Why are we doing a hands-on of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, when we've already done a hands-on with the UK version in February? Good question, the reason is, because it’s actually quiet a different phone as we found out when we got to have a play with the new American handset at an exclusive Verizon party at CTIA in Orlando, Florida.
Okay, so it’s not a completely new new phone from Sony Ericsson. Hardware wise not much has changed from the global edition to the US one, however this being a Verizon smartphone the device has lost the SIM card slot and gained some Verizon branding front and back.
Power up the phone it’s self and that’s where things are getting different. For starters Verizon and Sony Ericsson in the US have decided to ditch the Sony Ericsson skin completely and go for a vanilla Android interface. There’s no TimeScape, no Sony Ericsson media browser, just a straight Android 2.3.2 experience.
That means all the latest Android toys you can get – certainly a change to previous Sony Ericsson handsets, and while it’s Android 2.3.3 – don’t fret the .3 is just for NFC support, something the Xperia Play doesn’t have and therefore doesn’t need to worry about.
So it’s ditched the “bloatware”, but it’s also added some some apps in along the way. Verizon customers will get V Cast, and visual voicemail of course, but interestingly the phone will also come with the Amazon Kindle app and Skype pre-installed.
But let’s face it, you’re not buying the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play for either of those are you. You’re buying it for the games.
Like the global offering coming to the UK on Vodafone on 1 April, the handset will come with six games pre-installed including Crash Bandicoot.
However as American’s aren’t the biggest fans of football, or soccer as they like to call it, although it’s not 100 per cent confirmed it’s likely to be replaced with Madden 11 instead – all the demo devices we played with had it installed.
As for Crash – it’s the first time we’ve got to play with the game and we can happily say the memories of the mid to late nineties came flooding back. The d-pad and PlayStation buttons made it very easy to play.
So when’s it coming out in the US? Verizon are still being cagey, however a Sony Ericsson rep we spoke to suggested that US citizens won’t have long to wait with a suspected date or around mid April.