Sony is building a PlayStation smartphone and other portable gadgets, the WSJ reports, in an effort to compete with Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch, which have stolen much attention from the likes of Sony in the mobile gaming industry.
According to the WSJ, Sony is also building “a portable device that blurs distinctions among a netbook, an e-reader and a PlayStation Portable, or PSP,” designed to compete with Apple’s forthcoming iPad tablet.
The new gadgets are supposed to launch this year, according to the WSJ.
These moves are not surprising, and if anything, just show how far Sony has slipped behind its competitors. In the mobile industry, it’s been stuck relying on its Sony Ericsson joint venture, which hasn’t had a hit phone in years. (This latest move, if not orchestrated by Sony Ericsson, suggests that the partnership is as good as dead.)
And the Playstation Portable has lost significant mindshare since Apple’s iPhone App Store launched in 2008. The App Store has been HUGE for mobile gaming, especially on the inexpensive, touchscreen-equipped iPod touch. Sony’s only response has been the PSP Go, which has a similar app store — and is a snooze.
Can Sony come back and kick butt again? Anything is possible. But given how far behind the company has slipped, and how American consumers haven’t really seen anything from Sony as must-buy since the PS2 launched — or maybe even the original Discman — it’s hard to see how this will be a hit.
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