2011 looks to be the year Sony tackles its mobile gaming competitors head-on with the seemingly imminent release of the PSP2 and the PlayStation Phone. Although Sony has yet to officially confirm the existence of either device, there's been enough chatter and indirect confirmation that both are on the way soon.
Case in point: Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB Chief Executive Bert Nordberg said during an interview that he is well aware of the rumors pointing to a joint venture between Sony Ericsson and parent company Sony Cop. Although he didn't admit to the existence of a PlayStation Phone, he didn't dismiss the rumors either.
"There's a lot of smoke, and I tell you there must be a fire somewhere," Nordberg told The Wall Street Journal. "Sony has an extremely strong offering in the gaming market, and that's very interesting."
Nordberg said that he wants to make a lot of "noise" with a new product in February 2011 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. He also added that there's no real technological difficulty in launching a game-oriented smartphone. The only real challenge is negotiating rights issues with publishers.
"I'm very glad that we work with a company like Sony, who actually knows how to do it," he said.
The paper also cites an unnamed source confirming that the handset will likely use Google's Android OS. This would bring a huge library of apps and games to the Sony Ericsson handset, offering titles such as Angry Birds, Dungeon Hunter, NOVA, Modern Combat, the new cross-platform MMOG Pocket Legends and more. The source also indicated that the phone would probably use Sony Ericsson's Xperia brand.
Nordberg told the paper that Google's Android will likely dominate Sony Ericsson's smartphone lineup for at least another two years. However to gain an edge in an increasingly crowded Android market, the company would need to "diversify its lineup."
"Sony is of course a very strong brand, and why shouldn't we use that?" Nordberg asked. "Gaming, including content, is a very interesting proposition.