It's not the PSP2 we've been hearing rumors about recently, but it's close. Engadget has provided the first images of a prototype PlayStation Phone, rumored to run Android 3.0. This tiny machine is boasting some serious specs though: 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655, 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches. Comparatively, the PSP Go touted a 333Mhz and only 64MB of RAM and a similarly sized 3.8 inch screen. The phone, being made by Sony Ericsson, could be released as soon this holiday season. A 2011 release is much more likely, though.
The PlayStation Phone (rumored since August) appears to share more similarities with the PSPGo, rather than any sort of disc format or cartridge slot the PP will simply have digital distribution through the Android Market. Other similarities include the PlayStation Triangle/Square/Circle/Cross buttons, the directional pad and Left/Right shoulder buttons. What's different is the multi-touch pad which will offer gamers analog controls, or at least a similar experience.
For many, the PlayStation Phone will simply be the new gadget to collect, but what does this new handheld mean for gamers? There's two logical trains of thought for how the PlayStation Phone will impact the overall gaming environment. The first is actually one where the PlayStation Phone will be notable for its lack of impact. No one can argue that this device, whether it's a phone or not, is still just a glorified PSP Go; a handheld Sony has essentially left out to dry. The second possible scenario is that this the true mobile competitor to the growing gaming platform that is the iPhone. Will the combination of mobile games on the Android Market and solid PlayStation franchises like God of War and LittleBigPlanet create a new handheld juggernaut?
Of course, it's much too early to make assumptions. The two scenarios offered above are of course best and worst case options, but are certainly the most interesting to think about. There's also the very real possibility that a PSP2 is in simultaneous development. Kaz Hirai, Sony CEO, has even said that the next PlayStation handheld would not be digital only. What would that mean for the PlayStation Phone's future? What sort of connection might the two handhelds have?
Please keep in mind that all information provided is both rumor and subject to change. That said, do you like what you see? Are you interested in a PlayStation Phone that both runs Android 3.0 and play PSX/PSP caliber games? What sort of success do you predict it to have? Make sure and check out Engadget's exclusive for more photos of the new phone.