Technology blog Engadget said Thursday that sources have confirmed mobile device manufacturer Sony Ericsson is working on an Android-based phone that would serve as the platform’s first gaming-centric device.
Described as a cross between the PSP Go and the Samsung Captivate, the phone runs Android 3.0, otherwise known as “Gingerbread.” It looks much like a slider phone, however instead of a keyboard the slider would pull out to reveal the gaming controls, the blog reported.
The device would be PlayStation-branded, although it would obviously have a different platform from the consoles since the device runs the Android OS. The screen is expected to measure around 4 inches, and would include a five megapixel camera and 1GHz CPU.
Rumors of a PlayStation-branded Sony Ericsson device trace back to a 2007 patent application for a gaming phone filed by the joint venture. The device in the patent had a 90-degree pivoting screen not unlike the LG VX9400, and d-pad style buttons rather than the traditional numeric keypad. This rumor has surfaced a number of times since the patent was filed.
Sony looks to want to port some of its popular PSX and PSP games to the device, but it probably would not be out of the question to see brand new titles being released for it. Games would be downloaded through the Android Market, although pricing was not disclosed.
Engadget was unable to confirm a release date for the phone, although it said it was possible that Sony Ericsson could be targeting an October release. It also did not have any information on potential carriers for the device.
If the product is indeed real — which the blog was pretty adamant it is — it would essentially be the first game-centric phone since Nokia’s N-Gage.
The N-Gage was released in late 2003, and while never really a massive hit, it did attract a cult following. Around 3 million or so devices were said to be sold, and Nokia said last October that it was winding down production of the phones and the N-Gage service this year.
Microsoft and its Xbox platform shouldn’t be counted out as a result of this news, though: Windows Phone 7 will include Xbox Live functionality, and there has been repeated rumors that the company is considering an Xbox phone of its own.