Sony Ericsson is able to ‘exploit the power’ of the Sony brand after launching its ‘PlayStation Phone’, the Xperia Play, the manufacturer’s MD Nathan Vautier told Mobile in Barcelona this week.
He said: ‘We are now able to exploit the power of the Sony brand – it is very well-known, liked and trusted. The Xperia Arc and the Xperia Play will be released at the end of March, they will be the flagship products: there will be a big marketing campaign with the majority of the spend on those two devices.’
‘We think we’ve been really innovative here and that is very exciting. We think this will put Sony Ericsson back at the centre of things,’ Vautier added.
The manufacturer has had a very high level of interest from operators and retailers, Vautier said. Its Play handset will be ranged at £40 per month or under on all networks and at all retailers. It will launch at midnight on 31 March at a secret venue in London.
Sony Ericsson has 50 games ready at launch for its Play handset. Vautier said: ‘The Sony Ericsson brand used to, and should still, mean innovation. Operators have been very receptive to it. I don’t think we know the size of the opportunity that awaits us in the gaming world yet.’
The company is currently talking to retailers about how to bring its Play and Arc devices to market.
Vautier said: ‘The best way to bring the Arc and Play to life is to have live demonstrations in stores. O2 is very keen on this and plans to have live demos in over 200 stores. Phones 4u has been very successful at converting non-live handsets to sales, but even it is considering live demonstrations in its stores.’
Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson has ‘learnt from previous experience’ about the speed with which it can upgrade Android, ‘as we have had some problems with that’, said Vautier. It has decoupled its UI from Android and the Linux core beneath that and replaced it with widgets, ‘which means we can change things much faster’, he added.
The Xperia Play
The smartphone element offers all the usual features of the Xperia range, delivering a four-inch capacitive multi-touch screen with a resolution of 480x854 pixels. There is a 5.1-megapixel camera with auto-focus, flash, photo light and geotagging.
However, the Xperia Play comes into its own as a gaming device. The power for the smartphone and the full-on gaming experience comes via the 1GHz processor and the Adreno GPU graphics processor. The combination of these two processors provides 60 frames per second for gaming and browsing with little battery consumption.
The slide-out gaming control sports a digital D-pad, two analogue touch-pads, two shoulder buttons and the four PlayStation icons: circle, cross, square and triangle.
The Xperia Play runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and comes with PlayStation certification, which brings PlayStation content availability via the PlayStation Suite initiative. This will include content such as the FIFA football game.