After a long wait, as well as some derision --being a "gaming phone," comparisons to the N-Gage were inevitable -- the Xperia Play is finally ready for its launch through Verizon Wireless. Come next Thursday, the device will be available for $199.99 with a two-year contract. Like most smartphones, a data plan is required for purchase, which runs $29.99 per month. According to the Verizon website, there is no option other than the unlimited plan for 3G or 4G smartphones which, all things considered, is just as well. Background data transfer, particularly automatic updating of applications, can eat up data like nobody's business (my sister recently discovered this disconcerting fact with her AT&T iPhone 4), so it's something to keep in mind, should the Play become available through other carriers. The phone comes pre-loaded with seven games, "Madden NFL 11 (EA Sports), Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior (Digital Legends), Asphalt 6: Adrenaline (Gameloft), The Sims 3 (EA), Star Battalion (Gameloft), Crash Bandicoot (Sony PlayStation) and Tetris," according to the press release.
For you tech geeks out there, the specs include:
1 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon® II processor with Adreno 205 GPU Adobe® Flash® Player
4-inch multi-touch display
5-megapixel rear-facing camera
VGA front-facing camera for still shots and video chatting
Support for Google Mobile Services including Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Talk™,
Google Search™, Google Maps™, and access to more than 200,000 apps available to download from Android Market™
Mobile hotspot capability- share 3G connection with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices
Time will tell whether this hybrid device takes off. I have the misfortune of being tethered with an invisible rope to Verizon for the next year, but to be honest, the Xperia Play hasn't really piqued my interest. While the thought of having a "gaming phone" is interesting, it's not exactly $200 worth of interesting, especially with the PSP at $129.99.