Way back in August we reported that a mobile phone version of Sony’s PSP was being worked on. The un-named device was said to be an amalgomation of both the PSPgo and the Samsung Captivate in terms of design, and was supposed to be powered by the brand new Android 3.0 operating system.
Today Engadget seems to have exclusively unveiled what looks like a prototype version of the device, finally confirming those early rumblings from a few months ago.
The currently un-named device forgoes any actual PlayStation branding, instead being positioned under the Sony Ericsson banner, perhaps to differenciate it from the separate PSP2 project in the works, but also due to it being handled by a completely different branch of the company.
In the above shot we can see that the device features the traditional d-pad and buttons found on the PSP, with the styling appearing to be similar to the PSPgo. Two shoulder buttons can also be seen in additional screenshots in the original Engadget article. However, one thing does seem to be missing – the system has no visible analogue nub on show. Instead, it has been replaced with a multi-touch, touch sensitive pad more in-keeping with the design trend of having less control options on most smartphones.
Moving on, and sources have also revealed that the system will be powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 mobile processor, which is backed up with 512MBs of RAM and 1GB of ROM. This will drive images onto what is speculated to be a 3.7 to 4.1 inch touchscreen display, thus adding even more functionality to the mix. Much like the iPhone it could be used to control games, making way for simple casual type experiences on top of the dedicated ‘core’ titles that will no doubt separate the system from other similar phones.
On top of that, a built-in camera with LED flash was mentioned, along with support for MicroSD cards in place of the standard Pro Duo sticks used by the normal PSP models, putting it firmly in-line with the PSPgo on that front.
In terms of software support and online, apparently, Sony are planning to launch a brand new marketplace specifically for the system, in which users will be able to download specific top-tier PlayStation titles such as God Of War, and as previously hinted, Call Of Duty. I imagine that this will be a key part in their plans to extend the PlayStation Network branding across multiple mobile devices, and as such will help them to gain a greater foothold in an increasingly competitive market.
Other than that, Engadget seem to believe that the PSP Phone could still launch sometime in between fall this year and 2011. Originally it was speculated to hit during the end of 2010, although that is now looking increasingly unlikley. Instead we expect more details to be forthcoming in the next few months, possibly weeks.
Either way the PSP Phone looks like becoming a rather intriguing prospect, and it will be interesting to see just how well it holds up against the iPhone 4 and other comparable smartphones.