What is Sony’s Plan For The PSP2?

So here’s the real question mark in my mind regarding the PSP Phone leak – does it really make sense for Sony, probably less than a year away from getting PSP 2 out into the public eye, to start building tech from the (pretty unsuccessful) PSPgo into phone handsets? One might argue that it could help to head off Apple’s assault on the gaming sector – and certainly, a phone that can play Monster Hunter Portable would be pretty attractive in Japan – but the potential for a PSX style high profile failure which would pollute a future, PSP2-focused effort cannot be discounted.

What is Sony’s plan?

We have heard that PSP2 hardware is with developers right now. And yet this week we are seeing leaked images and specs of a “Playstation Phone”. Which is apparently an ARM based smartphone with slide out controls.

Japanese console hardware, be it handheld or full size, is typically very focussed, low cost, high performance hardware (as long as you can do the programming equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your tummy).

As good as the current crop of 1Ghz ARM processors and their GPU sidekicks are, they are not really suited to emulating PS2, or even PSP games.

Even Nintendo’s underpowered 3DS has some fairly unique specialisations to its silicon. 2 CPUs (roughy equivalent to one original iPhone CPU) and a really ancient GPU. But a GPU that boasts some fairly specialised pipeline mods to an OpenGL ES 1.x base. All in all enough to provide a focussed and specialised gaming experience.

If the PSP2 and the “Playstation Phone” both come to market it is extremely unlikely that they will be compatible in any way. The former is likely based on specialised silicon and relies on proprietary languages and APIs. The latter is just a branded Android smartphone.

This is fragmentation of a brand and a hardware base of the very worst kind.

Colour me confused.

My fear is that Sony Ericsson just want in on the smartphone explosion. And we are going to see yet another Android handset. Which will achieve nothing more than killing the PSP2 outside Japan.

Perhaps it is just time to kill the PSP line altogether? If I was actually using my PSP developer credentials, and was half way through a project for that platform I would be very concerned right now.

Posted: October 29th, 2010
Categories: ARM, PSP, Sony
Tags: , , , , , ,
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