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Phones

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 'nearly ready' for sale with O2 after bug fixes

O2 says it will soon start selling the Xperia Play PlayStation phone, after Sony Ericsson fixed the bugs it had complained about.

O2 says it will soon start selling the Xperia Play PlayStation phone, after Sony Ericsson fixed most of the bugs that had made the network delay its debut of the gaming handset.

The operator had been planning to launch the device on 1 April alongside other UK networks, but took the unusual step of publishing a blog post pointing to software glitches in the handset to explain why it was delaying the on-sale date.

Here's Stuart Hibberd, head of O2's testing team, with an update on the situation:

"Since then we've received new software from Sony Ericsson which we've been testing here and, I'm happy to report, it has fixed a lot of the bugs that would have stopped our customers having a great experience when they use the Play. This is an important milestone for us and means the Play is nearly ready to go on sale."

The important words there, of course, are "a lot of the bugs" and "nearly ready" -- it seems the Xperia Play may have a few more hurdles to clear with the testing team before O2 can start flogging the device.

"I'll update you again shortly and we'll also be publishing more details on the Xperia Play very soon, including prices and specific release dates," continues Hibberd, pointing people to the official O2 mini-site for Sony Ericsson's gaming phone.

In the meantime, the Xperia Play is available on other networks, with Orange already selling it, and Three confirming today that the handset is now available to its customers too. Three is selling the device for £499 on pay as you go, or charging £49-£99 for the handset on a monthly contract of £40 or £35 respectively.

The Xperia Play caused a stir before its unveiling at Mobile World Congress in February, with a lengthy list of leaks getting people excited about its PlayStation branding, slide-out gaming controller and Android 2.3 Gingerbread software.

Since then, its star has waned somewhat. O2's bug report was a blow, while Three and Vodafone were forced to delay their on-sale dates due to stock shortages. Meanwhile, as our review points out, the Xperia Play does indeed have a number of flaws in its software and game discovery. Whether O2 will have significantly improved the user experience will be interesting to see.