The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sony's gearing up to take on Apple this year, with the long-awaited PSP smartphone and a portable device to compete with the iPad. But will it be too little too late?
There aren't extensive details available yet - including any info about pricing and specs - but we can expect to see the both the PSP phone and the PSPad sometime this year. The Sony Ericsson PSP phone, in particular, has been in the works since at least 2007, but has met with various delays since then.
As for the multifunction iPad competitor, it's not clear exactly what form that will take. Both devices, though, will leverage the media platform Sonys launching later this month. The Sony Online Service - a temporary name - is going to provide similar media content as iTunes, but will supplement its offerings with its extensive (and exclusive) catalogue of PlayStation games. Mostly older games are expected to be available on the mobile devices.
The project is apparently being speared by Kunimasa Suzuki, who has an oversight role in both Sony's Vaio and PlayStation businesses. Getting previously disparate corporate divisions to work together has been a major part of CEO Howard Stringer's turnaround plan, making the PSPad an incredibly important sign of if that labour has born any fruit. Is this the Sony renaissance we've been longing for? Or will it be another in a long line of proprietary format failures? We'll find out soon, either way.