After multiple leaks, benchmarks, rumors, and previews, Sony Ericsson has finally announced the Xperia Play, a phone for gamers, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In portrait mode, the Android 2.3 (codenamed Gingerbread) device is your typical smartphone with a 5MP camera, a 4" capacitive multitouch screen (480 x 854 resolution), and social networking features. In landscape mode, the slide out keyboard reveals a digital D pad, two analogue touch pads, two shoulder buttons, and the four PlayStation icons (circle, cross, square, and triangle). The first PlayStation Certified device, as Sony Ericsson is calling it, is powered by a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, an Adreno 205 GPU, and 512MB of RAM.

Sony Ericsson has partnered with key publishers to bring titles like EA's Need For Speed, Sims 3, Guitar Hero, Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell, and a world-first multiplayer version of FIFA 10 for mobile to the Xperia Play. The company also struck a deal with Unity Technologies to ensure a continuous flow of high quality 3D game titles. A pre-loaded application will let users download titles that have been optimized for the Xperia PLAY, access recently played games, and see information about the games they have downloaded.

The Xperia Play measures 119mm x 62mm x 16 mm, weighs 175 grams, and comes in either black or white. It has 400MB of internal storage space, which is expandable up to 32GB via the microSD slot (an 8GB memory card is included). Sony Ericsson has yet to announce pricing and release date details (though we do know it will launch on Verizon in the US next month).

"Today is a very proud moment for Sony Ericsson as we bring something truly revolutionary to the market," Rikko Sakaguchi, Executive Vice President and Chief Creation Officer at Sony Ericsson, said in a statement. "Living up to our vision of Communication Entertainment, Xperia PLAY will forever change the way people think about smartphones and mobile gaming. The launch of Xperia PLAY could not have been possible without the close collaboration of both Google and Sony Computer Entertainment. The commitment of so many industry leading game publishers further demonstrates that Xperia PLAY will deliver on the long-held expectations from consumers the world over."