The long-rumored Sony (NYSE: SNE) Playstation phone is now becoming a reality.
Sony is developing a new lineup of handheld products, including a smartphone that would be capable of downloading and playing PlayStation games, as well as connecting to Sony’s online media platform, reports the WSJ, which quotes people familiar with the matter.
The Japanese electronics giant is clearly feeling the heat from new consumer electronics, ranging from Apple’s iPhone to other devices like e-readers and netbooks. The project under way would create one device that would be capable of handling multiple functions, much like Apple’s upcoming iPad, according to the sources. Sony’s interest in building a smartphone doesn’t necessarily mean that its handset joint venture with Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) will be completely left out of the picture. In fact, the sources say Sony Ericsson will be working on the new handset, but that Sony will be taking a more active role, given how important smartphones are becoming to the company’s overall strategy.
The new products are expected to launch this year, although there’s still a lot of unknowns, including price or device specifications. A Sony spokeswoman declined to comment for the story.
Just recently, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs made a point to say that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is now a larger mobile devices company than Sony, Samsung and Nokia (NYSE: NOK). Indeed, Sony Ericsson has struggled recently, and has seen global shipments drop 41 percent in 2009. In addition, Sony slashed forecasts for PSP shipments last month.
Sony’s media platform, which for now is called Sony Online Service, is expected to launch in the U.S. later this month. The iTunes-like service will offer movies and TV shows and older game titles originally released for the PlayStation console.