly improved user interface seen in our original hands-on video of the Xperia Play. That also means users are less-likely to be encumbered by that UI that could just as easily prove vexing and slow down the update process.
Hold on to your seats, Android gamers. It’s time to take the Xperia Play for a spin. We’ll be testing out the device leading up to a full review to come next week, but for now, let’s get to the video. Got a question? Ask in the comments section.