Sony Ericsson’s pedigree of early Android smartphone launches really set the scene of why so many fans were loyal to the brand. Back in 2010, manufacturers were delivering Android phones in all shapes and sizes, partly why the smartphone space was so interesting. This compares to now where many phones look the same, save for the inclusion of a notch, hole punch or varying bezel sizes.
Sony Ericsson had released the Xperia 10 to great fanfare in 2010, a flagship Android device that was as good as anything else on the market. Then in 2011, it had a stellar year delivering some classic smartphones including the iconic Xperia arc, the Xperia PRO with physical keyboard, the slim candybar Xperia ray and durable Xperia active. However, one of the biggest launches was the Xperia PLAY – Sony’s answer of bringing mobile gaming to smartphones i.e. the PlayStation Phone as it was known by some.
The Xperia PLAY’s hardware included a dedicated slide-out controller, and Sony tried to strike deals with mobile developers to optimise games for the phone. Users were also able to play some PS1 and PSP games on it too. The Xperia PLAY was a bit clunky by today’s standards, but the phone had many fans who longed for Sony to develop a successor. 2012 came and went, and while rumours swirled, we never saw Sony release an Xperia PLAY 2.
Well now there appears to be the first proof, that Sony was at least considering the Xperia PLAY 2, with new images showing a prototype device. The images surfaced from Idlefish, a Chinese-based online classifieds website. It seems that the seller has posted for exhibition only, and collects a variety of old technology. It’s difficult to confirm its authenticity, however, judging by the pictures it certainly looks like what Sony may have planned for the Xperia PLAY 2.
The device includes the slide-out controller pad, touchpads, a d-pad, shoulder buttons and the four navigation capacitive buttons on the front of the phone (exactly same layout as the Xperia ion which was released in 2012 which adds extra credence to the pictures). It also includes a mysterious 3D button, which may have been used to provide an effect similar to that used in the stereoscopic display of the Nintendo 3DS.
Sony is unlikely to bring this kind of concept back to the market, we just don’t think that’s where the company’s focus lies anymore. After all, there’s no sign of a successor to the PS Vita, it’s dedicated gaming portable.
However, with accessories like the Razer Kishi extolling the virtues of proper hardware buttons for mobile gaming, maybe Sony will find a way of bringing the Xperia PLAY experience to phones in other ways. We always longed for a Xperia PLAY successor, and despite never coming to market, it’s somewhat heartening that Sony perhaps came close to turning that dream into a reality.
Thanks Josh and Rammstone!