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Sony Ericsson to develop Android/PSP phone?

Smartphones have been killing the handheld game market, so would it really be any surprise if Sony got into the game phone market in return?

A quick-take mockup of the rumored device. Engadget

Ever since the slow decline of the PSP platform began, we've wondered where exactly Sony would go next with its handheld-gaming platform. Despite Marcus Rivers and a handful of admittedly good titles, the PSP has been too expensive for its own good, while the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android phones have become increasingly good and cheap gaming alternatives.

Nintendo answered back with 3D technology on the 3DS, but it has always seemed like the PSP could take its strong downloadable-game library onto a phone-like device with good results. We even predicted that as a longshot at this year's E3.

Rumors now have it that Sony Ericsson is making a very PSP Go-like Android smartphone with a gaming focus for release this October. Running Android 3.0 (aka Gingerbread), the phone's added phsyical game controller and possible PlayStation branding suggest that its killer feature will be access to the PlayStation Network's collection of original PlayStation and PSP games. Whether it will be via PSN or a special section of the Android marketplace (Engadget's sources indicate the latter) remains to be determined.

Frankly, it's something that needs to be done. The PSP seems like it's getting short shrift this holiday, with a lot of big-name franchises suddenly pulling away from development. Meanwhile, Apple's iOS is pulling in an increasingly large part of the handheld gaming market. Now, Sony really needs to pull down the prices on those PSP games a little bit, because $40 for the new God of War, no matter how well it plays, is steep.

Would a PSP phone, particularly with Android, be your killer gaming handheld? Sound off below.

(Via Engadget)