An Android/PSP phone could be Sony's answer to a bold new handheld gaming future--if it improves on the PSP.
Two analog sticks
Why not call this phone the PSP 2 and add some much-desired hardware improvements? Dual analog stick control is the last piece to the hardware puzzle on the PSP, and it's been a long-requested feature. The phantom spot for a second stick on the PSP Go was just a cruel tease. Even if it was sparsely used, a dual-sticked PSP could always revert to single-stick control on older PSP games.
We're not ones to love the idea of incessant game chat via a Bluetooth headset, but it would be a high expectation we'd have on a PSP phone. Broader Bluetooth support could also allow PS3 game controllers to connect as well.
Now that Microsoft has unveiled its Xbox Live gaming connectivity with Windows 7 phones, it's even more imperative for Sony to answer back with a way to make PSP games more social. Even without a PSN-like messaging system, the e-mail and messaging capabilities of the Android OS will make the PSP phone a far more versatile all-in-one device. We just hope a PSP phone uses these communication tools in its games.
If the Sprint Evo 4G can do it, then so can a PSP phone--we want HDMI, if only to make connections to a TV even easier. Combined with Bluetooth controller support, the PSP phone could morph into a truly portable console.
The PSP has always been much better at interfacing with its big brother, the PlayStation 3, than the Nintendo DS has been with the Wii. Gamers looking to switch from a PSP to a PSP phone will expect similar connectivity, even if most people will simply sync with their PCs.
Obviously, all smartphones have cameras. The point is that a good camera will be yet another function to make a PSP phone an all-in-one gadget as opposed to the single-purpose PSP. A front-facing camera could even apply to some games, like on the Nintendo DSi.
The era of single-use devices is nearing an end, at least for gaming handhelds. An Android OS will instantly add thousands of apps to compete with an iPhone. The only question is, will a PSP phone be more like a PSP that runs apps, or an Android phone that happens to play PSP games?
Apple's got one, and the Nintendo 3DS will, too. It only makes sense in the wake of the PlayStation Move to incorporate some level of motion control into the PSP phone's gaming library, simply to keep up with competition.
All Android phones feature one, and no PSP has one. The iPhone and Nintendo DS have already crossed this path long ago; it's about time the PSP followed suit. A virtual keyboard would also address one of the PSP's other missing features.
Though Android apps on a PSP are also appealing, the marriage could work both ways: offering up some PSP Mini games or other content to the Android market would be a great way to turn a ho-hum Android gaming platform into a higher-profile environment, in addition to providing an exclusive that Apple can't counter in the App Store.
The PSP Go is compact, but its middling 3 hours of play time pales in comparison even to an iPhone. If it's also expected to make phone calls, Sony Ericsson had better give it better performance.
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