Sony Ericsson’s big news from Barcelona is obviously the Xperia Play, the mysterious and oft-rumoured PSP-phone. But they’ve also announced two new additions to the Xperia line - the Pro and the Neo. Between today’s new phones and the Xperia Arc from CES, SE has a complete stable of new devices to take on the rest of the smartphone world.

Interestingly, Sony has kept things very constant throughout the lineup; all three phones announced today run the same 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor and Adreno 205 GPU as the Arc, as well as Android 2.3 with Sony’s Timescape UI on top of it. In addition, all four devices have 854x480 resolution screens, which was likely done to keep the UI consistent across all devices regardless of screen size.

The Neo and Pro are a pair of 3.7” handsets that have nearly identical spec sheets. The Neo slots in beneath the Arc in the Xperia lineup, with a smaller display than the 4.2” Arc, though sharing the same Mobile Bravia Engine as it’s larger and (presumably) more expensive brethren (no pricing has been announced yet for either device). Both devices have an 8.1 megapixel camera with Exmor R, which is what Sony calls backside illuminated sensor technology. The Pro adds a landscape sliding keyboard to give the Xperia line a messaging-centric device, but is otherwise basically the same as the Neo.

But let’s talk about this PSP phone deal. They may be calling it the Xperia Play, but take one look at the slide-out gaming keypad, and you know what it really is. Overall, the design looks like a sleeker and more streamlined version of the PSP Go, with optical thumbpad analogs in the middle and the classic PlayStation action buttons. The underlying hardware is identical to the rest of the Xperia line, so the Play makes do with the 1GHz Scorpion core and Adreno 205. This is a pretty big statement about how far Qualcomm graphics have come since the Adreno 200 a generation ago. The Play has a 4” screen with the same FWVGA resolution as the rest of the Xperias, along with a 5.1 MP autofocus camera and Android 2.3. So the hardware is pretty standard, but the Play is the first PlayStation Certified device, so it will have access to PlayStation gaming content through Sony’s new PlayStation Suite. It’s a pretty impressive set up actually, with a long list of game developers and game titles available at launch. We’re talking Need For Speed, FIFA 10, Sims 3, Guitar Hero, Asphalt, Assasin’s Creed, and Splinter Cell. Between EA, Gameloft, Namco, Unity and all the other game developers, to go along with SCEA themselves, there’s going to be a lot of high quality games out for PlayStation Suite. If you’re into mobile gaming, Sony has just launched your ultimate device, no questions asked.

For the first time in a while, Sony Ericsson’s smartphone lineup has some clarity. There’s a high end smartphone in the Arc, a smaller and slightly downmarket version in the Neo, a messaging/email-centric device in the Pro, and then the gaming-focused Play. All four share similar hardware and software, but manage to effectively cater to different audiences.

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  • diverguy - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Well, if you got your X10 through AT&T USA, you are still on Android 1.6 - and probably won't be upgraded - they stopped selling it a little while ago... You can do it yourself though and clean out all those pesky AT&T specific restrictions and bloatware...

    That's on par with previous experiences with getting Sony Ericsson phones from AT&T - they introduce them long after they have been globally released, full of restrictions and extra SW you cannot remove, and late or no future upgrades of SW...
  • jcompagner - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    When do we get a high end 4.x inch screen with qwerty...
    Again the large once's where perfectly a very nice qwerty keyboard fits under don't get it but the smaller once <4 do get.

    I really hope that somebody makes a 4.x inch none qwerty and then the pro version that is exactly the same except that it has a qwerty keyboard
  • VivekGowri - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Wait for the QWERTY version of the Galaxy S II (assuming there is one, I don't see why there wouldn't be after the Epic 4G did pretty well for them).

    The problem with a 4.x" phone with a slide out QWERTY keyboard is that it makes the phone really huge.
  • Belard - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Throw in an AMOLED screen... and I'd be sold on these phones over the Galaxy S phones in a heart beat.
  • R3MF - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    but a qHD 960x540 screen would have been better, as would a dual-core qualcom with the adreno 220.
  • meike - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    www onseeking com
  • dsafcx4544 - Friday, February 25, 2011 - link

    Man, did u consider power consumption?

    The Qualcomm MSM8255 is one of the most power saving performance grade single core CPU currently in the market.
  • (ppshopping) - Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - link


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