Xperia Play launches next Thursday through Verizon

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play will make its US launch next Thursday, May 26, Verizon announced today. The carrier will start taking pre-orders for the $200 device -- with a two-year contract -- beginning this Thursday.

Once dubbed the "PlayStation Phone," the Xperia Play was outed through a series of comically comprehensive leaks -- and even a commercial -- before Sony Ericsson got around to announcing the thing. While it doesn't quite live up to its original nickname, the Xperia Play is the first "PlayStation Certified" Android smartphone on the market -- and it's got the four "iconic" PlayStation buttons to prove it.

While the full PlayStation Suite framework, with its PSN access (and limited compatibility) for certified mobiles, won't launch until later this year, the Xperia Play will come pre-loaded with seven games, including Madden NFL 11, The Sims 3, Crash Bandicoot and Tetris.
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Verizon Wireless and Sony Ericsson Take Mobile Gaming to the Next Level With the Sony Ericsson Xperia™ PLAY

The World's First PlayStation® Certified Smartphone Combines PlayStation®-Quality Gaming Experience with the Latest Android Smartphone Technology

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Take conference calls, send emails and win football's biggest game, all on one device. The Sony Ericsson Xperia™ PLAY, for Verizon Wireless, redefines mobile gaming by combining all the features customers expect from a fully-featured smartphone with the ultimate gaming experience.

Powered by Android™ 2.3, Gingerbread, the Sony Ericsson Xperia™ PLAY will come pre-loaded with seven game titles, including 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. Customers can expand their video game library with more than 50 game titles available at launch for download via V CAST Apps. Customers easily become gamers with the slide out game pad revealing a directional keypad, dual analog touch joystick, two shoulder buttons and the four iconic PlayStation® symbol keys: circle, X, square and triangle.

Additional Features:
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

Pricing and Availability:
The Sony Ericsson Xperia™ PLAY will be available for pre-order online at www.verizonwireless.com beginning May 19 and in stores on May 26 for $199.99 with a new two-year customer agreement.
Sony Ericsson Xperia™ PLAY customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and a smartphone data package. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 for monthly access and an unlimited smartphone data plan is $29.99 for monthly access.

Game Developers:
The gaming experience can only get better as additional games are being created. Developers have the flexibility to focus on content and not worry about binary file sizes when submitting apps to V CAST Apps. Developers can visit http://developer.verizon.com/play for additional information about game development for the Sony Ericsson Xperia™ PLAY.

For more information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com. To learn more about the Sony Ericsson Xperia™ PLAY, visit www.sonyericsson.com.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's fastest, most advanced 4G network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 104 million total wireless connections, including more than 88 million retail customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

About Sony Ericsson
Sony Ericsson celebrates its 10th year as a joint venture between Sony Corporation and Ericsson in October, 2011. Over the years the company has brought together the best communication technologies with superior entertainment user experiences to create its Xperia™ line of the 'most entertaining smartphones' in the mobile handset industry. With its global corporate functions in London, Sony Ericsson has sales and marketing operations in all major regions of the world, as well as manufacturing in China, and product development sites in China, Japan, Sweden and Silicon Valley, California. For more information, please visit: www.sonyericsson.com/press.

*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.