EXCLUSIVE: PlayStation phone to hit shops in April

The Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone will hit shops in April, after a February Mobile World Congress launch, sources close to the matter have confirmed to Pocket-lint.

The news will be a blow to those heading to Las Vegas and the Consumer Electronics Show, hoping to see the new Android powered PlayStation phone next month.

Instead, Pocket-lint has learnt that the phone will be launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, at Sony Ericsson's press conference on the Sunday evening.

However, those expecting to be able to play the latest games when they hit the slopes in the February half term will be disappointed. Sources have confirmed to Pocket-lint that it won’t be out until April in the UK.

“Sony Ericsson is going big on this one”, our source told us, “but although it will get a Feb launch, it won’t be in shops until April”.

The infamous PlayStation phone has been rumoured for some time, with devices starting to appear in spy shots on the Internet in the last couple of weeks.

According to previous leaks, the phone will come in a slider design similar to the PSP Go and feature a dedicated gaming pad and the hallmark PlayStation square, cross, triangle and circle buttons. Inside it’s rumoured to have a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655, 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches.

Our sources match up with previous comments from Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg, who in November said: "There's a lot of smoke, and I tell you there must be a fire somewhere", when asked about the PlayStation phone’s existence.

"Sony has an extremely strong offering in the gaming market, and that's very interesting", Nordberg said before adding: "gaming, including content, is a very interesting proposition".

The mobile chief went on to say that he wants to make a lot of "noise" with a new device at Mobile Word Congress 2011 in February, and stated that there is no technological issues with launching a game-oriented phone.

The confirmation comes less than a week after Sony announced that it was launching a PlayStation app for the iPhone and Android. That app has yet to appear in either the Android Marketplace, or Apple App Store.