Looks like Sony Corp. has decided to give Apple a run for its money by developing a new handheld and smart phone capable of downloading and playing PlayStation games.
According to a source speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a new device is being developed that “blurs distinctions among a netbook, an e-reader and a PSP”, and is being designed to compete with iPad.
Both the new smart phone and the “multifunction device” are expected to work with Sony’s online media platform, due to launch later this month in the US as a direct competitor to iTunes.
The new products are targeted for launch in 2010, although price and specifications are yet to be finalized, or revealed as a Sony spokeswoman declined comment to WSJ.
Sony’s media platform, temporarily named Sony Online Service, will offer movies, TV shows and music already available on iTunes and will allow devices to use its game catalog from PSone.
The new smart phone and portable device are being reported as part of exec Howard Stringer’s plan on creating devices that access online networks offering games and other media.
“That’s the vision, but it’s still not quite clear what specific steps Sony will take to achieve that, especially when iPad and other highly capable mobile devices are crowding the market,” said Nobuo Kurahashi, consumer-electronics analyst with Mizuho Investors Securities.
Sony’s working with Sony Ericsson on the new handset, according to the source, with Sony taking a more active role in the handsets with SVP Kunimasa Suzuki being in charge of product planning for both devices.
The PSP has sold more than 55 million units since its launch in late 2004, but Nintendo’s DS has sold twice as many handhelds during that period and new games for PSP are slowing – forcing the company to cut back on full-year PSP shipment targets by a third, according to the report.
Sales of PSPgo have been slow due to the price tag but thanks to it being reliant on DLC only, Sony has an idea of what to do with the new handhelds it has yet to announce, said the source.
We’ll email Sony and see if we can get anything more on this.