Sony (NYSE: SNE) CEO Howard Stringer’s CES address yesterday was long on 3D being the future for the company, but short on one area that mobile people were expecting to see some activity: the so-called PlayStation phone. The company did, however, premiere the newest in its Xperia line of Android devices, the sleek Arc.
The Arc — like competitor phone the Nexus S from Samsung and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) — makes much of its curved, hand-friendly form, which admittedly does look sleek, even if it has no bearing on how well the device works on the inside. In the case of this newest handset, at its thinnest part the handset is only 8.7m, while the screen is 4.2 inches wide.
Running on the latest Android edition for handsets, 2.3, the company says that the device will be the first of a new generation of devices — so the PlayStation device might still be something we will see.
But gven how popular mobile gaming is today — Juniper Research says revenues from mobile gaming will reach $11 billion by 2015 — and given the major brand power of PlayStation, it is surprising that Sony Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC) hasn’t made more of an effort to join up some of these trends in its mobile product lines already.
It hasn’t shown to be a stranger in doing that in the past: handsets branded with Walkman and integrating music players have been around for years now. And in any case, wasn’t mashing up technology and branding part of the rationale behind the Sony Ericsson JV with Ericsson in the first place?
Meanwhile, there are more Sony features getting put into handsets: Kaz Hirai, the head of Sony Computer Entertainment, noted in his presentation that Sony is working towards a common software ecosystem for all its products. In the Arc, the so-called “Reality Display” features a mobile version of Sony’s Bravia Engine for high-quality display; and there is also a mobile version of Sony’s Exmor R, for the camera and video functions.
As IGN notes, Hirai also specifically mentioned “leveraging the PlayStation brand to boost said products,” the only hint that there may yet be a PlayStation phone coming out at some point.
SonyEricsson will be presenting its latest quarterly results on January 20.