The PJ Tatler

iPhone killer on the way?

Maybe.  It’s called the Xperia Play, and it’s an Android phone with a PlayStation built in.  In other words, a PlayStation phone.

In case you haven’t been keeping your eyes peeled open for news about this intriguing device, here’s a little roundup of what we know so far: various screenshots have revealed the codenames “Zeus” plus “R800i,” and it’s now clear that this HSDPA phone with Gingerbread will be marketed under the Xperia brand, with a hint of PlayStation here and there. In terms of specs, we can confirm that the Xperia Play has a 4-inch multitouch 854 x 480 LCD, which is what the X10 has as well. In fact, the LCDs on both phones have similarly good color performance and viewing angles, but upon closer inspection we noticed that the Xperia Play’s LCD is brought closer to the glass, which may be why it produces a slightly darker black. Rumor from the Far East also has it that, like the Xperia Arc, the Xperia Play’s screen is powered by a Bravia engine for improved video playback.

Sony Ericsson is the manufacturer.  Looking at the pics, I get the impression of a much slicker-looking Nintendo DS, but built for grownups and running a grownup OS, with a phone, 5 mp camera, etc built in. Because it runs Android, it can do a few things that the iPhone can’t do.  The question is, what will this phone do to Sony’s existing games infrastructure?  They will have to bring their price points down, a lot, to compete with the Apps Store, where most games sell for a buck or are even free.  At this point, you can already buy many iPhone apps for the PS3 as “minis” in the PlayStation store, but they tend to cost more there than they cost in the App Store.

And how will Apple counter the Xperia Play?  I suspect the Apple TV 2 will play a role in that.