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Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone is real, and this is it

Genuine images of the Sony Ericsson Playstation phone have emerged, whetting the appetites of those looking for something beyond the usual simplistic mobile gaming fare.

When we first heard rumours of a Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone, we were a bit wary. In the back of our minds we thought it might be the ravings of someone driven mad by Angry Birds. Was it too good to be true? Had it finally come? Yes: pictures and specs of the device have emerged, which Engadget has categorically stated are real.

The above image is a real prototype of the PlayStation phone, which is said to be headed into shops "soon" -- probably next year. This slider should be running the next version of Android (2.3, 2.5 or 3.0, depending on who you ask), and will feature an all-new Sony Marketplace where you can download and purchase games. It'll carry a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 processor, 512MB of RAM, 1GB of storage (expandable with a microSD card), and will have a screen around 4 inches across.

You can see it looks very much like the PSP Go, with the screen sliding up to reveal those familiar PlayStation square, triangle, circle and cross shoulder buttons. They should give a much better gaming experience than the rubbish virtual keys we put up with now. That space in the centre is supposed to be a touchpad, which could be multitouch.

We've been waiting for this ever since the PSP arrived five years ago, but it could still capture the imagination of hardcore gamers if the quality of titles holds up. Mobile gaming is becoming more popular by the day, but there's the sense that it's dominated by games you casually pick up and play rather than the more engaging, rewarding games that Nintendo and Sony's handheld consoles are famous for. Combining Sony's gaming nous with Android mobile tech could shake up the market dramatically.

And the technology is there. The smart phones of today are powerful little machines, well capable of decent graphics and fast gameplay, but developers need to be motivated to invest their time and money. The PlayStation phone will have the might of Sony behind it, and we hope games companies will be scrabbling for a slice of the action.

This might well be the phone Sony Ericsson is focusing its energy on, as there's been a noticeable lack of new Android handsets from the company. The Xperia X10 has its fans, but its popularity is dwindling due to the newer and more powerful Android phone competition, as well as the fact it's still stuck on Android 1.6.

So what do you think of the PlayStation phone? Do you reckon it could open up a whole new Android gaming experience, or is it another Nokia N-Gage? Hit us with your views.

Image credit: Engadget