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PlayStation phone on show at Mobile World Congress in February?

The head of Sony Ericsson has teased information about the PlayStation phone the entire tech world believes the company is working on.

Sony Ericsson has given the strongest hint yet that it's working on a PlayStation phone, and that we could see an announcement as soon as Feburary, during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Sony Ericsson chief exec Bert Nordberg said he was aware of the speculation, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company hasn't yet explicitly confirmed or denied the existence of the device, but shots of the purported phone have surfaced online.

Fanning the flames of speculation he said, "There's a lot of smoke, and I tell you there must be a fire somewhere. Sony has an extremely strong offering in the gaming market, and that's very interesting... Sony is of course a very strong brand, and why shouldn't we use that?"

The PlayStation brand has so far been kept off phones, but the success of smart-phone gaming seems to have persuaded both Sony and Sony Ericsson that this is the way to go. Nordberg said he wanted to make some "noise" at MWC in February, and that there was no tech problem standing in the way of launching a gaming phone.

It looks very much like the phone will be part of the Xperia line of Android devices, partly to ensure it isn't confused with dedicated PlayStation handheld consoles like the PSP Go, to which the phone bears a remarkable resemblance in the leaked photos. Nordberg said the only possible hurdle that could come up was around rights issues with game publishers, but Sony has more than enough experience in dealing with that.

The pictured prototype of the PlayStation Xperia gaming phone is code-named Zeus. It's likely to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread at launch and informed speculation suggests it will carry a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 processor, 512MB of RAM and 1GB of storage, expandable with a microSD card. To buy and download games there will be an all-new Sony Marketplace.

Sony Ericsson certainly has Android on the brain, though a reveal of its upcoming Xperia X12 phone was a tad disappointing. But certainly, all the talk from now until February will be about the gaming phone that could change the market.