updated 09:00 am EDT, Mon June 29, 2009
Sony PSP Phone Leak
Sony is just now developing a gaming-themed phone that would be targeted explicitly at the iPhone, Japan's Nikkei BP said this weekend. The company is supposedly creating a device team as soon as July that would merge the gaming qualities of the PSP with its Sony Ericsson handsets. It's implied that the device would have a touchscreen to better position the device against Apple's hardware.
It's not completely certain that the project will start, and as it will be in the very earliest stage, no launch information or details of the phone itself are available.
Development of a PlayStation-themed phone would contradict Sony's past attitude towards competition with Apple in handhelds. It has dismissed the iPhone as a threat to the PSP and, according to rumors that have since been publicly denied, has fought with Ericsson over demands to produce a PlayStation phone. The allegations would have had Sony refuse to cooperate with Ericsson and risk creating a rift between the two.
Sony's corporate structure has also been historically resistant to producing such a phone. The PlayStation division (Sony Computer Entertainment) has historically been separate from both Sony Ericsson and the Walkman divisions, making it difficult for two or three of these to cooperate. While current chief executive Sir Howard Stringer has hoped to improve integration, company culture in Sony has usually encouraged "silos" that rarely talk to each other and at times compete against each other.
Sony is commonly accepted as having thrown away its dominance of the music player market, even in its home country of Japan, by clinging both to its increasingly obsolete MiniDisc format as well as an insistence on the proprietary ATRAC format over universal standards and the absence of a music store. Apple took the lead in 2005 both with the iPod and the iTunes Store and is believed to have maintained that lead since; Sony only just added a touchscreen music player in the Walkman X1000 launched last month.