Does Playstation's New Smartphone Pose a Threat to the iPhone?

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Ever since the iPhone began eating into Playstation's mobile gaming market share, it's been expected that Sony would release a Playstation phone to fight back. Now we're seeing the first glimpses of it, as the website Engadget has uncovered photos of a Playstation phone prototype. According to Engadget the device boasts a 1GHz Qualcomm chip with 512MB of RAM and runs on the Android 3.0 operating system. Though Sony won't confirm the photos' authenticity, most tech bloggers believe it's the real deal.

By all accounts, this is a natural fit for Sony given the company's mastery of gaming. Will the Playstation phone shake up the mobile phone market?

  • Let the Mobile Gaming Wars Begin, writes Paul Lamkin at Pocket-lint: "iPhone killer? Maybe, although it will attract a slightly different crowd. More likely is that it will hit Microsoft the hardest - until now Windows Phone 7 was the only phone platform that had a bona fide console tie-in."
  • There Are Some Glaring Omissions, notes Scott Lowe at IGN: "The unit lacks an analog stick, and instead sports an odd looking center panel that Engadget claims is a touch-sensitive surface. It is also lacking any official PlayStation branding, though that could be due to it being a prototype variation."
  • It Could Own Mobile Gaming—Can't Tell Yet Though, writes Devin Coldewey at TechCrunch: "I don’t know what to say about this bizarro device. I mean… as a game platform it depends entirely on the games. As hardware it’s… difficult to say until you hold the thing. That trackpad in the middle is out of this world, though. With the dots? Sony is either out of its mind or doing something really interesting here."
  • Sony's Gaming Prowess Will Be Key, writes Jason Mick at DailyTech:
This new device is significant in a number of ways.  First, it spells serious trouble for Apple.  As the iPhone sees its momentum bleeding away and being sucked up by Android, one of its last great draws is its superior gaming.  Now Android may be getting its own gaming powerhouse -- and with discrete controls to boot (a long-standing gripe with iPhone gaming is the lack discrete buttons).  That likely will leave Jobs and company losing plenty of sleep.
Sony is known to be eager to turn around its mobile gaming strategy as the PSP has been rapidly declining to the point of being a non-factor in mobile gaming. While it has been engaged in anti-iPhone ads and just this week slashed the PSP Go's price, Sony has not only been eclipsed by the also declining Nintendo DS but by the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple's devices have lacked hardware button controls ideal for certain kinds of games, but they have had more powerful hardware and support game genres that simply haven't been possible without a touchscreen. App Store games also usually cost $10 or less, a quarter of the price of a new PSP release.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.