PlayStation phone becomes official during Super Bowl

Now we know why Sony has been so cagey about confirming the so-called “PlayStation phone” and didn’t even say anything about it at CES last month. It was planning a big reveal via a Super Bowl commercial.

The ad featured the tagline “Android is ready to play,” highlighting the fact that Sony’s upcoming PlayStation-centric phone would be running Google’s operating system.

Officially named the Xperia Play, the phone is just like what we saw in earlier leaked photos. It looks similar to the failed PSPgo system Sony launched a couple years ago. But it wasn’t because of the design that that system failed. That was due to the fact that people weren’t ready for a $250 device that only played downloadable games.

However, packing the same functionality into a phone is a completely different story. The Xperia Play has the four PlayStation buttons as well as directional buttons. This will make it less useful than most phones when making calls or texting, but will also make it one of the best-equipped phones on the market for gaming.

The Play will come equipped with Android 2.3, the most recent version of the platform. It also has a 4.2-inch screen, an assumed 1 GHz processor, and a digital camera.

In addition to the Xperia Play, Sony will be rolling out an app for all Android 2.3 phones later this year, allowing people even without a Sony device to play classic PlayStation games and other mobile games designed specifically for Android.

The Super Bowl commercial did not, however, announce a price or launch day for the Xperia Play.