Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - Measuring this year's hottest smartphones

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - Measuring this year's hottest smartphones
Carrier: Verizon Wireless
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The Xperia Play was one of the most anticipated devices of the last few months, so when it was unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the smartphone wasn't exactly a surprise. What was a surprise was that Sony Ericsson partnered with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) to launch the device in the U.S. market, marking the first time the two companies have worked together.

The smartphone runs Android 2.3, or Gingerbread, and features a 4-inch screen, slide-out gaming controls with a directional pad and Sony PlayStation buttons, a 1 GHz processor, CDMA and EV-DO support as well as UMTS and HSPA, and memory card support for up to 32 GB.

The Xperia Play is the first smartphone that meets the standards of Sony's PlayStation Certified license program for hardware manufacturers. That certification promises software development support and logo licensing to guarantee quality gameplay experiences across the Android device ecosystem. Additionally, Sony Ericsson said that by the end of the year it will launch a PlayStation Suite to distribute gaming content for the phone. When the device  launches it will come with five to 10 pre-loaded games, and there will be 50 or 60 titles in the Android Market optimized for the smartphone that are separate from the titles that Sony will put into its PlayStation Suite later this year.

Sony Ericsson is trying to bring resources from Sony to bear to make an impact in the market and help bridge the divide between mobile gaming and console gaming. More importantly, the device is on a major CDMA carrier, the kind of partner Sony Ericsson has not yet had in the U.S. market.

"It looked gimmicky, but it's actually a solid phone," said ABI Research analyst Kevin Burden. "You can put in a second core feature, but it still has to be a solid phone. It's got that great screen that you expect on a Sony Ericsson phone."

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play - Measuring this year's hottest smartphones