Popular tech blog Engadget is reporting that Sony Ericsson will produce a gaming-focused Android phone that will carry the PlayStation branding, according to an unnamed trusted source. This is the first time any such plans have been revealed and I’m sure some are skeptical, but the report contains plenty of detail and some of the claims line up with other rumors floating around (while others flop).
The device is said to be based on Android 3.0 and feature a landscape slider design with game controls in place of a physical QWERTY keyboard. The source compares it to a “cross between the Samsung Captivate and the PSP Go”. The game controls will feature a direction pad, long touch pad, PSP buttons, and shoulder buttons. Other features include a display between 3.7 and 4.1 inches with WVGA or better resolution, 5 megapixel camera, and a 1 GHz CPU.
When it comes to games, a special section would be created in the Android Market for the PlayStation titles. Sony Ericsson is said to be already showing off several PlayStation brands including God of War, Modern Warfare, and Little Big Planet with future plans for “titles which incorporate augmented reality features”.
The report goes on to claim that the phone and ecosystem could be ready by October, but that would be a real stretch for Google to deliver Android 3.0. We know that Google is hard at work on the next version of their mobile OS (codenamed Gingerbread), but most reports have placed the Android 3.0 release around December or early next year.
Another odd issue with the article is the speculation that a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon will be inside the device. The Snapdragon has one of the weakest graphics processors compared to other 1 GHz platforms, so I don’t think that would be their first choice. A more believable option would be the NVIDIA Tegra 2, which is rumored to power the Sony PSP2. NVIDIA has claimed the chipset would be ready this year and we would see it inside Android smartphones, but that has yet to happen and internet chatter is suggesting a possible delay.
Google and their partners are starting to push Android as a legitimate game platform, so it makes sense to me they would reach out to Sony for help. We already saw the two buddy up for the launch of the first Google TV set, so the relationship between the two companies appears to be growing. Other sources have claimed a Google Games service was coming and we have seen Google beef up their gaming staff, so anything is possible right now.
It would be a huge win for Google and their mobile OS if these PlayStation rumors come to life, but it sounds a little too good to be true for the moment. I definitely think it could happen down the line, but I’m struggling to believe Sony Ericsson could pull this off by October (or even 2010). Just remember, we are talking about the same company who is about to release the Xperia X10 on AT&T with last year’s Android 1.6.
Let me know what you think is going on. Could Sony Ericsson actually deliver a PlayStation phone?
Post image above is a render of what the PSP2 might look like.