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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play laid bare as real PlayStation Phone emerges

After a steady flow of leaked photos and videos, tech blog Engadget has actually got its hands on a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play: the long-rumoured PlayStation Phone.

The PlayStation Phone has been more of a fact than a rumour for some time now, but to scotch any doubt, Sony Ericsson's new Xperia Play is now finding its way into the hands of tech bloggers.

Engadget has one, and has posted a lengthy preview of the new Android-based gaming smart phone. It confirms the basic specs of the device, including its 4-inch, 854x480-pixel screen, and a 1GHz processor teamed with 512MB of RAM and the 2.3 Gingerbread flavour of Android.

The handset's slide-out gamepad has one pair of shoulder buttons like the PSP (rather than two like the PS3's joypads), with a D-pad, four buttons with the now-traditional square, circle, triangle and cross icons, and two touchpads in place of analogue joysticks.

An encouraging sign: Engadget thinks the Xperia Play is comfortable to hold and has a better build quality than Sony's PSP Go, although it's not quite as well balanced.

It looks as though the phone will play games from the just-announced PlayStation Suite, an Android-based games store that offers old PSP and PSOne titles. The spangly new NGP will have access to this to, which raises the question: why not just get an NGP, Sony?

Engadget had a PlayStation emulator running on the device to play Ridge Racer Revolution and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4. That's an interesting side-effect of Sony Ericsson's decision to base the Xperia Play on Android: there are plenty of retro console emulators available for Google's OS already. So there's another question -- why pay for games you bought 10 years ago when you can get them for free?

Play Super Mario Bros on your PlayStation Phone? It looks like it'll be possible. But now the handset has been unmasked in exhaustive detail, what we're interested in is Sony's own gaming plans for the new device.

Photo credit: Engadget