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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. Another "robot"

Ironically, I did not like the beginning of SE conference – too many stirring words, claims of best smartphones, unprecedented features and so on. I was about to take a nap, while representatives of Sony Ericsson basked in their glory. Then came the time of new products and everybody became more interested. After the unveiling of Xperia Play the audience burst into applauds. It may be premature, but the company has something to boast.

Xperia Play is the first gaming "robot". SE even showed a weird ad where the "robot" got big fingers sewn in the basement for him to use all features of SE Xperia Play.

There was a standard presentation on capabilities of SE Xperia Play and available games. Developers agreed to take part in the development of the platform.

To cut a long story short SE Xperia Play will run several games from the original PS together with a dozen of games created exclusively for SE Xperia Play. The first item is not unique due to the FPSE project, which enables playing several hundreds of games from PlayStation One. The second point is attractive only if the company manages to keep the games exclusive for Xperia Play. There is another option if these games are so connected with hardware buttons of the new smartphone that on any other "robot" the experience will be more inferior.

The following companies are going to develop games for Xperia Play:

  • Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Digital Chocolate
  • Digital Legends
  • Electronic Arts
  • Fishlabs
  • Gamehouse
  • Gameloft
  • Glu Mobile
  • Handy Games
  • Namco Bandai Networks
  • Polarbit
  • PopCap
  • Trendy Entertainment
  • Unity Tecnologies

In terms of new games and classical PS offerings the smartphone is not impressive. New games will not be ground-breaking, but they provide high quality. Something similar is already available at Android Market.

Nevertheless SE Xperia Play still attracts attention.

Designwise we have a typical SE product, which should probably be treated as a complement. Attractive shape is accompanied by hardware buttons on the slider and under the screen. Large size can be considered a bonus or a drawback. I like a 4" screen and the resolution of 480x854.

The gadget works on Android 2.3 with Scorpion ARMv7 platform and a 1 GHz processor together with an in-built graphic accelerator. According to SE the smartphone will offer up to 60 fps in games. The main gaming features are not games or association with PlayStation Suite, but dedicated hardware buttons. For the first time in many years Sony Ericsson made a brave decision (after both Nokia N-Gage failures) to introduce a phone with gaming buttons.

The buttons are large and easy to press. Besides, the extended panel has sensor fields alongside with hardware buttons.

It would be excellent if this block of buttons can be used for navigation in menu and browser. I will check it tomorrow.

We should not take SE Xperia Play only for a smartphone with handy gaming buttons. It is an interesting experiment, which was a rarity for SE during the last years. All we need is a stable firmware at the start of sales and the model will be successful. It is just not typical among other "robots" of any price range. Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is different, which is its unique selling point. SE promises to start the sales in March.

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Artem Lutfullin (artem@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 14 February 2011

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