We've been hearing whispers about a PlayStation-branded phone forever, but on May 26, Sony Ericsson will finally launch the Xperia Play. And no, I'm not really sure why it's called that, either.
Pre-orders for the Xperia Play start Thursday, priced at $199.99 with the obligatory two-year contract.
There are a number of games pre-loaded onto the hardware, too: Madden NFL 11, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, The Sims 3, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot, Tetris. Sony's promised at least 50 games will be available at launch, likely a mixture of PlayStation classics and newer titles.
There are other phones that will support PlayStation games; Sony's calling those "PlayStation Certified" machines. The central difference between Xperia Play and anything that's been certified, however, is touch controls vs. buttons. Xperia Play isn't unlike a PSP, whereas the controls for many certified devices are completely touch-based, intangible buttons. It's not the most appealing concept.
Sony's upcoming successor to PSP, tentatively titled NGP (next-generation portable), will not include native cellular support, but PSP featured a Skype application and some NGP models will sport 3G.