The new phone is expected to incorporate elements of Sony's PSP handheld console, according to a MarketingWeek report, which analysts say would be "relatively easy" to convert to a mobile phone since the unit already has wi-fi capabilities. Sources say the unit could be on store shelves in time for Christmas 2009.
While the news may be exciting for technology freaks, it could also signal Sony's interest in stepping back from its partnership with Ericsson, the company it joined with in 2001 to form Sony Ericsson. The company is currently the fifth-ranked mobile handset manufacturer in the world, and reported a 47 percent profit drop in the first three months of the year, although James Marshall, Sony Ericsson's marketing chief, says the company is still on target to hit its predicted mark of ten percent global growth.
The recent release of the Sony Ericsson F305 mobile phone did not carry any PlayStation branding despite being a gaming handset, a decision described by one analyst as "strange." Another source, however, says Sony now considers the licensing of the Walkman brand to Sony Ericsson a "strategic error," and is holding back the rights to the PlayStation brand as a result.