Native PlayStation DualShock game controller support is a feature Sony fans have been clamoring for on Android for some time now. So long, in fact, that there's a very popular app devoted strictly to making this possible for rooted users. But requiring root access is definitely a major roadblock for some people, and an official solution from Sony has remained elusive - until now.
A video of the soon-to-be-released Xperia SP phone shows off built-in DualShock 3 pairing functionality, and it seems to work great.
The catch is that in order to pair the controller, a USB OTG cable (and USB host support on the phone itself) is required initially. Because the DualShock 3 controller doesn't pair using the standard Bluetooth method, a wired connection must be established on first-use. Thereafter, the controller will automatically connect via Bluetooth to the paired smartphone (with controller mode enabled) when it's powered on. The DualShock 3 is set up to use Android's standard controller API (present since Android 3.2), and should work with any Android game that is listed as having controller support.
What remains unknown is when - or if - Sony will be bringing this functionality to other Xperia devices, namely the Z and ZL. The SP is a mid-range phone headed for a number of international markets, including the UK, but it seems unlikely Sony would keep such a desirable feature locked up exclusively in a comparatively mundane handset. Or maybe they would - we are talking about Sony after all.