The long-rumored Playstation Phone just made its official debut by way of a high-profile Super Bowl advertisement and updated Facebook page. The phone, known as the Xperia Play, has been expected to appear at next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Now, according to Sony Ericsson’s Facebook page, the date is set: Feb. 13, 2011 at 18:00 GMT (or 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific).

The announcement should bring news of the phone’s price, carrier partnership(s) and launch date.

No Longer a Rumor, Official Announcement Forthcoming

In January, business news site Bloomberg confirmed the phone’s existence and launch plans after a continuous series of leaks, photos and videos made their way around gadget blogs all across the Web. Despite Sony’s silence on the matter, the phone was clearly in development for a 2011 launch. In fact, Engadget even went so far as to call the phone one of the “worst kept secrets” in the industry. Thanks to a number of hands-on reviews, tear downs, and extensive photos, there’s already a lot that’s known about this new, gaming-centric smartphone powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system.

The phone will run Android 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) and will include a slide-out game controller instead of a slide-out keyboard, as would normally ship on phones using this particular form factor. It also has a 5-megapixel camera,  microSD card slot, single-core processor that clocks from 122.88 MHz to 1 GHz, 512 MB RAM and an Adreno 205 GPU.

Android is Ready for Gaming, Says Sony

Most importantly, the Xperia Play will run Sony Playstation games. And it won’t be the only phone that can, either –  Sony recently announced that it will offer a program to port the original PlayStation One (PS One Classic) games to other Android devices, as well as newer games developed using the toolkit Sony will provide. These games will be sold through Sony’s app store on the phone – the PlayStation Store – where they can be directly downloaded to any supported Android device.

The new Facebook teaser for the phone is live now on Sony Ericsson’s page, asking you to like the page in order to read the official announcement.

As for the commercial, it’s a decidedly creepy shot of a back alley, black market  surgery where the lovable Android robot guy gets thumbs grafted onto his nubby arms. “Android is ready to play,” says the ad. That may be true, but still…ick.

sarah perez