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Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone in the works, set to use Android 3.0

Hardcore gamers could soon be getting a Sony Ericsson device that makes PlayStation-style gaming a reality on a smart phone

Sony Ericsson could be ready to release the phone that gamers have been waiting years for, in a move that could redefine the smart phone market. Engadget quotes "a trusted source" that Sony Ericsson is working on an Android 3.0 phone that could become a whole new gaming platform.

The phone doesn't have a name yet, but apparently Xperia and more importantly PlayStation will be in the mix. Games will have the 3D graphics quality of the PSP, and there'll be a section of the Android Market specifically catered to them. It appears that other Android devices will be able to run the games, provided they have the hardware capability.

The device is described as a cross between a landscape-format slider phone and the PSP Go, as you can see in Engadget's mockup above, with game controls instead of a Qwerty keyboard. There's also a PlayStation-style d-pad and button controls, but it'll use a touchpad instead of a joystick.

The display is somewhere between 3.7 and 4.1 inches wide with WVGA resolution (480 pixels high), and the device carries a 5-megapixel camera. It should also have a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, but this hasn't been finalised.

It's no exaggeration to say the iPhone and other touchscreen phones have revolutionised the games industry with a vast swathe of cheap, often retro little games. With this in mind, the new Sony Ericsson could make a huge impact, appealing to hardcore gamers as well as those content with more limited-graphics games.

Sony PlayStation-branded devices will have an obvious advantage. The Sony Ericsson Xperia line-up of Android phones haven't been massively successful, although we liked the X10. But if this new phone comes to fruition, it has the potential to break new ground and encourage the hardcore gaming community to get more involved in the smart phone market. If the games can be played on Android phones from other companies, it could even give the iPhone's App Store a run for its money.

That's not to say this hasn't been attempted before. Nokia tried to combine gaming and mobile phone functionality in the Nokia N-Gage, but the phone was unsuccessful in the UK, despite a relaunch as a software platform, mainly because the hardware was limited, the games weren't great and competition was fierce.

What makes this latest gaming phone different is it's backed by Sony. If the new Ericsson has decent usability and can provide a genuine PlayStation gaming experience, gamers are sure to sit up and take notice.

Image credit: Engadget