We expected it for months, we heard rumors of its existence, and now photos have appeared seeming to confirm that a PlayStation phone is real. Such a device could simultaneously revive the flailing PSP platform and inject a truly gaming-ready smartphone into the Android ecosystem capable of competing with Apple.
We have our wish list of features we'd like to see, but based on what we've seen thus far, details are scarce. Some tech specs have been reported, but beyond that, there's a lot we still don't know. Among the many uncertainties, several unanswered questions come to mind:
Will this device be a PSP 2? The leaked purported PSP Phone looks a lot like a PSP Go. Will it only run old PSP games, or could the PSP 2 rumored to be coming next spring really come in two versions, one of which would be a phone? That would mirror Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch dual-platform model, which has been extremely successful.
Will PSP gaming be possible on other Android phones? We wonder if this PSP Phone will be the only Android phone capable of playing PSP games, or if Sony will sell PSP games via a portal to other Android devices as well. Odds are the former, especially considering the physical controls--and maybe the PSP Phone will also have specific processor chips that many Android phones lack.
Will it enable touch-screen gaming? The PSP Phone, based on its photo, would have to have a touch screen, yet no reports on the PSP 2 discuss touch-screen gaming. A touch interface would open up PSP gaming to the sorts of experiences that the iPhone and Nintendo DS already have.
Are there analog pads? The large space in the middle looks like a touch pad, but it's far more likely to be a prototype missing physical analog pads. Physical controls are what will differentiate a PSP Phone from any other gaming-capable smartphone: it needs dual-analog sticks that are real.
When will it be released? The PSP 2 rumors point to a spring 2011 release; will a PSP Phone debut simultaneously, or be a separate product launch? At this point, a holiday release feels too late. Spring would make more sense.
What is the price? The device sounds fantastic in theory, but its price needs to be competitive. The PSP Go was ripped for being too expensive, and the PS3 suffered a similar fate in its debut. The PSP Phone can't fall into the same trap and be a smash hit.
For more, read 11 things we want to see in a PSP Phone.