In addition to the announcement of Sony's new PSP, the Next-Generation Portable
, a prototype of Sony's much-rumoured PlayStation Phone has also just popped up in the wild.
A pre-production Xperia Play, also known as the PlayStation Phone (or by its codename Zeus 1), has found its way into the hands of the guys at Engadget
, and it's looking like an impressive piece of equipment.
Although it clearly can't match the reported power of the quad-core NGP, the HSDPA-equipped handset is pretty impressive for a smartphone. Packing Android 2.3 'Gingerbread' as its operating system, the slightly curved front is dominated by a 4in 854 x 480 LCD with multi-touch capabilities and Sony's Bravia graphics processing engine.
Sadly, it appears that Sony hasn't opted for a dual-core processor such as Nvidia's popular Tegra 2 platform in the Xperia Play. Initial indications show a 1GHz ARM-based single-core processor joined by an Adreno 205 graphics processing unit, although so far nobody has been brave enough to dismantle the device in order to find out the exact model of processor.
Meanwhile, connections are covered by a Broadcom BCM4329 chip, which includes Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and an FM receiver, along with the aforementioned HSDPA 3G networking feature.
The key feature of the Xperia Play, however, is its ability to play Sony games. Sliding up the display reveals a novel control pad, featuring the familiar PlayStation-layout D-pad and buttons, while your fingers can rest on a pair of shoulder buttons.
In place of the DualShock's twin analogue sticks is a clever touchpad, which allows emulation of analogue control sticks without any moving parts. Sadly, however, current Android games don't support them, so there's no indication of whether the touchpad is any good at pretending to be a pair of physical sticks.
Sony still hasn't officially confirmed that the device exists, but many are expecting an announcement at the upcoming Mobile World Congress event. If so, we shouldn't have too long to wait in order to find out when we can get our hands on the long-awaited PlayStation Phone.
Do you think that the Xperia Play will generate the same level of excitement as the NGP, or will Sony be losing ground to Nintendo's 3DS, as well as the iPhone, in the next-generation hand-held market? Share your thoughts over in the forums