Xperia Play – Dare I Dream of Anything But iPhone?!

So the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 is under way in Barcelona, and wouldn’t you know it there’s actually been something exciting announced?

Sony’s mega-hyped Xperia Play – the first PlayStation certified mobile – has been unveiled at long last, and she’s looking a doozy. Running Android 2.3 on a Snapdragon 1GHz CPU is a swish move, as is the 5MP camera and full touch screen. But the biggest hit has to be the full gaming controls – normal d-pad and Sony PSX buttons with, wait for it, shoulder buttons and analogue touch pads! Who’d have thunk it?!

Why so exciting?

Because if there’s one thing that top-end Smartphones don’t do – and here I’m totally looking at you iPhone – it’s gaming buttons. Touch screens are notoriously poor for proper gaming apps, requiring a big chunk of the screen – and the gamer’s patience – to operate via on-screen controls. They’re clunky, ugly, and unreliable – and it’s this reason that Angry Birds is the number one mobile app round the world, rather than a proper game (which the tech can easily handle) – because everything else is too fiddly to work.

So could it be bye-bye iPhone? Well, with Android coming on strong, the non-Apple app-base building fast, better tariffs, and more choice all-round, there’s always been that little snag of doubt as to whether iPhone would maintain it’s cherished place in my heart long term. But with its unique looks, feel, power, and seemless integration of web and music, everything else just lacked that killer USP.

But if there’s one thing that’ll always sell to me, it’s games. So yes, Xperia, you are looking pretty goddamn tasty right now. Except, I say “looking tasty” – but if you have one flaw, it is those looks. As a games machine, all slid out and silver, you’re not bad. But bunched up and closed, you kind of resemble an NHS glasses case c. 1976. And no one wants that.

But get me drunk, slag off the iPhone, and let me twiddle with your touchpads, and who knows where this might lead?

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