But after months of detailed leaks, early hands-on previews, and numerous executive non-denials, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is finally 100 percent official.
As we've heard for ages now, it'll run Android 2.3 Gingerbread on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor with Qualcomm Adreno 205 graphics and display those games on a sizable 4-inch, 854 x 480 multi-touch LCD screen, the combination of which Sony says will provide 60 frames per second playback and manage up to 5 hours, 35 minutes of battery life in a single game session with the slide-out PlayStation Certified controller. Gaming credentials aside, you're looking at either a quad-band GSM or CDMA and EV-DO smartphone with a 5-megapixel autofocus camera, LED flash, stereo speakers, Bluetooth and WiFi functionality baked in, as well as Sony Ericsson's Timescape UI layer.
The phone comes preloaded with a "legendary" PSone game of the undisclosed variety, as well as a bevy of popular Android games including Asphalt 6, The Sims 3 and Tetris, and Sony Ericsson promises a library of 50 additional titles available at launch from 20 publishing partners. Some games ported from existing smartphone platforms (like Reckless Racing) will have bonus content on Xperia Play, too. Local area multiplayer gaming is a go, as you'll be able to host a WiFi hotspot on one device and join the game with another. It's launching in March, and will be available on Verizon (a US timed exclusive) in "early spring," suggesting that we'll see the European launch before it hits the States.
Update: Press release, full, gigantic spec sheet and loads of video after the break!
Update 2: A brand new Xperia Play hands-on with games!