PlayStation Phone rumours rise again

Could Sony be going it alone with a handset next year?

PlayStation Phone rumours rise again

The rumours that Sony is planning to launch a PlayStation-branded mobile phone have ignited again, with an article in Marketing Week suggesting that such a handset could be on sale by Christmas 2009.

The piece quotes sources in Japan and Korea, although it appears to refer to a PSP with mobile phone functionality, rather than a phone with PSP features. If that makes sense.

What's more, the article suggests that Sony would release the device itself, rather than through its Sony Ericsson joint venture. Or, as one source puts it, Sony would "never give its PlayStation branding" to Sony Ericsson.

The news follows last week's announcement of the Sony Ericsson F305 handset, which offers motion-sensing games and dedicated gaming keys, but no PlayStation or PSP branding.

As it happens, Pocket Gamer had a pre-arranged telephone interview with Sony Ericsson's Peter Ahnegard this morning, to talk about the F305 and the company's planned PlayNow Arena service.

Naturally, we posed the PlayStation Phone question too. Peter stressed that he didn't want to discuss any specific plans on Sony Ericsson's part, but he did explain why the company has so far only launched phones based on Sony's Cyber-shot and Walkman brands.

"With Walkman and Cyber-shot, there was a lot of work before we felt we could live up to consumer expectations with these brands," he says.

"There were lots of boxes to tick - hardware, software, services integration - before we felt we could do justice to those brands, so that users would say 'Yes, this is a Walkman, this is a Cyber-shot'."

He continues: "When it comes to the gaming thing, I don't think it's that much about a specific brand. It's about creating a really solid gaming experience."

We're not flagging this up as a 'Sony Ericsson denies PlayStation Phone' story, because that wouldn't accurately represent Peter's views. But it does give you some idea of why such a handset hasn't launched yet. We'll have the full interview later today.

Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)