THE LONG RUMORED PlayStation phone appears to finally have become reality. If the pictures of an early prototype are anything to go by, this might be Sony Ericsson’s biggest hit ever. The fact that it’s running Android is quite a surprise, at least if you consider how proprietary Sony is as a company. Since this is a Sony Ericsson handset, it seems like anything is possible.
Engadget has scooped some exclusive pictures of what looks like the real deal, although, as this is a prototype, much of the branding is missing or covered up by the tipster. As you’d expect, the handset features a slider which reveals the game controllers consisting of a four way cursor key, and four action buttons – all very much like a PlayStation controller. There are no thumb sticks present, instead there is an oblong touchpad which is meant to have multitouch support. The unit also has a start and select button, as well as what appears to be a drop-down menu button, in addition to a pair of shoulder buttons, of which the right one seems to double as the camera shutter release. Below the screen are the typical Android buttons, back, menu, home, and search.
Not much is known about the hardware specifications at this time, but the yet to be named handset is said to sport a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, and 1GB of ROM. It also has a micro SD card slot, just like Sony Ericsson’s other Android devices, and again, is a step away from Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick format. The screen size is reportedly somewhere between 3.7 to 4.1-inches making it a fairly average Android device in terms of screen size. There’s also a rear mounted camera of unknown resolution alongside an LED flash, as well as what appears to be a front mounted camera for video calls.
The handset is rumored to be running Android 3.0 with some serious customization done by Sony Ericsson, including a Sony Marketplace from which you’ll be able to purchase and download games. We’d imagine that Sony Ericsson has come up with a way to prevent these games from working on other Android handsets with similar hardware, although currently not much is known about that part of the device.
We’re definitely intrigued by this new handset/portable games console and although we’d expect that Sony Ericsson would want it out in retail in time for the holiday season, it’s unlikely we’ll see it unveiled until sometime next year. Our bet would be on a debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. We’ll just have to wait this one out, but what an exciting development. It looks like the way forward for Sony’s PSP platform, especially considering how well the iPhone is doing as a gaming device, and how much of the PSP market it has gobbled up. A high-end Android phone combined with a popular handheld console might just tip the scales in Sony Ericsson’s favor.S|A
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