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Sony launching PSP Phone?

Sony launching PSP Phone?

Sony's up-coming Android handset will, according to rumour, combine an Xperia with a PSP Go.

Rumour has it that Sony Ericsson is looking to shake up both the smartphone and the mobile gaming markets with the launch of a combined Xperia/Playstation-branded device.

According to a "trusted source" talking to Engadget, the company's first handset to be running a recent version of Android will be part of an effort to develop an entirely new gaming platform - a combination smartphone and PSP Go which Sony will be hoping can revive its fortunes in the portable gaming sector.

According to unsubstantiated sources, the device takes the form of a touch-screen Android-based smartphone with a landscape slider mechanism - but instead of revealing a keyboard, the slider opens to show a gaming control pad not entirely dissimilar to that featured on the PSP Go. Although mobile gaming is one of the biggest growth industries around at the moment, a lot of people complain that a touchscreen just isn't up to the job of controlling complex games - something which Sony may have solved with its hybrid design.

Other than the overall design - which Engadget's sources describe as "pretty damn sexy" - very little is known about the secretive device. It's though to feature a widescreen display somewhere between 3.7" and 4.1in, and a 1GHz CPU at the bare minimum. Rather than the current Android 2.2, rumour has it that Sony will be delaying the launch until Android 3.0 - codename "Gingerbread" - is out, possibly hinting that the next-generation mobile platform will include enhanced gaming features.

Those who claim to have seen the device say that it performs at around the same level as an original Playstation or current Playstation Portable - which, if true, would offer some pretty impressive gaming potential.

While the claims are as yet unconfirmed, the launch of such a device makes sense: it's been quite a few versions since Sony Ericsson launched an Android smartphone, and Sony's gaming division won't have given up on its plans for a download-only gaming system - despite a poor reception for the PSP Go. The choice of Android is also looking likely, with the Gartner Group claiming that Android has grabbed 17.2 percent of global smartphone sales this quarter - up from just 1.8 percent this time last year.

As the device is still unofficial, there's no chance of pricing information - but given its feature set, you can expect the Playstation Phone to fetch a premium. As far as release dates go, Engadget claims that it could hit the market "as early as October of this year."

Is this the smartphone you've been waiting for, or do you have the same fundamental concerns with a Playstation Phone as you did with the PSP Go? Are you worried that this represents a push into download-only gaming - finally killing off the second-hand market? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

13 Comments

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mi1ez 13th August 2010, 10:37 Quote
I still want a decent Android phone with a qwerty keyboard...
Psy-UK 13th August 2010, 10:51 Quote
Let the PSP die already.
scawp 13th August 2010, 11:02 Quote
Or if you want to play ps1 games now you could just download the psx emulator from the andriod market place
antiHero 13th August 2010, 11:14 Quote
Love the idea. Hope the make it better then Nokia with that failure called N-Gage /facepalm
CampGareth 13th August 2010, 12:05 Quote
While I think gaming on Android does need a push in the right direction from a large company like Sony, I fear they will find a way to make it unhackable again and that is the only reason I had for giving up my PSP.
nuttsan 13th August 2010, 13:04 Quote
Damn it, now do I upgrade my G1 when my contract is up in September to a Samsung Galaxy S (or HTC Desire HD if it's out) or do I wait for this...
CharlO 13th August 2010, 15:32 Quote
So, they are doing what they should have done two years ago, making the PSP GO a touch screen phone that could play PS games? They are getting really behind.
BLC 13th August 2010, 16:01 Quote
You guys missed a really important part of the article for me.
Quote:
The D-pad is here, but instead of the small joystick, the device will have what was described as a "long touch pad" for analog controls, along with standard PSP buttons and shoulder buttons

I'm just going to repost exactly what I said on the Guardian Gamesblog this morning (bit-tech is blocked in work):

Lose the touchpad, get a real joystick and we'll talk. Touchpads do not work for game controls. Ever tried playing games on an iPhone/iPod touch? You need the physical sensation of actually moving something; without this, it's very hard to know how far and in which direction you're "moving the controller".

Other than that, it looks like an interesting platform. Although they will have to do some wizardry with the OS/hardware to keep game performance up; perhaps something like a hypervisor or virtual machines, if the hardware is even capable of that. I know they're talking about a 1GHz processor and the PSP only has 333MHz, but the OS will doubtless eat a big chunk of that - especially if they keep standard Android features, such as background sync, push mail, widgets, etc. If they don't keep that stuff, it won't be a very good Android phone.
SteveU 13th August 2010, 16:36 Quote
They may well put one of the new ARM dual-core CPUs in and the sheer fact that they're talking about launching proper 3D titles such as CoD4 it's gonna have to be pretty snappy!
BLC 13th August 2010, 17:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveU
They may well put one of the new ARM dual-core CPUs in and the sheer fact that they're talking about launching proper 3D titles such as CoD4 it's gonna have to be pretty snappy!

Difficult to say how much power it will need. The article reckons that it's as powerful as the original PSP, and that only has a 333MHz CPU. In fact, it doesn't even utilise that fully: most games only run at 222MHz, with very few pushing this to 266MHz. Although that's probably a pretty specialised chip, solely designed for playing games - not a general purpose CPU, like an ARM chip. The phone's CPU will need to be beefy to try and do the emulation or code-wrapping needed. Having said that, I can run Android 2.2. on my 3-year old HTC Kaiser, and that only has a 400MHz ARM chip. Android 3.0 may not need that full 1GHz - perhaps background stuff can be disabled when PSP games are being played.

This will be one to keep an eye on though.
cyrilthefish 13th August 2010, 19:48 Quote
Interesting, though i'm really not sold on the concept of merging a mobile phone and game console together.

If you happen to need a phone upgrade at the exact same time you want a new console thats great. If you don't need a new phone the integrated phone is suddenly a huge inconvenience, potentially bumping up the price of the unit as well.
also battery life: mobiles are great for short bursts of game playing, but they are already severely limited by the battery. Playing a long game while out and about has the potential to take out your phone as well if the battery runs out.

As for the PSP go, it's a frustrating thing: has potential, but let down by being vastly overpriced and having atrocious download options for a downloadable-content-only device*

*seriously Sony, if you're making a console with no removable media support, getting EVERY release available for download on release day needs to be your biggest priority
robots 15th August 2010, 06:57 Quote
I think it's a great idea. I can get any phone I want on my contract, and I don't own any portable games console. I would never take 2 separate devices with me, so I really like the idea of having both in the same box. At the moment I use an iPhone, but the games aren't that great. I looked at the android phones and the games on that are perhaps even worse. So if I could get a PSP with all the games on that, but it was a phone too, then that would be high on my list. It would have to play films and music as well as an iPhone does though, and it would have to have a browser and email and proper contacts list and stuff too. If it had all that though, I could say bye to Apple.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 16th August 2010, 02:09 Quote
A PSP Go combined with a Droid phone will finally level the playing field against the iphone if the price is right. hope the stuff it with a dual core Arm Cpu.

They have to keep all the Droid features and PSP Go features to make it worth it. No short cutting please. This could really be a huge product for Sony and breath new life into PSP sales. I like it so far.

PSP go Phone and the Asus 121 eee pad has me excited about portable electronics.
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