We mosied down to Verizon’s shindig last night and were surprised to see that their version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play was on hand. Nothing was different hardware-wise except for the CDMA radios inside and Verizon’s branding, but there was a lot more to see in the software side.
I noticed all of the units running stock Android – I found this very odd considering even prototype models of the device had Sony Ericsson’s custom user interface sitting on top of it. I asked a representative from Big Red what was up with that and he was able to confirm to me that they’ll be offering a mostly-stock Gingerbread experience. It makes the device a lot smoother overall than the versions with Sony Ericsson’s UI.
Sony Ericsson will still have a few custom bits here and there such as their camera, Playstation suite and a few other applications, but the launcher and styling should all be just as stock as it can get. The device also had a few new games. I checked out Madden NFL 11 and Crash Bandicoot. No video, unfortunately, but I can tell you that a month makes a huge difference.
They’ve been optimizing the crap out of the device and the games play buttery smooth. I couldn’t tell with the newer titles as I hadn’t played them before, but I revisited my friend Bruce Lee and noticed a considerable upgrade in framerate since we last saw it in Barcelona. The device will come pre-installed with 6 games but they weren’t able to confirm which of these would be trials or full versions.
Verizon still hasn’t committed to a date or pricing but their general outlook is Spring so hang in there – we think this one will be worth the wait.