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Sony Ericsson says PlayStation Phone will come before Christmas of unknown year

Given the feature-filled mobile phones Sony produces as part of its partnership with Ericsson, it wouldn’t surprise many if the Japanese electronics giant eventually released a hybrid product that incorporates both communications and gaming functions into one unit.

The release of the Apple iPhone has further fueled speculation that Sony may be preparing a competing product that will be a mix of a Sony Ericsson phone and a PSP handheld console.

In a Pocket Gamer interview with Sony Ericsson’s gaming guru Peter Ahnegard at the Leipzig Games Convention, hints were dropped regarding the possibility of a PlayStation-branded mobile phone.

“Gaming is probably the most mature content area we have today in mobile phone and Sony Ericsson has always reflected that, having games embedded on our handsets for many years,” said Ahnegard, who also conceded that Sony Ericsson hasn’t yet put the same focus on gaming as the company had on music and imaging features as it has on its Walkman and Cyber-shot phones.

Despite not having specifically targeted a gaming brand as of yet, the power of the latest phones are beginning to catch up to previous generation consoles. “The power of the phones we're creating now is phenomenal,” added Ahnegard. “Smartphones like the W960, P1 and associated families have hardware acceleration and OpenGL ES and are capable of providing gaming experiences on a level similar to PSP, certainly somewhere between PS1 and PS2.”

One potential challenge is that Sony Ericsson is facing is the ergonomics of melding together phone and game. Ahnegard explained, “It's a tricky balance. The latest craze for slim handsets doesn't really go hand-in-hand with gaming comfort. Console controllers are bulky for a good reason and have been designed with specific elements in mind, e.g. the need to be hardwearing, ergonomically comfortable, etc. The same considerations go into our phones and there are lots of elements that affect gaming performance, from the spacing between buttons to joypad position. We have to accept that some devices simply won't be appropriate to drive some games and, in many cases, gaming or other entertainment content isn't the prime concern behind the design.”

With Sony’s other cross-branding of its other product lines into its mobile phones, it’s almost expected that a PlayStation phone will appear sometime in the future. “Up until today we haven't felt we could launch a PlayStation phone because it wouldn't be recognized as a true continuation of that brand of products,” said Ahnegard, who then coyly added, “It's obviously something that we're looking at but right now I can't really comment. Before Christmas, certainly... but exactly which Christmas I can't confirm!”



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Probably Bad
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/29/2007 10:12:07 AM , Rating: 5
While I give Sony credit for their moderately successful PSP and the wonderful PS2, I pessimistically would expect the problems of this device to be something like:

(PS3 Price + iPhone Price + iPhone Contract + Horrible Battery Life)- Enjoyment = Bad Phone

I am suprised the article did not mention the N Gage, Nokia's failed attempt to bring 3d gaming to the phone world. Even with Sony's still significant power, I could see their attempt going the way of the N Gage should they release one. One significant technological hurdle would always be balancing the high power draw of a gaming cpu, and the need of a phone to have long battery life.




RE: Probably Bad
By retrospooty on 8/29/2007 10:16:56 AM , Rating: 2
"(PS3 Price + iPhone Price + iPhone Contract + Horrible Battery Life)- Enjoyment = Bad Phone"

I concur... Your math is correct. ;)


RE: Probably Bad
By Alexstarfire on 8/29/2007 11:43:45 AM , Rating: 3
I would also agree on that one. Hasn't Sony figured out yet that when it comes to gaming that you don't cram all the extras in with it. That's why the PS3 and PSP aren't really selling. More stuff = higher price and crappier battery life.

If they actually make this phone I believe it'll be the last toe they shoot off, unless I'm completely wrong and it sells like hotcakes.


RE: Probably Bad
By deeznuts on 8/29/2007 1:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
The PSP is actually doing quite well. It can't hold the DS' jockstrap, but remember this is Sony's first foray into handhelds and by all accounts (not Krazy Ken's) is meeting or beating expectations, again not including Ken Kutaragi's idiotic public statements.

After the price drop demand has surged, causing Gamestop top executives in a conference call to say since April supply has not caught up with demand.

http://biz.gamedaily.com/industry/feature/?id=1723...

Back on topic I think this is a stupid idea, but then again I have no interest in handhelds period.


RE: Probably Bad
By on 8/30/2007 1:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
While the Sony PSP hardware has been selling decently, where are the software sales to back it up. Software sales on the PSP are terrible, dismal enough that Sony should be very worried about studios abandoning the platform.

Don't get me wrong, I own a PSP and like the machine itself. But the UMD-based software is shockingly expensive (especially compared to the DS) and tends to be very slow to load for a 'portable' gaming system. I tend to use my own PSP mostly for quick web browsing and music playing, and I've got one of those utilities to compress my movies into PSP-friendly format. Rarely do I actually play a game on my PSP, I tend to use my DS for on-the-go quick games.


RE: Probably Bad
By on 8/30/2007 1:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
I guess to back up my own point above:

If Sony already can't sell software on their own dedicated 'portable' gaming system (PSP), how in the world do they expect to get anyone on-board for this gaming-cell-phone initiative? I keep getting shudders when I imagine some sort of Sony N-Gage type device. (I wonder if it will allow Side-Talkin')


RE: Probably Bad
By GreenyMP on 8/30/2007 3:52:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If they actually make this phone I believe it'll be the last toe they shoot off, unless I'm completely wrong and it sells like hotcakes.


So I guess what you're saying is that it will be a failure unless it is successful. Brilliant! Would you be my next marketing director?


RE: Probably Bad
By GreenyMP on 8/30/2007 3:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If they actually make this phone I believe it'll be the last toe they shoot off, unless I'm completely wrong and it sells like hotcakes.


So I guess what you're saying is that it will be a failure unless it is successful. Brilliant! Would you be my next marketing director?


RE: Probably Bad
By FITCamaro on 8/29/2007 10:28:05 AM , Rating: 2
The N-Gage more failed due to a lack of bringing quality games to phones. With the library of titles Sony has at its disposal, they could easily launch a gaming phone.

Honestly I'm surprised Nintendo hasn't thought of doing this with the DS. Its small enough to be a phone and adding basic phone features to it wouldn't be terribly complicated. Just make it a phone and a DS. You could also do text messaging but thats it. No web though. Simple. And I say this not owning a DS or any other Nintendo product.


RE: Probably Bad
By rdeegvainl on 8/29/2007 10:59:34 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, having both the DS and PSP, i think that either one would make horrible phones. The one most important thing that a phone needs to do, is make a phone call, and to do that it needs battery power, and with gaming on the phone... that would just suck it down the drain. I play my DS alot and it only gets about 8 hours of game time on an advance game and maybe 5 on ds games, alot less with the wireless working... Kinda sounds like alot, but i wouldn't want to split that with my phone, and getting a call while playing a game? that would be annoying as hell. Especially form people i don't want to talk to. Though my situation might be different, cause i use my cell as my primary phone, alternate being my wifes cell, no land line.


RE: Probably Bad
By ET on 8/29/2007 11:18:46 AM , Rating: 2
As an N-Gage owner, IMO it failed due to two main factors: lack of good launch titles (it took good titles quite a while to arrive) and weak hardware.

With current phones boasting much stronger hardware and higher resolution screens, it's still a matter of software, but IMO a phone with an N-Gage style design (not necessarily exactly the same) with a fast CPU, 3D acceleration and a 320x240 or better display could be a decent gaming machine and usable phone (given a decent library of titles).


RE: Probably Bad
By acer905 on 8/29/2007 12:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the DS has a web browser you can buy for it, it also has the picture chat, it also has homebrew systems that allow it to be used as a voip phone (currently making calls only to other DS's)if Nintendo were to release an official version of that homebrew software, then it would catch on easily.


RE: Probably Bad
By UNCjigga on 8/29/2007 1:39:43 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing a Nintendo-branded OTA (over-the-air) gaming solution for mobile phones soon. Even if they don't have their own hardware (i.e. a "DS phone") they will partner with a carrier/OEMs and provide Virtual Console titles for specialized mobile handsets. Not sure if they can support multiplayer gaming over current 3G/3.5G networks, but they'll try.


RE: Probably Bad
By Awax on 8/29/2007 10:42:00 AM , Rating: 2
"(PS3 Price + iPhone Price + iPhone Contract + Horrible Battery Life)- Enjoyment = Bad Phone"

Could you please tell what's so different between the iPhone price and contract and other phones price and contract ? (except for the network lock-in).

When it was launch, the Motorola Razr was at $500.

AWx


RE: Probably Bad
By themadmilkman on 8/29/2007 11:21:34 AM , Rating: 2
Well, for one, the iPhone is mentioned in the article. It's also currently priced at $500, which gives readers a current comparison. Also, to take full advantage of the iPhone requires a more expensive contract than one would need for say, a budget-priced phone that is only capable of making calls and sending text messages.

It's also generally thought that Sony is desperate to have the same reputation for high style that Apple currently has. It's also generally thought that Sony will charge even more money for that same level of style.


RE: Probably Bad
By deeznuts on 8/29/2007 1:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Could you please tell what's so different between the iPhone price and contract and other phones price and contract ? (except for the network lock-in).


It's just what they hear in the media, or they're use to cheap phones subsidized by their phone company. My buddy owns probably the busiest (or at least one of the busiest) phone shops in my city. I'm around phones all the time. $500-600 phone prices are not uncommon for new novelty phones and people lap them up no problem. Nokia 8890, 8801, Razrs, etc.

Lucky for me I get all those phones for free from him. I thought about selling my 8801 for an iphone, but stepped away from the hype and now am thinking about the 8600 Luna. That is $700 his cost I believe. I don't use any extra functions on my phone except txt msg and *shudder* make phone calls.


RE: Probably Bad
By grenableu on 8/29/2007 6:44:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't use any extra functions on my phone except txt msg and *shudder* make phone calls.

Laff...


RE: Probably Bad
By BAFrayd on 8/30/2007 3:30:28 PM , Rating: 2
Then why buy a new phone at all? Doesn't your current phone do the job?


RE: Probably Bad
By encryptkeeper on 8/29/2007 11:02:40 AM , Rating: 2
Console controllers are bulky for a good reason and have been designed with specific elements in mind, e.g. the need to be hardwearing, ergonomically comfortable, etc.

The smartest idea would have been to make the slimmer PSP have phone capability, with all the PSP features. The thing uses bluetooth right? All you need for it to be a fully functional phone is a bluetooth headset (made specifically by Sony of course).


RE: Probably Bad
By Trisagion on 8/29/2007 11:08:02 AM , Rating: 2
Considering the success of their current lineup of phones, I don't think they can do that badly. I have a Sony Ericsson W800i and love my phone. Wouldn't change it for anything. I've had it for almost 2 years now, without a single problem.


RE: Probably Bad
By MDme on 8/29/2007 1:37:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think the proper equation should read:

Enjoyment - (PS3 Price + iPhone Price + iPhone Contract + Horrible Battery Life)= Bad Phone


RE: Probably Bad
By spluurfg on 8/29/2007 4:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
Must not be an absolute failure though - an ngage platform nokia phone was launched today.


But wait!
By Polynikes on 8/29/2007 9:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
What are they gonna call it? They've already used "PSP."




RE: But wait!
By mdogs444 on 8/29/2007 10:03:27 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe "i$$$"


RE: But wait!
By Zandros on 8/29/2007 11:26:56 AM , Rating: 3
SonyEricsson phones overpriced now?

Just because you don't appreciate Sony's products doesn't mean that their joint venture can't produce value for your money.


RE: But wait!
By DJSpyder on 8/29/2007 10:32:55 AM , Rating: 2
Knowing the amazing job they have done so far being creative with naming conventions, the new name will probably be the PSP2.
</end sarcasm>


RE: But wait!
By Griswold on 8/29/07, Rating: 0
I was just thinking...
By helios220 on 8/29/2007 1:26:26 PM , Rating: 5
Funny, I was just thinking that there must be some sort of way that we can help American kids play video games more. There is a critical problem in this country, and it is that our youth spends all of their time learning and exercising instead of zoning out to hour upon hour of video games.

On a slightly more serious note, not that this phone would change the fact that I already see kids mindlessly wandering about public places walking into blunt objects and not what while they are oblivious to the fact that life exists outside of a Nintendo DS (of course it does, but much of it exists only on the PS3 --little known fact). I still consider myself somewhat of a technophile but more of a reformed video game addict who has realized that sometimes cramming more technology and digital entertainment into every aspect of our lives isn't really what is best for anyone.

Hah oh well, I know I'm not going to win this argument anyway but I fortunately my feelings aren't really hurt by -1 ratings :)




RE: I was just thinking...
By mars777 on 8/30/2007 12:10:34 AM , Rating: 2
I sometimes walk into blunt objects without having anything in my hands...
But then again, this is perhaps because of my tallness of 1.94m and road signs being nasty :)


N-Gage Pt. 2?
By lufoxe on 8/29/2007 10:07:44 AM , Rating: 2
Wasn't this done before? I'm reaching into the an(n)als of gaming history, but some of you may recall the N-gage




Ngage much?
By exdeath on 8/29/2007 11:04:31 AM , Rating: 2
Ngage failed because people who buy a phone want a phone that has flashy gimmicks they can show off while people truly interested in playing games will just buy a Gameboy that is infinitely superior to any mobile phone as a gaming platform.

Nobody wants a jack of all traders master of none toy except for gadget toting teenagers with their parents credit cars looking for something that beeps and is shiny to hang on their belt and wave around at the mall.




By DLeRium on 8/29/2007 11:26:10 AM , Rating: 2
NGage...yes that stuff sucked, but does anyone even know Sony Ericsson's lineup?

The K810, K790 are all selling well. Even their Walkman phones kick ass. But since most people in the US don't use unlocked phones from Asian stores, I'm sure that's why there's a lot who aren't exposed to Sony Ericsson phones. I love my W810i and I would jump on a K850 once it comes out. Seeing how Sony Ericsson phones already blow Motorola out of the water, I don't see how a crowd that sees the RaZr as their top selling phone can compete with a crowd where Nokia N-series and Sony Ericsson W-series ranks as the most popular phones.




Makes sense..
By rupaniii on 8/30/2007 9:02:23 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, a 16gb or 32 gb Memory Stick Pro Duo could easily hold a few full fare games.
Yeah, this can happen.
I see knockoffs of the Apple screen already, that works fine for a PSP format game.
Yeah, sure, this works, might save PSP.
PSC, PlayStationCellular.
Make sure it has WiMaxx and is Sprint compatable, and I'm all on baby.




I'm sure
By Shadowmaster625 on 8/30/2007 1:23:46 PM , Rating: 2
There's no way this thing is gonna have a CD drive on it, so how will players transfer the games they own onto this thing? D'oh what am I thinking? I'm sure Sony would love to charge the owners of PS1 games $20~40 a pop for the same games in a different format!




Value
By mdogs444 on 8/29/07, Rating: -1
RE: Value
By rupaniii on 8/30/2007 12:03:47 PM , Rating: 1
nah, I'd only buy it if it were $399 or lower.
I also can't deal with ATT or TMobile Not So Broadband.
Also, I need GPS and Navigation built in.
If they were built in, I can pay $499 or even $599.
I need a descent screen, the apple knockoff touchscreens work for me.


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