Sony Ericsson on Sunday announced the launch of Xperia PLAY, the first PlayStation certified smartphone.

The new Xperia PLAY combines a PlayStation-quality gaming experience with the latest Android smartphone technology, Gingerbread (version 2.3), according to a company statement.

“Today is a very proud moment for Sony Ericsson as we bring something truly revolutionary to the market. Living up to our vision of Communication Entertainment, Xperia PLAY will forever change the way people think about smartphones and mobile gaming,” said Rikko Sakaguchi, Executive Vice President and Chief Creation Officer at Sony Ericsson.

Xperia PLAY is a 4 touchscreen slider, with the slider revealing PlayStation-style controls and buttons similar to Sony Computer Entertainment's PSP Go. It's powered by Qualcomm's 1 GHz Snapdragon processor with the embedded Adreno GPU capable of 60fps playback 3D gaming. It also features 400MB RAM, support for up to 32GB MicroSD storage, a 5.1 megapixel flash camera, aGPS, Bluetooth 2.0, and 802.11 Wi-Fi with hotspot functionality.

With Sony Ericsson filing for a patent for a video game phone in 2006, rumors of the launch of PlayStation phone have been widespread. In January, the company also disclosed that it would launch a whole gaming platform that allows other Android smartphones become PlayStation Certified.

Sony Ericsson's XperiaPLAY comes with titles such as EA's Need For Speed, Sims 3 and a multiplayer version of FIFA '10, besides GLU Mobile/Activision's Guitar Hero, and Gameloft's versions of Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell. However, Guitar Hero 6, Assassin's Creed, Need for Speed and Sims 3 are already available on Android.

The Xperia PLAY will be available globally in selected markets beginning March 2011, and pricing is yet to be announced. It is expected on Verizon Wireless in the spring.