A dual-core SoC embedded in a smartphone doesn't necessarily mean the device will be faster than a single-core phone, claims .
On September 18, Sony Ericsson will launch the PlayStation-certified Xperia PLAY smartphone on AT&T, a slightly modified version sporting 4G support, a cool accessory kit, a fresh new coat of paint and an incredibly low price-point of $49.99 USD with a two-year contract. The game phone originally made its exclusive North American debut on Verizon Wireless back in May, with an international release just before that.
But within the last few months, Verizon has knocked the subsidized price of the phone down to just $99.99 USD (after a $50 rebate), and as previously mentioned, AT&T plans to offer the phone for half that price. Given that the Xperia PLAY launched with seemingly outdated hardware to begin with, it's easy to assume that the PlayStation-certified phone – complete with a PSPGo-like slide-out gamepad and a PSOne emulator – isn't doing so well in a market saturated with dual-core Android phones.
Yet according to Dominic Neil-Dwyer, head of market development at Sony Ericsson, the device is actually "meeting expectations," and the company doesn't see any need to pump out a sequel to match the hardware packed within contenders like the DROID X2 or the just released DROID BIONIC, both of which sport dual-core processors and HDMI-out connectivity.
"It's devices for what devices do," he told Eurogamer. "This device, with the GPU integration, has been optimized for gameplay. Bearing in mind when we talk to the high-end publishers, they're very precious about the devices their games are going to be displayed upon, particularly those that are coming in from outside of mobile. They're very much impressed. In terms of what it can do within gaming, it's proven every time. And these are deep, technical people. They're all very impressed by the power of the device."
Still, when you compare a 1 GHz dual-core Tegra 2 SoC to a 1 GHz single-core Snapdragon II SoC, consumers will likely think that phones outfitted with the Nvidia chip will undoubtedly outperform the latter. But that's not necessarily the case.
"When you go into things like dual core versus single core, what a lot of people don't understand or appreciate is the actual benchmarking and the ability of a device to do what they do, dual core doesn't mean it's faster," he said. "This is PlayStation Certified, and it's been proven by all of the discussions of a very technical nature we're having with publishers. It's not going to be outperformed that quickly."
Despite the Xperia PLAY meeting expectations on the market, Sony Ericsson believes the best revenue is yet to come in Q4 2011 as subscribers gear up to renew their two-year contacts or purchase new phones as Christmas gifts. That said, there are no plans on the table for an Xperia PLAY sequel. In fact, the company's big focus is on "improving the experience of Xperia PLAY, bringing face chat, video calling with Skype, and movies and more software updates, because we can, and bringing better games."
"We're trying to create a new market," he said. "That's our thrust right now, to build a great device. It will keep improving. We'll keep upgrading the experience, the software and the games you get with it."