Includes a PSPhone rumor round-up.
Earlier this week, Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg made a reference to the PlayStation Phone in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "There's a lot of spome, and I tell you there must be a fire somewhere,"
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That fire is burning brightly in France, where the blog Nowhereelse has posted an invitation to join Sony Ericsson for "the most anticipated presentation of the past 10 years". The bottom of the invite includes the traditional four PlayStation buttons next to a phone icon. It doesn't exactly take a cryptography expert to decipher that code.
The invite was sent out by Pierre Perron, CEO of Sony Ericsson France. The earliest rumors for this device outed a 1 GHz Qualcomm CPU and 512 MB of RAM. 1 GB of ROM and Android 3.0 were also leaked. We now know that 3.0 is extremely unlikely, with 2.2 the most likely launch OS if SE intends to launch in 2010. If they push it to early 2011, 2.3 might be feasible.
More recent rumors from a GigaOM tipster compare the PSPhone's display to the iPhone 4's Retina Display. This phone will not launch during the holiday season and may not see release until February. Off-contract, you're looking at $500 with 5 free games.
Sony is looking to keep game prices strictly within the 'mobile' s[here. Expect pretty much everything to be under $10. It is possible the PSPhone will be marketed as the Zeus or the Z-System, in which case it may have its own game distribution system. I doubt that though. Why wouldn't Sony tie this in with the PlayStation?
It's a shame, because Sony Ericsson has been doing so much better lately, but I can't help think they're a day late and a dollar short with this thing. The PSPhone we've seen so far is really cool, but a February launch puts it up against the first wave of dual-core superphones. Android 2.3 will bring a lot of gaming functionality to Android, and a Tegra 2 SOC has far more power than any 1 GHz single-core processor.
The PSPhone will have a gamepad, which is neat, but it will also be a strictly "last generation" device launching smack in the middle of of the "next generation". If Sony can pull out the stops and make a holiday launch, they have a chance. Or if they can pull back and make sure this thing is on par with the rest of the market when it launches, they have a chance. But if they roll out a 'premium' gaming smartphone with half the power of Acer and Moto's flagship devices?
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I predict trouble.