The elusive PlayStation Phone

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Published:  November 15, 2010
The elusive PlayStation Phone

The rumour mill has been running hot for the PlayStation Phone for at least the last three years. When it comes to ‘insider’ information regarding the supposedly always in development PlayStation device there’s never a shortage of apparently quoted evidence. However, thanks to Engadget, we finally have a picture of something that doesn’t look like it was Photoshopped by a sixth grader.

Playstation phone

It’s a slide out device with a large screen and touch panels rather than analogue sticks, which makes sense. A phone couldn’t exactly fit comfortably in your pocket everyday if it had analogue sticks, even if they were the mini analogue sticks ala the PSP Go, or even the (soon to be world phenomenon) Nintendo 3DS.

Some say Sony’s problem with the mediocre PSP sales have everything to do with the constant in-squabbling of the various departments within the company. The power struggles between the different areas within Sony (they don’t just make game consoles you know!) have meant that no one ever has the power to fully realise each of their project’s potential.

Sometimes, Sony puts its faith into technologies that will never take off if forced onto the consumer. UMD movies, although quick out of the gate, never saw the sales of DVDs or Blurays. Blurays themselves are only now successful because of behind the scenes secret deal Sony made with Warner Bros (WB). If WB’s had chosen Toshiba’s HD DVD, Bluray would have been dead in the water years ago.

Mini Disc never took off, even with the very expensive and in your face advertising used in the late 1990s. And Sony, with its undying faith in the Mini Disc format, completely missed the boat with MP3 players – which as we all know, led Apple out of death’s door all the way to the greener pastures of soaring profitability as was seen in the last quarter.

So now a possible new venture. A phone. Which really should have been released three or four years ago to counteract the initial moves Apple were making with the iPhone. Even with the breadth of titles the PSP has, the PlayStation Phone may not be seen as a viable alternative to the mainstream phones out there now. The iPhone and Android platforms have already seen massive support with revenue streams unexpectedly eclipsing all predictions.

If the screen is as large as it is, and the graphics are to be as detailed as the PSP’s, then you’re looking a very short battery life span – unless Sony has a trick up its sleeve. The PlayStation 3 is a beautiful piece of technology, but with all its bells and whistles, the Xbox 360 has still consistently outsold it, if only by a small margin. That says gamers just want good games, not an expensive powerhouse which has features they may never use.

Sony needs a win. The days of the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 are over and competitors these days are much more savvy than they used to be. Nintendo ensures that it makes money on its consoles and handhelds from the very first day they go on sale. Sony spent years losing money on each PlayStation and far too long on the PlayStation 3 which had shareholders up in arms not too long ago.

If this PlayStation phone is in fact in development and is destined to be released sometime next year, it really needs to bring something new to the table — not just a merging of the PSP and a phone. That kind of ‘innovation’ is just not going to cut it in the days of multi-touch, 3D screen, 3D camera, order-my-taxi, deliver-my-pizza technology. And Sony needs to learn to innovate like its competitors without charging a premium; as well as ensuring they’re profitable from the first month of sales. Otherwise the company will be investing into another failure or, as with the current PSP results, a mediocre performer.

Thumbnail image: Engadget

One Response

  1. Ah I do regret not getting one of these and sticking with the iPhone because it seemed too hard to get to know a whole new phone. It’s great to use for gaming and phoning.

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