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Sony Ericsson Prepping Android 3.0 PlayStation Phone


Sony Ericsson Prepping Android 3.0 PlayStation Phone

The rumours have been with us for well over three years now, but it looks like they're finally coming to fruition; Sony Ericsson is finally launching a PlayStation phone. According to Engadget's "trusted sources" (nothing to do with us) the device will be launching as early as October and will run version 3.0 (Gingerbread) of Google's Android operating system.

Described as a merger of the PSPgo and Samsung Galaxy S the device will reportedly feature a touch-sensitive display between 3.7in and 4.1in in size, with a resolution of, or possibly greater than, 800 x 480 pixels. Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon will most likely power the device, which will feature a button layout like that of the PSPgo, but instead of an analogue nub will have a touch-sensitive control area.

The implication is that rather than launching this 'PlayStation Phone' handset in isolation, it is intended to be a flagship device for a mobile gaming ecosystem. The handset will be marketed as an Xperia device, with the PlayStation twist coming in the form of a skin over vanilla Android, and a special area of the Android Marketplace will be dedicated to the games. Titles apparently being shown off include God of War, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and LittleBigPlanet, with graphical quality said to be in the PSP ballpark, so the quality level looks to be high.

It's no secret that the PlayStation Portable is suffering from the competition of devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch, which despite their inferior hardware are gaining great traction as portable gaming devices. It's not hard to imagine that if successful this PlayStation phone could mark the end of dedicated portable gaming devices for Sony, and a move into being a mobile gaming platform provider. And if the games are notably better in quality (in terms of both visuals and gameplay) than those available on Apple's App Store, that might not be a bad move.

While we've seen gaming phones fail before (you probably don't even remember the N-Gage), there's every chance for Sony to get this right. We're not writing the PSPhone off quite yet.




August 12, 2010, 3:23 pm

'It's no secret that the PlayStation Portable is suffering from the competition of devices such as the iphone and ipod touch, which despite their inferior hardware are gaining great traction as portable gaming devices.'

Ah yes the all conquering Apple.. Or could it be more related to the DS's successes..


August 12, 2010, 3:27 pm

I thought that the iPhone and iPod touch were more powerful than the psp.

I just can't see this working. To make a decent "proper" portable console requires quality controls which would compromise the form factor of a mobile. Convergence would be great but a dedicated device would be more preferable for "real" gaming.

No doubt that it could be good enough for casual games though as the iPhone has shown.


August 12, 2010, 3:36 pm

Please tell me this isn't true, the last thing I want to hear is that companies are trying to merge things, especially since the battery technology right now can't even sustain a HTC Desire for long without minimal use.


August 12, 2010, 3:38 pm

I find it strange that for all the advances in technology, the last few years have all been about dumbed down and simpler devices. Netbooks being cheap laptops with little power. iPad as an even more basic device with no keyboard or ports. iPod/iPhone with the most basic games on it. It shows it's not about power, it's not about being the best, it's just about making it simple or making it cheap.

For this to be a success for Sony it'll need to be priced sensibly or like n-Gage it'll never gain traction. I think a PSP phone (or a Mylo phone - what happened to that?) 3 years ago would've taken the market by storm; now they will find the market much harder (and Sony & SE have lost a lot of goodwill with their phones over the last couple of years making it even harder to win back customers).

As for this phone, it makes me wish it was more like concept behind the Modu we were all laughing over last month. A phone with a great screen like the Samsung Galaxy S, but with attachable plates. So there'd be the PSP plate for gaming, a keyboard plate for messaging. Or if the backplate could flip over - one side for each function. Cos personally I don't want a phone with the bulk of a gaming panel unless I could also use it for texting/email. I guess we'll have to wait for real photos to decide if it's worth it though.

The bigger news is Android 3 by October! Let's hope it raises Android above iOS in every way.


August 12, 2010, 3:55 pm

@Hugo - Yes, I remember the n-gage! (lol)

@ravmania / @HK - I don't think about this being a "proper" portable console (whatever that might be) or dumbing down, but more moving into another market, particularly if they allow you to link into the same game on your PSP and PS3 in the same way that some other manufacturers are reputed to be doing (Apple and MS as I recall).

It's also about convergence and convenience - people may have a PSP but not want to have to carry it around with them all the time. This would/could give them the ability to play games wherever as they are likely to have their phone with them.


August 12, 2010, 5:06 pm

this needs to support current psp downloadable games. i went and bought a psp go and have a small back catalogue of games i'd like to play on this kind of device.


August 12, 2010, 5:21 pm

"You probably don't even remember the N-Gage"

Critics ensure we never forget it. On the Apple Insider forums, someone just posted a rather mocking picture of a person holding the N-Gage side on to their ear to hold a phone call, and looking absolutely ridiculous in the process.

I'm not sure I fully agree that Apple has "inferior hardware". I think the interface is a limitation, and the casual gaming dominance appears to be more of a market forces thing. But I think the actual internals are beginning to get capable of pretty intense (if not sophisticated) gaming now, and with each iteration they're getting stronger all the time. That A4 processor is no slouch. It's just on a device that's usually carrying out lots more computing processes at the time, than a dedicated potable gaming device.

Look, I wish Sony well and it'll be nice to have a premium gaming alternative to the Touch and iPhone, but the thing that's gonna kill them isn't inferior hardware or even titles - it's the pricing. The PSP Go release was a disaster because it was too dear and you had to purchase games all over again. Their TVs, IMO, are also starting to price themselves out of competition too. It's perilous times for Sony because if this fails, it's yet another portable device that's further sullied the PlayStation brand, making it harder to renew for a full game console. They're not Apple. The branding won't cover a price premium.


August 12, 2010, 6:14 pm

@GoldenGuy: The money is to be made in selling the games, not in the hardware. Sony know this so i'm sure this'll undercut the iPhone in a big way.

The X10 is a good phone, held back by being on Donut. This will be an even better phone (specs wise), the first (or one of) Android 3.0 phone, and if it has a well designed games store integrated into the Google Market then they really could be back in the game (sorry).


August 12, 2010, 7:52 pm


We agree there HK. But then the point is can Sony really match a purchasing model is capacious, cheap or easily downloadable as the App Store. They're really gonna have to make that process hassle-free and affordable, and I'd submit that even if product quality is inconsistent, Apple has a somewhat unbeatable online buying experience.


August 12, 2010, 8:35 pm

And slowly but surely Android erodes every advantage IOs has.....


August 12, 2010, 8:46 pm

I quite frankly freaking love this idea. I've been crying out for such a device for ages. As GoldenGuy said sony need to watch their pricing on this. The PSPGo was a interesting device but priced way way way to high. Hopefully their arrogance took a hit and they will price this no higher than current high-end smartphones. In fact, they damn well better not price it higher than £450 sim-free. Even then, if it's only a standard snapdragon with 5MP camera thats really pushing it.

My only real negatives on whats been rumoured so far are the specs. If Android is going to have a games store that is exclusive to these buttoned, high-spec devices they should have went higher. I'm hoping that by snapdragon they mean the new dualcore one which has a much better GPU from what i've heard. Also this touchbar for analogue control sounds awful but we have nothing to compare it to so will have to see.

So (I've posted this everywhere) my preferred spec would be

3.7 inch screen

SDXC slot

2 analogue nubs

Good camera with 720p recording

4gig minimum built in memory

Sony you have to price this thing right, don't be arrogant or it will tank! Even if no new games come out for it, with all the emulators on the market it will still be the best handheld gaming device available. I personally will be keeping a very close eye on this one. Never thought google would be the first with such a device.


August 12, 2010, 8:47 pm

I wonder if Sony really has an option here.

Microsoft, has announced that they will tie the XBOX online thing into Windows Phone 7 and Apple is doing all they can to get into gaming.

If Sony can be the gaming partner of Android, I think it would be a win-win situation for both Google and Sony. And since Google and Sony are already married in the Google TV, I guess working together is not the most outlandish thing for them.

Anyway, I am certainly holding off any handset purchase until October, to see if this story has any truth to it.


August 12, 2010, 9:09 pm

Makes more sense than the PSP Go, but I'm not sure it's what people are really crying out for. Surely an iPhone is adequate for this sort of thing, and the games are miles cheaper / free. Touch screens are where it's at, and the PSP back-catalogue has no touch-screen games in it. If it's USP is having much better graphics than a typical high-end smartphone, isn't that going to make it expensive, bulky and / or have rubbish battery life? Physical buttons would certainly be an advantage for gaming, but it would be a shame to carry around a big phone to accomodate them. Android could definitely do with some games, but it's not that useful if they're only locked to a small amount of users, with particular Sony phones.


August 12, 2010, 9:34 pm

I think Sony have to approach this differently to Apple. Not so much the casual gamers, but people who are more into games. They will pay a premium for something that won't be boring after 10 minutes like most iPhone games (I didn't say all).

They know a device with buttons is going to be way more immersive than a touchscreen. They know these games from playing with their PSPs so they know these games will have depth and longevity that is lacking on the iPhone. So where iPhone games are $2-10, Android-PSP games can be $5-20 and if they work on PSP as well with one purchase then that will really rack up potential users. Like how MS plan to do with the XBOX, if you can keep playing a game (if in a slightly lower res, etc) on your phone as you did on your XBOX at home then people will love it.

This is a new category of device. Not a full PSP but something that comes close on most levels and with the touchscreen can offer a new way to play as well. It could be "best of both worlds" or it could be "something inbetween anything useful" - time will tell how well Sony pull it off.

Makes little odds to me, I've not played anything since Transport Tycoon 10 years ago, but I like to see how things develop nonetheless.


August 12, 2010, 9:45 pm

The reason the iphone/ipod games/apps are so successful is because the "buttons" are all on the screen. As soon as you add buttons that are used solely for games, it ruins the form factor of the phone.

Plus the iphone/ipod games are cheap, and mainly extremely addictive, and marketed to cure boredom whilst travelling.


August 12, 2010, 10:18 pm

Where are the Sony fanbois praising this the high water?!

Sony are notorious for getting many things wrong with their products despite their supposed superiorty to the competition (Dreamcast/Betamax/Minidisc etc..) so this is definately another deal breaker which needs to have the right price in handset as well as games otherwise it'll join the N-gage on the gaming phone scrapheap.

Androids future success could also hinge on the success or failure of this and other devices when Android 3.0 comes out.


August 13, 2010, 12:03 am


@TheDman you are totally missing the point. Ipod/Iphone games SUCK because the buttons are on the screen. Other than a few great games that work really well with touchscreen the controls suck and it drives me mad having all that power but those god awful controls. "Oh look I can steer by tilting the phone" yeah, and it sucks! You lose so much control and it just becomes a mild boredom alleviator not a gaming device. Which i'm sure is great for many people who don't care about gaming.

Anyway this is the same, you can still play those crap touchscreen only games or, for those that want to they can just flipout the proper gaming controls. No different than someone wanting a qwerty keyboard with their phone. I would have far more use for gaming controls than a qwerty.

Can't believe all the negative responses i've seen towards this. It's a bloody great idea and long overdue. If Apple don't release some gamepad add-on for the iphone eventually I will be very surprised. Granted having it as an extra means no bulk with you at all times but how big is the add-on going to be? Will you even be bothered to carry it around half the time? Phones keep getting thinner anyway, I don't need my phone any thinner thanks. Give me a gamepad and more battery any day.


August 13, 2010, 12:51 am

@theDman The reason the iphone/ipod games/apps are so successful is because the "buttons" are all on the screen. As soon as you add buttons that are used solely for games, it ruins the form factor of the phone.

Not everyone likes the form factor of the current phones, these phones are the true PC's why can't we have choice of form factors?

@theDman Plus the iphone/ipod games are cheap, and mainly extremely addictive, and marketed to cure boredom whilst travelling.

maybe to some apple users, who need a dumbdown interface to get anything done & have attention spans of a three year olds. But there are lots gamers who would relish playing a little more deeper games on their devices.

@speedyg2012 Where are the Sony fanbois praising this the high water?!

I'm a gamer and I think this would be a good move touch controls are good for some types of games Stratgey, Puzzle & RPG... however when it comes to action type games nothing beats Dpad & analogue sticks.

My hope is that Google and sony make it a standard so other manufacture's can produce hardware that can play these games.

@speedyg2012 Androids future success could also hinge on the success or failure of this and other devices when Android 3.0 comes out.

Have you seen the recent 2Q sale stats Android is already a success.


August 13, 2010, 4:15 am

Rather than trying to include gaming controls on the phone itself, I'd rather see a decent accessory for the purpose so I have the choice of a slim phone with gaming add-on if I want it. With games like N.O.V.A. from Gameloft, I can see phone gaming becoming a serious market.


August 13, 2010, 1:01 pm

@b166er: The icontrolpad (http://icontrolpad.com/) looked promising for this, but has run into trouble with Apple.

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