Thursday, 12 August 2010

PlayStation Phone Emerging?

Over the last few years there have been a few rumours doing the rounds singling out a potential link between the PlayStation brand and the mobile Phone. Many still believe that in order to truly succeed, as well as compete against the iPhone and DS casual market, that the PSP2 will effectively double up as a mobile phone and a lead gaming device, offering all the usual gaming and multimedia functionality on the go along with the ability to make calls.

Today, Engadget is reporting that Sony may well be planning to release a new mobile phone that not only has some serious gaming potential, but also that it features the prominent PlayStation branding firmly on its design. The new smartphone, currently in development at the Sony Ericsson wing of the company, is reportedly powered by the Android 3.0 operating system, and features a version of the Snapdragon SoC (system on a chip) running at 1GHz.

The device is speculated to have graphical capabilities somewhere in the region of the original PlayStation (PSX) to that of the PSP, and Sony are said to be interested in bringing existing franchises such as God Of War, Call Of Duty and Little big Planet to the system.

Apparently, the design of the phone is similar to both the Samsung Captivate and the PSPgo, featuring a panel that slides out to reveal the controls used for gaming. A d-pad and action buttons were mentioned, along with some shoulder buttons and a touch pad to replace the analogue nub found on all versions of the PSP. The device will also feature a 5 megapixel camera, and the overall screen size is estimated to be between 3.7 to 4.1 inches.

An October release date was said to be possible, which means that the device would arrive to market long before the PSP2 and provide Sony with a reasonable alternative to Apple’s domineering platform.

Interestingly, the phone is said to be labelled with the Xperia brand, although the PlayStation branding will also make an appearance. Could this be part of a unified branding strategy across all Sony platforms?

It definitely looks that way. However, having two devices with the strong PlayStation branding could very well split the market, with some wondering whether or not this phone is a proper successor to the existing PSP, or simply an extension of the brand in a different form. Certainly, it isn’t the PSP2, as rumours from other sources have already confirmed that it is being worked on independently from other mobile projects, meaning that this new smartphone is more of an extension of the whole PSN and PlayStation branding concept revealed by Sony a while back.

Saying that, the report also mentions Google, and the company's plan for a new 'ecosysyem' with Sony, so maybe this is only part of their original strategy.

Perhaps the biggest question that needs answering right now, is how this device will fit in the grand scheme of things with Sony’s own PSP2, and the PlayStation platform in general – something that isn’t apparently clear to us at the moment, and certainly makes little sense given the likelihood of the PSP2 emerging shortly.

Either way it is clear that the company sees incredible value in the space Apple currently occupy, and are looking towards this new cross branded phone as a way of entering that market.

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