Park this firmly in the rumour category for now, but Engadget has it on good word that Sony Ericsson is currently developing a brand new Playstation/PSP-branded smartphone rocking Android Gingerbread. This handset could launch as early as October this year.
The handset will be Xperia branded and come in black with silver highlights (sounds very similar to the X10). Imagine the Xperia X10 with a slide-out gaming pad (like that on the PSP Go) and you have a good idea of what to expect. It will have a d-pad, a “long touch pad” for analogue controls as well as the standard PSP buttons and shoulder buttons. The gamepad area will be white & silver in colour.
In terms of hard specifications, the phone is believed to run a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (much like the Xperia X10) and comes with a 3.7-inch to 4.1-inch WVGA screen and 5MP camera.
This is a huge undertaking by Sony Ericsson and Google and it seems that there will be a specific area in the Android Market to house these higher-calibre games, akin to the quality of current PSP games. Only this device would have access to these games or other hardware that meets the spec and button layout requirements.
I’m somehow finding it difficult to see something like this being pushed through as early as October. Sony Ericsson is not expected to deliver Android 2.1 (Éclair) to its flagship handset until the end of Q3, yet this new Xperia PSP could be landing in October with Android Gingerbread! However, it seems that Google has as much invested interest in seeing this succeed as SE does, especially given the perception that the higher quality games still exist on Apple’s platform. Therefore, if Google wants to make a statement when it launches Android Gingerbread, nothing says it better than a Playstation branded smartphone.