Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play gaming phone slated for May 26 on Verizon WirelessThe long-awaited PlayStation phone—well, close enough, anyway—just got a U.S. release date, with Verizon Wireless announcing Tuesday that the gamepad-toting, Android-powered slider phone will arrive in stores on May 26, for $199 with a two-year service agreement. (Pre-orders will begin May 19).

Boasting a four-inch display and a 1GHz Snapdragon II processor under the hood, the Xperia Play marks Sony’s belated stab at a mobile gaming phone, complete with slide-out PlayStation-style controls and a suite of PlayStation-certified titles (among them: Madden NFL 11, The Sims 3, Tetris, and Asphalt 6: Adrenaline).

Not bad, but early notices on the Xperia Play have been “meh,” with Engadget praising the phone’s “good ergonomics” and “extremely durable sliding mechanism” while bemoaning the “poor quality of the screen” and “a barren gaming landscape” of PlayStation Suite titles.