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O2 delays release of Sony Xperia PLAY

Orange, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U stock PlayStation phone

A Sony Ericsson spokesman last night confirmed to PC Advisor that there are problems with getting stock of the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY 'PlayStation phone' into UK stores. And O2 is currently refusing to stock the Xperia PLAY, instead testing the device to ensure its software is up to scratch.

Sony Ericsson chose not to comment throughout the working day yesterday, despite stories quoting rumours of shortages of the Xperia PLAY into all stores. Vodafone confirmed that it did not have stock, saying: "Sony Ericsson has advised us that it will not be able to supply the Xperia Play and Arc devices to meet original launch date of 1 April."

PC Advisor received a statement from Sony Ericsson at 7:34pm confirming the problems, which are described as a 'freight issue'.

The SE spokesman told us: "We can confirm that the Xperia PLAY handsets are still planned to launch in the UK for 1st April, as originally communicated. However, as of yesterday [Thursday 31 March], we have experienced a freight issue that may impact the number of Xperia PLAYs arriving at some retail outlets.

 "This said, consumers can purchase Xperia PLAY as of April 1st  at a number of stores across the UK."

According to the Sony Ericsson spokesman, the Xperia PLAY is currently available from Carphone Warehouse, Orange and Phones 4U, 'amongst others'. The Carphone Warehouse yesterday said it had plenty of stock, and the device is also currently displaying as 'in stock' at Tesco and Amazon.

O2, however, has thus far declined to stock the Xperia PLAY. It appears that the mobile giant isn't happy with the device in its current form.

According to the Sony Ericsson spokesman: "02 have [sic] decided to prolong the testing period in order to ensure that the software meets the requirements of its procedures.

"Sony Ericsson will be working with O2 to expedite the process and ensure that O2 customers can soon join consumers across the UK in being able to enjoy the world’s first PlayStation certified smartphone."

The Xperia Play, which was unveiled at Mobile World Congress this year, features a 4in (854x480) display and a 1GHz processor, and runs Google's Android version 2.3, which is also known as Gingerbread. Rather than a keyboard, the gaming phone features a slide-out gamepad.

The handset will come with six games pre-installed including Crash Bandicoot. Further games will be available through the PlayStation Suite.

In a launch announcement, Sony Ericsson said more than 60 games would be available within the first week, "including top franchises Assassin's Creed, Need for Speed and The Sims". Our attention was also grabbed by versions of classic titles Splinter Cell, Guitar Hero and Worms on the game line-up press release.

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