In 2011, the rapidly changing smartphone market introduced dual-core phones for the first time with devices like the Motorola Atrix and the LG Optimus 2X. While these phones ran at the same speed as many other smartphones on the market -- 1GHz -- they could handle more intensive processing tasks, thanks to an additional CPU core [source: Tested]. This change mimicked the advancements Intel made with dual-core and quad-core PC processors, but on a smaller scale. The Sony Xperia Play is not one of those dual-core devices. It's not as cutting edge as it could be. Is that a problem? In the long term, maybe. But as of 2011, most Android phones aren't dual-core, and games released in the Android Market are designed for phones equal to or slower than the Xperia Play.
The Xperia Play runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 system-on-a-chip, which pairs a single-core 1GHz ARM processor with an Adreno 205 GPU. Memory consists of 512MB of RAM and 400MB of internal phone memory and an 8GB microSD card for expandable storage. The processor and GPU power Android software on a 4-inch (4.2-centimeter) 854x480 capacitive LCD touch-screen display. We'll cut through the techno babble: The Xperia Play offers pretty standard hardware for a 2011 smartphone, with expected features like accelerometers/gyroscopes, 802.11b/g/n WiFi support, GPS, Bluetooth and 3G on Verizon in the United States [source: Sony Ericsson].
Neither of the Xperia Play's cameras break from the mold: The rear camera uses a 5 megapixel sensor and the front-facing webcam has a resolution of 1.3 megapixels. While the Qualcomm chipset used in the Xperia Play can support both GSM and CDMA wireless data networks -- the systems used by AT&T and Verizon, respectively -- the phone was released in the U.S. on Verizon's CDMA network [source: Verizon]. Other carriers, like Rogers in Canada, make use of the GSM wireless data standard [source: Rogers].
Because the Xperia Play's control pad slides out much like a keyboard, the phone is thicker than most non-sliding smartphones on the market at 0.6 inches (16 millimeters). It measures 4.7 inches by 2.4 inches (119 millimeters by 62 millimeters) and weighs a total of 6.2 ounces (175 grams) [source: Sony Ericsson]. Of course, that game pad is what separates the Play from the competition. While similar phone hardware is available in dozens of handsets, only PlayStation controllers offer the same buttons as the Xperia Play.