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Notch teases Minecraft Pocket Edition for Android

Markus 'Notch' Persson, the creator of hit indie game Minecraft, has revealed that a portable version for Android handsets is in the pipeline, dubbed Minecraft Pocket Edition.

Although details of the project have not been revealed, Notch has posted a message to his Twitter followers with a picture of a project fellow Mojang employees Aron and Jens are working on - and it's nothing less than a fully-functional version of Minecraft running on an Android handset.

Minecraft was a surprise hit following its release in alpha status in May 2009, and when it hit beta attracted a cult following - selling more than two million units, despite being technically unreleased.

The game takes the form of a 'sandbox' environment made from blocks of various materials - sand, stone, lava, wood - and populated with creatures - some of which, like pigs, are benign, and others, like the evil creepers, are actively hostile.

The mixture of a building-block style sandbox environment with survival gaming - and a clever multiplayer mode, complete with private servers - has led to the game's massive success. With an official portable version, gamers' addictions to Minecraft could enter a whole new level.

The photo shows a user playing Minecraft on a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Android-powered smartphone - and while it's hard to see what the performance is like in a still image, it's been enough to get fans excited about the possibility of extending their Minecraft addiction outside the home.

There is a note of caution, however: the display of the game clearly states that the pictured software is a demo, and doesn't represent finished code, with no clue as to how much of the game's experience is properly replicated on the small screen.

According to gaming news site Gamasutra, the title will be exclusive to the Xperia Play - at least at first - and is expected to launch at the E3 event next month.