There is an interesting nonofficial announcement coming from Japan: Several journalist have made public that Sony is planning to develop a smartphone where users will be able to play PSP games. In addition, apparently, Sony would be creating a device with a wide range of features, so it would not be easy to define it as a netbook, or an e-reader, or a handheld console (like PSP); actually, it would be a combination of all of them.
These projects are the reaction of Sony to Apple strategies, particularly regarding the iPad and iPhone. So, this is an interesting competition that, hopefully, will benefit the end users. But, at the same time, it could be interpreted as an obvious and meaningful evolution of the PSP, a console that has had strong competitors since it was launched commercially.
As you can imagine, the new smartphone that would be able to play PSP games won’t include slots to insert game cartridges. Instead, they could be connected to the online shop “PlayStation Store” (which is currently accessible by using a PlayStation 3 or PSP console) to download games developed for PSP. Sony Ericsson is working on this smartphone and, most likely, it will impact the mobile market in a strong way. However, it is not clear yet whether the whole PSP catalog will be supported, or only a reduced number of games. Apparently, the original games developed by Sony will be totally supported, but maybe third-party games could have some limitations, at least initially.
For the moment, the only thing we can do is to wait for official announcements and watch for the way how these projects move forward, since Sony is constantly surprising us with innovations and unexpected products. After the launch of the PSPGo, which has had very little success, the company needs a new product with a “wow” factor: That would be an opportunity to recover fans and increase earnings.