People have been clamoring for a combined Sony PlayStation Portable and mobile phone for years, and now it seems that such a device may come to the marketplace. According to Engadget, Sony Ericsson and Google are teaming up to create a PSP Go-like phone that runs the Android 3.0 operating system. In addition to being a phone, it also runs downloadable PSP and PS1 software such as God of War, LittleBigPlanet, and Call of Duty. Here's some of the Engadget article:
Here's what we can tell you about the hardware: if you're a gaming fan, this is exactly the kind of phone you've been waiting for. The device is described as cross between the Samsung Captivate and the PSP Go -- in other words, it's a landscape slider with game controls in place of the typical QWERTY keyboard. 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. The phone has a large display, described as being between 3.7 and 4.1 inches with WVGA or better resolution, a 5 megapixel camera that we're told might not be final, and it'll likely have a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU on board. The phone is mostly black with some silver highlights, and the gamepad area is white / silver in color. Apparently it's currently branded as a Xperia device, but it looks like it will carry PlayStation branding as well. Those who've seen the phone say it looks "pretty damn sexy." The mockup above probably doesn't do the actual hardware justice, but it should give you an idea of what you'll be dealing with.
It seems that rather than chase Nintendo in the handheld market, Sony has decided to pursue Apple and its iPhone experience. Sony's gaming chops are well beyond what Apple has to offer, so I can certainly see it exceeding the kinds of games offered by the Apple-backed App Store, and a partnership with Google brings in the heavy-hitting operating system for the phone side of things. On paper this sounds like a winner. On the other hand, my first reaction to learning about this was to wonder which mobile carrier I'll have to endure (and be overcharged by) if I were to buy into this product. Moreover, if this is truly a PlayStation phone, I would expect it to tie into the PlayStation Network and provide free access to all of the paid PSP and PS1 content I currently have through that service. The Engadget article goes on about this new phone being part of a "new ecosystem" which, to me, sounds an awful lot like "not backwards compatible with anything at all". Entering the phone market exposes the PlayStation brand to a whole new world of restrictions, fees, and competition, and I'd hate to see those things impact what a true PlayStation phone could potentially do.