Think the mobile space is crowded now? Just wait until next month. According to Bloomberg sources, Sony is indeed launching a mobile phone, as previous rumors had indicated. The so-called “Playstation Phone” will be shown at next month’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, alongside a new portable game player, the report says.
The gaming device is expected to launch on January 27 – just prior to the annual mobile conference – while the smartphone is expected sometime in February.
Sony Plays Coy, Teases Phone at CES
Bloomberg says it spoke with a company that makes mobile phone software and was briefed on Sony’s plans to confirm this news. However, a Sony spokesperson would not comment on whether or not the phone would be seen at MWC.
Sony has been teasing the phone news for weeks now. Kaz Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, hinted at the device earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Shows (CES 2011), saying:
“Strategy encompasses driving the development of a variety of new strategic products and services including tablets currently in development as well as smartphones, all the while of course integrating the knowhow and the assets that we’ve accumulated from our PlaySation business.”
Unofficial Sources Reveals Photos, Specs and Video
Despite Sony’s decision to play coy with regards to the device, a series of leaks surrounding the phone have been hitting the Web for months, prompting Engadget to call the PSPhone one of the “worst kept secrets” in the industry.
Reportedly, the phone will be a Sony Ericsson touchscreen device branded Xperia Play and will closely resemble the form factor of the PSP Go. Instead of a slide-out keyboard, the Playstation phone will feature a slide-out d-pad and buttons, plus two touch-sensitive analog pads for playing games.
Not only has the phone already been torn down to reveal its internals on a Chinese website, it has also made multiple appearances on video, too.
The PSPhone will run a version of Android, suspected to be Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), will have a microSD slot, a SIM card slot, at least 512 MB of internal storage, a 1 GHz Snapdragon QSD8255 processor, a Qualcomm Adreno 205 GPU, a 5-megapixel camera and will come with a micro USB cable. The resolution will be 854×480 on the 4-inch screen.
Games are launched by way of an app called PlayStation Pocket, which changes the phone’s mode from “phone mode” to gaming mode.
While these specs are not official, they do come from a review of the device courtesy of another Chinese website, which actually got hands on with the new phone, and was able to actually use it.
Can Android Help Sony?
It will be interesting to see whether or not Sony can piggyback on Android’s current popularity to make its smartphone a success or if it, like the other Sony PSP products, will continue to play second fiddle to competitor Nintendo’s DS line of gaming devices. To date, the PSP has sold 185 million units in the U.S. while the DS family of devices have sold 47.4 million (NPD Group). Will a new PSP device and a smartphone be able to reverse this trend? Or will it be more of the same from Sony?