After months and months (and months) of speculation and rumor, Sony smacked us all with a one-two punch in recent weeks between the announcement of its upcoming NGP handheld (or PSP2, as some refer to it) and its also-upcoming Xperia Play mobile phone, which was referred to before its announcement as the "PlayStation Phone." We only knew the specs on the phone until today; now, a UK-based online retailer's product page may have outed the price for this puppy... and it ain't cheap.
UK retailer Play.com, the exclusive provider of the white Xperia Play, lists a price of £519.99 for an unlocked version of the black model. This converts to just shy of $840 at the present exchange rates. The site also notes that the phone is due for release on March 28.
The phone packs in a ton of features, though whether that makes it worth an $800+ price tag -- even for an unlocked model -- is another question entirely. The phone runs on the Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. It's got a 1GHz Snapdragon processor with a built-in Adreno 205 GPU. It comes with an 8GB microSD card, though the slot supports sizes up to 32GB, and 400MB of onboard memory that is likely reserved for the operating system and other essential features. There's also a 5.1 megapixel camera (with a flash), built-in GPS, Bluetooth support and a Micro USB port.
In addition to all of that are the buttons and basic functionality that you've come to expect from a PlayStation controller or rough facsimiles of the same. Four face buttons, a D-pad, two touch-sensitive analog pads (instead of analog controllers) and left/right shoulder buttons. The device will ship with a number of games pre-loaded, including "Tetris" and "The Sims 3."
Now to be fair, Play.com might have posted this prematurely and that number could very well be wrong. Also note that unlocked phones tend to be considerably more expensive than those same phones tethered to one carrier or another. That said... $840 is an insane amount of money, no matter what the features are. If Sony announced an $800 price tag for the NPG, which by all accounts is a more powerful piece of technology, consumers would be in an uproar.