The Sony PSP2 is not the same thing as the rumored PlayStation Phone, but that doesn’t mean it won’t practically be a phone itself. Nikkei, a popular Japanese newspaper, has revealed that Sony’s answer to the Nintendo 3DS will have 3G support, allowing gamers to play online, as well as download software and video. The only thing they won’t be able to do is make phone calls. In addition, the system will have a “larger than normal” OLED touchscreen. No pricing, subscription fees, or Wi-Fi-only models were discussed, in the paper, according to Andriasang. Sony is expected to unveil the PSP2 on Jan. 27.
Nikkei makes little mention of the PlayStation Phone, but claims it will have button-based controls and be an Android-based smartphone: two things we already knew. It expects Sony to unveil the device sometime next month.
Sony’s “third pillar?”
With the PSP2 appearing to cater to a high end gaming market, will the PS Phone attempt to be Sony’s “third pillar” for the PlayStation brand? When Nintendo first launched its DS gaming handheld, it also had the incredibly successful, lower end Game Boy Advance line going. It claimed the DS, with its better graphics, was its “third pillar” gaming system, but interest in the GBA systems soon waned in favor of the DS. Can Sony support two handheld PlayStation devices? The PSP has had a difficult enough time existing on its own. Will the company really be able to differentiate the devices and software enough to warrant having two handhelds? Or is it, like Nintendo, hedging its bets. Perhaps Sony believes that merging phones and gaming handhelds is the future, but it isn’t willing to bet the farm on it. If the PS Phone appears to be a side project, perhaps it will have a better chance of taking off. On the other hand, maybe Sony Ericsson needs a hit phone so badly that Sony is willing to take the risk with its coveted PlayStation brand. Time will tell.