Sony Ericsson's gaming 'PlayStation phone', the Xperia Play, has been hit by a 'freight issue' that is likely to affect supplies of the phone on its UK launch. Updated April 2 2011.

Sony Ericsson has stated that the Xperia Play is still due to launch, but warned customers to expect shortages in some stores, and from some retailers. It told PC Advisor: We can confirm that the Xperia PLAY handsets are still planned to launch in the UK for 1st April, as originally communicated. However, as of yesterday [Thursday 31 March], we have experienced a freight issue that may impact the number of Xperia PLAYs arriving at some retail outlets.

 "This said, consumers can purchase Xperia PLAY as of April 1st  at a number of stores across the UK."

And in some cases the problems seem to be more severe, with mobile service providers Vodafone and 3 reportedly delaying their launch of the gaming phone entirely. VG24/7 reports that Vodafone emailed customers who pre-ordered the phone to say:

"Sony Ericsson have advised us that they will not be able to supply the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play to meet the original launch date of 1 April. Unfortunately, this means there will be a small delay to your order. We are working closely with Sony Ericsson to ensure your phone is delivered as soon as possible and we will be in touch again with specific timescales when we know more."

3, meanwhile, told the website that it is delaying the Xperia Play launch until next week at the earliest as a result of stock issues.

O2 is not yet stocking the Xperia PLAY because it is testing the software to make sure it reaches its requirements.

For the full story, read: O2 delays release of Sony Xperia PLAY

'The PlayStation Phone'

The Xperia Play, which was unveiled at Mobile World Congress this year, features a 4in (854x480) display and a 1GHz processor, and runs Google's Android version 2.3, which is also known as Gingerbread. Rather than a keyboard, the gaming phone features a slide-out gamepad.

The handset will come with six games pre-installed including Crash Bandicoot. Further games will be available through the PlayStation Suite.

In a launch announcement, Sony Ericsson said more than 60 games would be available within the first week, "including top franchises Assassin's Creed, Need for Speed and The Sims". Our attention was also grabbed by versions of classic titles Splinter Cell, Guitar Hero and Worms on the game line-up press release.